Yesterday I visited the small Northamptonshire village of Lilbourne. As I was walking around the fields to the east of Lilbourne I was struck by how it could be seen as an example of so many of the issues tied up with the EU referendum and the subsequent article 50 negotiations. The Daventry constituency, of which Lilbourne is a member, voted to leave the EU by almost 60% and yet a large number of jobs in the area are tied up with supporting the biggest transportation and distribution infrastructure in the country through which much of the trade with the European Union passes.
Lilbourne has two major medieval transportation routes passing through the parish. The Watling Street runs to the south west and has been a major route since the Romans. What is less known is that Lilbourne formed part of an equally important medieval route between Oxford and the north of England. (Not one but two Motte and Bailey castles controlled the crossing of the River Avon at Lilbourne.) Today the village is isolated by the passing M1 and is just south of the massive Junction 19 where the M1 and M6 meet. This in turn forms one of the corners of the massive distribution system based around the triangle of the junctions of M1/M6, M6/M42 and M1/A42. It is claimed that a lorry can deliver anything within 4 hours to around 90% of the population of Britain from this triangle.
The third issue is one of the border. The Watling Street forms the border between Northamptonshire and Warwickshire. Lilbourne, with its two Motte and Bailey castles, sits above on the southern bank of the River Avon (The same river than 20+ miles to the south west runs through Stratford upon Avon.) This forms the boundary between Leicestershire and Northamptonshire which is little more than sign on the side of the M1 for most people which is similar to junction 20 of the N1/A1 on the island of Ireland. Of course should things go wrong in parliament/Brussels over the next three weeks then this will no long be a pub quiz question in Ireland but rather the border between the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the European Union – so somewhere on this junction there will need to be two customs posts – one for the traffic coming off of the N1 and one for traffic using the B113 and the L7092 (They are the same road but the border crosses the road.)
One final thing is that to the east of the village is a huge array of wind turbines which of course are part of Britain’s effort to reduce its carbon footprint and meet the European Union requirements. What will happen to those after March 29th?
Such is Life.