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CANTAB01 November 1999

CANTAB01 November 1999 published on


This is a mock-up of a journal for ramblers in Cambridgeshire, having an arbitrarily chosen title to differentiate it from any other magazine of similar format. The idea is to give readers a sample of what could be achieved regularly. The aim will be to present information in an attractive and easily readable fashion, filling the two sides of an A3 sheet without any “wide open spaces” on paper, which are best kept for the Cambridgeshire landscape. A straw poll suggests that walkers want to have mostly information, as someone said “Fact rather than fiction; information rather than comment”.  Others have asked for data on developments on the ground…together with grid references! The reader response, if any, will determine if this is what is required.

In Cambourne, Crow Dene bridleway has been diverted “temporarily” to run from the new roundabout on the A428, grid ref. TL 317 604 to run on a well-marked route towards Caxton. It is at present fairly conveniently opposite Knapwell Footpath 5 from Cold Harbour Farm, on the other side of the same round-a-bout. Last Winter, the route, although tree-lined was not attractive, as very muddy, but it should be more usable this year. It provides wide views of the vast building site which is at present Cambourne, but some houses are occupied already! Eventually, Crow Dene will return to its original line, and the “temporary” bridleway will remain as Caxton Footpath 4.

Photos appeared to the local papers of the opening of a replacement bridge at Toft for Footpath 18 at grid ref. TL 359 556 on 26 August. This is one of the new “high” bridges, as required by the Environment Agency. There is another new bridge (replacing an elderly structure) at Kings Bridge, near Whaddon, grid ref TL 363 479. But at Castle Camps, we used recently a completely new bridge over a roadside ditch, which at last opened up Footpath 42, at grid ref. TL 614 422, near Camps End, and (together with another bridge further along the path) allows one to walk a new route to Castle Camps Church, avoiding a hazardous narrow road.

In Boxworth, Bridleway 14, off Battle Gate Road, was opened up and signed by Cambs. C.C. earlier this year, having been obstructed for many years. The path, from Grid ref. TL 344 616 to TL 347 613 is already popular with riders and local walkers.

New Bridleways have been created at Over & Willingham. The Order, confirmed in June 1999, added new paths between Fen Road, Over, TL 382 717, and West Fen Road, Willingham, at TL 395 724, and also an extension of the public road from near Earith locks at TL 390 742, to join Long Holme Drove, Over at TL 392 738. These creations are in connections with the proposed quarrying extensions on both sides of the River Great Ouse.

Icknield Way Association seek National Trail status
At the AGM of the IWA held at Linton on 16 Oct. 1999, the meeting resolved to continue its campaign to seek National Trail status for the Icknield Way path*, which is at present a regional route. The path runs from the end of the Ridgeway Path at Ivinghoe Beacon, to the start of the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath, and both the paths it joins already have National trail status. The situation is complicated by the presence of an Icknield Way “Riders Route” in addition to the walkers’ route promoted by the IWA.

Before the official business, Tim-Lidstone-Scott, the Peddars Way Officer, gave an illustrated lecture on the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path, to an audience of 23 members. Before the meeting, a 4 mile walk led by David Allard on a circuit between Linton & Hadstock was enjoyed by 16 ramblers.

*The Icknield Way runs through Cambs. from near Noons Folly Farm, east of Royston, Herts, to leave the county at Ashley, on the Suffolk border. In between, it has passed through a short section of Essex!

Availability of Explorer Series Locally
The latest OS mapping index (July 1999) shows the whole of East Anglia is now covered by the new Explorer (1:25 000 series), price £5.25. Cambridge residents may wish to note that Heffers Map Shop in Sidney Street is moving to the main Trinity Street shop in late Autumn, 1999. Heffers have been taken over by Blackwells, the Oxford Bookshop.

Quotation . . . “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
Amos 3:3

And now… The Micromap
At the same time that the new Ordnance Survey “Explorer” series of maps is making its debut in Cambridgshire, we note another more unusual development, the “Micromap”. This is a pocket-sized system for storing, carrying and displaying information. Maps the size of credit cards slot into a magnifying viewer (rather like those for viewing slides) and the result is the same detail as full-sized maps. The available choice is said to be huge, including OS maps and street plans. The viewers are sold at £9.99 and sets of cards are £6.99 each. For more details the ‘phone number is 01273 744732/733….. but I’ll be staying with traditional maps for a while yet!

New glossy guide to National Trails
The Countryside Agency (which used to be The Countryside Commission) has produced a new guidebook to National Trail routes in England & Wales, and including some information on long distance routes in Scotland. A3 sized and lavishly illustrated in colour with sketch-maps and photographs, there is a double spread for each path. Each has a fact-file with start/finish, distance, terrain, and sources of information including the website.

The paths comprise: The Cleveland Way; North Downs Way; Offas Dyke Path; Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path; Pembrokeshire Coast Path; Pennine Way; The Ridgeway; South Downs Way; South West Coast Path; The Thames Path; The Wolds Way; The Cotswold Way; Hadrian’s Wall Path; The Pennine Bridleway; and Glyndwr’s Way; and with brief notes on The Southern Upland Way; The West Highland Way and The Speyside Way.

Get your copy from The Countryside Agency, John Dower House, Crescent Place, Cheltenham, Glos. GL50 3RA

In the next programme…. The Kingfisher Way
In a Ramblers’ gathering with walkers from adjacent counties, a copy of the co-ordinated Cambridgeshire programme was much admired. Representatives from Herts & Suffolk felt it would be of great value to their county membership, if a similar single programme were available. Let this be a reminder once again, to tell George Britton how much members appreciate his twice yearly efforts, as well as thanking the individual Programme Secretaries for assembling the walks offers.

Browsing through the smart yellow booklet, we note Huntingdon Group is to do the Kingfisher Way, a most attractive walk in Bedfordshire. For those who can’t make Wed. 5 April & Sat. 29 April, or who are “lone” walkers, note the route is available as 3 leaflets from:

The Ivel Valley Countryside Project, Biggleswade Library, Chestnut Avenue, Biggleswade, Beds. SG18 0LL, tel. 01767 601042.

The route goes from Baldock to Arlesey (6 miles); Arlesey to Biggleswade (6miles); Biggleswade to Tempsford (9miles).

Over the last two years, all parish councils in South Cambridgeshire will have received from their local Ramblers’ Association Group a copy of a survey made of their local public paths and other local walking opportunities.

This project, started early in 1998, is an attempt to record the nature of the paths in their setting in the two years leading up to 2000 A.D., and forms Cambridge Group’s Millennium effort. This survey is quite distinct from the County Council’s path survey, which aimed to look primarily at path problems, and recorded whether or not a path was “easy to use” and ran for 4 months in the Summer of 1998, and on a 20% sample of paths in 1999. However, last year, many of the observations of the RA’s survey were fed into the County Council’s database, in parishes where there was no other volunteer, or where there was no P3 involvement. This year, most of the South Cambs. P3 parishes have been surveyed by the Ramblers’ Association. We have now completed the site-work and the typing of the first draft in all 100 parishes. In several cases, however, where we have reported a problem, such as a decaying bridge or a missing signpost, this has been rectified, and we have returned to inspect again, and bring the survey up-to-date. In other cases, we have gone back to look a second time months later, and the dangerous stile is still present. We have to draw a line under our up-dating efforts at some stage in 1999, so if your parish paths still have problems then, they are likely to be recorded for posterity!

Although several volunteers have been involved documenting the state of the paths on the ground, only the two people have been typing the result. As this runs to nearly 1000 pages, it has seemed a massive job to a couple of 4-finger typists, who think too late that a typing course might have stood them in good stead in their mis-spent youth! We hope that not too many errors will slip through the net, and will be proof-reading very carefully.

We have asked our computer to list numbers and types of problems, and it will be interesting to compare the results with the County Council’s report on the 1998 survey. One thing our surveyors have reported, was where it was felt additional waymark posts were needed. Lack of reinstatement of cross-field paths remains a major problem in the District, and it is likely that the RA’s survey will give a more depressing (but probably more realistic) result than the County Council’s as the latter work was carried out in the Summer months. Many paths which are restored through crops in the Summer remain invisible across large fields all winter.

The final document is to be in two volumes. Bound copies of this are to go to the County Council’s Records Office, and also to the Cambridgeshire Collection in Lion Yard. Therefore, in future, interested parties can see what the paths were like in the two years leading up to the Millennium, in what we hope will be a useful work of reference. It is hoped also to make a limited print-run of ring-back copies of the document, but these will be available for sale only if ordered in advance. Any person or organisation interested in buying a copy should send a note to Moreton, 23 Emery Street, Cambridge, CB1 2AX, and a reply will be sent requesting confirmation when a price is available early 2000, (probably ca. £30, depending on print-run).

Janet & Roger Moreton

And what did you do in the Millennium Celebrations, Daddy?
There is the Festival of Winter Walks and other events planned, like the visit to Holme Fen Nature Reserve on 5 Jan., and Janet’s Annual “Bun” walk on 8 Jan. (Long ago, it used to be a mince pie walk, but they were inclined to crumble…)

But all of us have fought shy of leading a walk on 31.12.99 or 1.1.00 (is that how you write it?).

Perhaps we are all engaged in village celebrations. Swavesey will be on ITN on the Millennium Eve, with crowds at their “Once in a thousand years” event. But then Swavesey is building its own Millennium dome to rival the London Spectacle at Greenwich. But Swavesey stands on the Greenwich Meridian, (as marked on the new Explorer Maps)…

By 2000, we expect there to be a guide available to THE MERIDIAN WAY, which will run 260 miles from Lincolnshire, through Cambridgeshire (and, of course through Greenwich), down to the South Coast at Shoreham in Sussex. At the time of writing, decisions were being taken as to where the route is to cross the A14, and in relation to paths in Doddington & Chatteris, and problems due to a lack of bridge over the Twenty Foot River, west of March.

The initiator, David Potts of London, has obtained support for the project from The Astronomer Royal. Early publicity material suggested there was also the long-term intention to produce a route along the Meridian line through France, Spain, and on through parts of Africa…. We will seek to keep readers informed!!!

The Pathfinder Long Distance Path
Totally confined within Cambridgeshire is the recently waymarked “Pathfinder” 46 mile walk. This walk, designed by RAF personnel, is a permanent waymarked route on established rights of way, linking airfields in use by The Royal Airforce Pathfinder Force in World War II.

The route runs from RAF Wyton, through Houghton, Graveley, Elsworth, Oakington, Bluntisham, Warboys… and back to RAF Wyton.

A leaflet is available (produced in conjunction with Hunts. D.C & the RAF, and with support from Cambs. C.C.). For details, contact the County Council’s Countryside Access Team on 01223 717445.

Village of the Month –HADDENHAM – Pathfinder Sheet 961 (Ely South, Haddenham & Soham); Explorer Sheets 225/226
The pictorial village sign stands on a wide verge near the village cross roads at TL 464 755. It depicts the church and watertower, and the village’s higher ground (up to 116 ft) above the fen. In the foreground is the river, and two heavy horses ploughing the fertile fen soil. Haddenham has several miles of well-maintained, waymarked byways and footpaths, many with amenity tree planting. In Spring, the path through the orchard to Wilburton is most attractive, or take the low-lying path by Linden End and New Cut Drain to the hamlet of Aldreth.

Paths for People
This is the name of a leaflet produced by The Ramblers’ Association as a guide to the care and maintenance of local paths, and is specially directed to members of parish, town & community councils. The RA locally is making efforts to see that every parish receives a copy. Interested members could also obtain one from Central Office, so they may see what may be achieved by local councils.

The Editor – Janet Moreton 23 Emery Street, Cambridge CB1 2AX.

© Janet Moreton, November 1999

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