** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **
Apologies are given to those of you expecting a June issue of Cantab. The delay is partly the result of editorial holidays, but more the result of depression of the spirit brought on by depressions of a meteorological nature. Was there ever so wet and miserable a June? I suppose in East Anglia we should be thankful that our homes and crops are not underwater, but, even when it is not actually raining, the ground conditions are like those of a particularly nasty February.
I recommend to your attention the blessedly sandy soils around Thetford and Brandon for non-sticky outings. The chalk highlands above Royston, and around the Mordens, Chishill and Heydon dry out fastest, but beware a slip on wet chalk. And everywhere, the grass on paths seems to be attempting a new height record, waiting to soak your trousers and trip the unwary. So, go forth friend – but watch your step!
John Bunyan published the “Pilgrim’s Progress” in 1678. His masterpiece was partly written in Bedford jail, where he passed 12 years for “unlicenced preaching”. The alegorical journeys of his pilgrim were based on the countryside he knew, in Bedfordshire.
Today, walkers can follow the same routes, using “The Bunyan Trail”, publ. by Beds.C.C. The leaflets are sponsored by Schol Foot-aids.
Geoffrey Chaucher’s Pilgrims
Chaucer’s 29 (fictional) pilgrims assembled at the Tabard Inn, Southwark in 1387, in preparation for their 60 mile journey to the shrine of St Thomas à Becket at Canterbury Cathedral. Many contributed a story to make the journey pass pleasantly. These monologues were arranged as “The Canterbury Tales”.
Next issue gives the history of The Pilgrims Way…
The Guided Busway
Clearance of scrub, and construction has now started on this route between St Ives and Cambridge. This will resulting in disruption of paths over a wide corridor for at least the next two years.
Cambs.C.C. recently notified ramblers that there will be a temporary path diversion (from 7 May this year to 25 July 2008) of Fenstanton fp 13 on the Ouse Valley Way. The diversion is at TL 325 703 (under the viaduct). The path will be diverted about 100m away from its original line and back.
Watch for more diversions or temporary closures where paths cross the track of the old St Ives railway – we will try to keep readers posted.
Cambridge to Ely problems
The following information was received from John Cooper, a Senior Access Officer with Cambridgeshire County Council on 9 July. It is not quite verbatim, a few expansions being added for clarity.
Due to the freight train derailment at Newmarket rail Bridge both paths (Ely 23 & 24) along the riverside near the bridge, TL 543 782, are subject to temporary closure (initially emergency) for health & safety reasons. The west bank has been subject to a temporary closure whilst the Braham Dock bridge was constructed. This bridge is all but complete and the path was due to be reopened, however the derailment has meant that there will be a continued closure on this side. Fortunately the Braham Dock closure had meant that there was an alternative route from Little Thetford to Ely in place which can continue to be used whilst the rail situation is sorted. With a view to providing circular routes around here the paths will be open up to Braham Dock bridge from the south. New signage is being erected on this. On the east bank the section from the Ely / Soham road south to Barway is temporarily closed. Signs are being erected to notify walkers, in particular those Fen Rivers Way users who need to divert at Dimmocks Cote. The situation is being monitored with our highways officers and those of Rail Track/Keir and the paths will be opened as soon as safely possible. Press releases have been sent out. Kevin Green, who has been overseeing the completion of Braham Dock bridge with our bridges section, has been acting as lead officer on this. For more information, contact –
Chishill’s New Permissive Bridleways
Chishill, as one of the South Cambs southern border parishes, one might expect to find on Explorer 209, but in fact is mostly depicted at the top of Explorer 194, Hertford & Bishops Stortford.
Turn up both of these maps, to locate a really useful set of new permissive bridleways we first encountered recently. Surfaced with rough mown grass, try them now, in conjunction with the rights of way network, before Winter equestrian usage renders them muddy!
Go west from Great Chishill Church, to a lane “The Pudgell” running north. Within a few metres, find a bridle gate, and a plan of the new paths which can be used to annotate your own maps.
One path runs NW down a hedge from TL 421 392. It has a waymarked branch left (SW) across a culvert, at ca. TL 415 396, which turns left again at a facing hedge, ca. TL 412 395 to reach the Barley road at ca. TL 416 389. This is very close to the start of the path from the windmill, which leads back to Chishill.
Had one avoided the first turn, and stayed with the path running NW, two other paths turn off right (NE) and lead, less usefully for the walker, onto New Road.
Continuing ahead from TL 412 395 leads WSW round a bulge in the hedge to the county boundary near Cumberton Bottom, at ca TL 406 393. Follow the hedge NNW to the Barley Road at TL 402 401. Go S down the road a short way towards Barley, and turn off NNW on the right of way to the Icknield Way trackway near Noons Folly Farm. Follow the trackway E across 2 roads, and take the footpath SSE from TL 414 419 to New Buildings Farm, and thence back to Chishill.
Parish of the Month – Graveley
Explorer 208, 225.
Like Chishill, Graveley is a South Cambs border parish, abutting Huntingdonshire, in the parishes of Toseland, Yelling, Offord D’Arcy and Huntingdon, and to the east, the little South Cambs parish of Papworth St Agnes.
In 986, a thegn left Graveley and Elsworth to his wife, and then to Ramsey Abbey. At Domesday the record for “Gravelei” (a clearing in the grove), gives the population as only 20. In the C16th, the village (then of 23 households) was sold by the Crown to Jesus College, and the land was leased until the C19th. One such piece of land was owned by the Pepys family, and Samuel Pepys’ diary records that he hoped to inherit it. The church is dedicated to St Botolph. It has a flint C15 tower, and four amusing gargoyles over the west doorway.
Move forward to 1942, when Graveley had a WWII airfield, the home of Squadron 35 of Bomber Command, one of the original 4 units that eventually formed the famous Pathfinder Force in August 1942, about 6 months after the airfield became operational. The Three Horse-shoes pub in Graveley records the history of this time with the many photographs on the walls of the bar.
On the old airfield itself, there is said to be a small memorial stone marking the original gateway to the RAF base. After closure in 1968, the wartime hangars were demolished, the concrete runways dug up, and the area returned to cereal farming, although the original trackways round the perimeter remain.
Paths in Graveley
A sad after-effect of the wartime activity, was that a section of the Roman Road from Huntingdon “Roman Way”, which passes through Graveley, once traversed the site of the airfield. It was closed during the war, and never reopened. This leaves a serious gap in the path network over to the neighbouring parish of Toseland, felt by both walkers and horseriders, and one where there is an on-going campaign to rectify.
The remaining part of the Roman Road in Graveley is numbered Bridleway 1 on the Definitive Map. There are 10 other footpaths in the parish.
From the parish boundary at TL 243652, Bridleway 1 continues the line of Offord D’Arcy Bp 5 running NNE over a crossing farm track. It passes Great Parlow Close and farm buildings, and at TL 244657, Offord D’Arcy Fp 3 turns off left. Bp 1 continues NNE to TL 246663, where it crosses a culverted ditch to join the path N to Godmanchester. Paths turn off left to Offord Cluny, right to Ermine Street at Lattenbury, and Graveley Fp 2 goes off sharp right (SE). The junction is indicated by a carved wooden signpost, with four parishes named on the stem, and carved symbols on 5 fingers.
On Church Lane at TL 249641, a sign, for Footpath 2 points N over a stile, to enter a rough field . The path goes NNW then N across 5 fields In the last field, the RoW continues N towards the site of the former Glebe Farm, then NNW by the site of the farm to cross a ditch at TL 248658 on a wooden bridge. Fp 2 continues NW across a cultivated field crossing a boundary at TL 247660, and over a final arable field to reach Bp 1 by the carved wooden signpost. The last two fields are often unreinstated.
From Offord Road at TL 246643, a sign shows Footpath 3 entering pasture via a kissing gate. The RoW runs E then SE across 3 grass fields (note medieval ridge & furrow) and into a rough field where the route runs SE to join Fp 2 by the stile into Church Lane, TL 249641.
From Fieldings Place at TL 250641, a sign shows Bridleway 4 running NNW down a tarmac roadway, shortly becoming a sunken gravel track, between trees & churchyard wall to left and later ditch & gardens to right. It reaches a concrete standing with garages to left, and the house “Cosy Hollow” to right. Here the RoW turns left (WSW) on a driveway At TL 249641 it reaches Church Lane, passing a pathway turning left to the churchyard.
From Papworth Road at TL 253643, by the pumping station, Footpath 5 is signed running SW, across an arable field. At the far side, it continues as a passage between garden fences, leading to Fieldings Place near the churchyard, TL 250641.
From High Street at TL 253640, a sign points ENE through a gap in band of trees indicating Footpath 6 following a line of power poles across arable to a field-corner at TL 255641. Here it joins a 1m wide grassy baulk following a line of power-poles. At TL 257642, the RoW crosses the ditch on a bridge, to continue on the grass path with ditch to left. At TL 258642, it leaves the ditch to run E undefined across an arable field to TL 259642, where it bridges a stream in a deep, tree-hung ravine. The path continues E uphill on strip between crops to cross a concrete bridge to join Papworth St Agnes Fp 4 in pasture at TL 267643.
Footpath 7 continues the very short Papworth St Agnes Fp 5, which leaves the village road by a sign “Public Footpath” at TL 268641. Papworth St Agnes Fp 5 runs WSW for 30m between trees, over a culvert bridge into an arable field. Here a waymark post shows Graveley Fp 7 running SSW across 5 arable fields, generally reinstated, and with some waymarking at field boundaries. The path continues SW to reach a field boundary with trees at the brow of a hill, TL 263633, to join Yelling Fps 5 & 6, by a waymark post.
From High Street at a grass triangle by a sign, “Home Farm”, TL 252640, and a metal sign opposite, “Public Bridleway Yelling ¾”, Bridleway 8 starts S down a sunken lane, briefly turns E, then continues S to join Yelling Bp 4 at the parish boundary, TL 254635. This generally good path can flood in very wet weather.
From Bp 8 at TL 253637, Footpath 9 climbs the bank out of the sunken lane. It runs N undefined across an arable field curving NW to rejoin Bp 8, through the yard of Home Farm, at TL 252639.
From High Street at TL 249639, a lane runs SW, signed to “Graveley Garage”. After 25m a sign “Public Footpath” for Footpath 10, points right (W) along a track with high fence to left and a rough area to right. The path crosses a stile into an arable field, and continues to a kissing gate into a fenced passage. The remainder of the path should cross fenced paddocks and gardens to emerge over a ditch into Toseland Road. However, I advise against currently attempting to use this route as it is obstructed, and the landowner denies the presence of the RoW. The matter is presently with staff at Cambridgeshire County Council. However, continue down the passage on Footpath 11, which exits without problems onto Toseland Road, at TL 246639.
In addition, Ramblers Association, Cambridge Group are in process of claiming a “lost way”, that ran from Fp11 to the Toseland Road, based on evidence from the Inclosure Award of 1805.
Graveley – Walks Suggestions
For a linear walk, take a bus from Cambridge or Huntingdon to Papworth Everard. From the church, take fp 1 going SW to the new bypass, which cross. Turn E down the road to Yelling. Turn off right (N) on the path past Ridgeway Plantation, and follow this path through a wood and across a meadow to emerge from a house-drive in Papworth St Agnes. Detour to admire the church & old bakehouse, or take the path opposite, across a meadow, to join Graveley Fp6, which follow into the village. Rest on seats near the village sign, or use the attractive bus shelter. Visit the church and from Church Lane, take Fp 2running N & NW to join Roman Way. Walk N into Godmanchester, whence frequent buses return to Cambridge. 8 miles
For a pleasant circular walk from Graveley, start from the church, where there is a little parking (not Sundays!). Walk E along the village Street towards Manor Farm. Take Fp 6 to Papworth St Agnes. Go SW to Yelling, using Fp7. The church in Yelling is worth a visit, and there is a seat in front of the village sign. Return N from the village sign on Yelling Bp 4, which joins Graveley Bp 8 at the parish boundary. (4 miles) A circular detour may be made S of Yelling on a reasonably well-waymarked network, adding perhaps 2 miles. The more ambitious, seeking to visit Croxton and Weald, and adding 5 miles, should beware, as this further diversion requires two crossings of the A428 at grade.
Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 20p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and 20p stamp.
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Cantab 42 © Janet Moreton, 2007.