** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **
Do you hate barbed wire?
A Daily Telegraph article of 10 October reported the case of an allotment owner who sought to protect his crops from thieves by erecting a single-strand fence of barbed wire around his patch. The local council directed that the barbed wire should be removed, on Health and Safety grounds. Any injured intruder might sue the Council!
Can this argument be extended to landowners who fence property with barbed wire alongside public rights of way? So narrow are some paths that walkers do not need to attempt to cross a barbed wire fence in order to become entangled in it. Just passing a pedestrian going in the other direction might be sufficient to press ones clothes against the wire, and with waterproof jackets at £150 plus, this is just not funny. Then there are hands and ankles caught on rusty points. Do you have your anti-tetanus injection up-to-date? I believed that landowners were required to confine barbed wire to the field-side of any posts adjacent to a path, although I can think of some places in Cambridgeshire where this is not so. How does this situation stand up to current Health and Safety requirements?
East Suffolk Line – Station to Station Walks
Roger and Sheila Wolfe wrote asking me to promote this initiative. Contact:
for a free download, or write to ESCRIP, 12 Kemps Lane, Beccles, NR 34 9XA for a free booklet.
Parish of the Month – Linton
In a stack of pamphlets about local points of interest, I found a delightful booklet, “Linton, The Story of a Market Town“. Dated 1982, and published by the Parish Council, it sold at 50 pence. As it is now, doubtless, out of print I take the liberty, with grateful acknowledgement, of summarising some of the fascinating information in its pages, to give an historical background to the walking opportunities in and around the parish. I have also drawn on “Archaeology of Cambridgeshire”, Vol. 2, by Alison Taylor (publ. 1998, Cambs.C.C.), as an invaluable source.
Ancient times in Linton
An early iron age dwelling was found in 1948, containing pottery, bone tools and a spear-head, whilst work was being carried out in an old chalk pit, S of the bypass. Traces of Roman occupation were found beneath the Village College, and on the river slopes at a villa towards Hadstock. A huge Anglo-Saxon burial mound was excavated by R.C. Neville in 1883 on what was then Linton Heath beyond Borley Wood, finding 104 burials of C5th & C6th date, and including grave goods of beads, jewelry, weapons and coins. A much poorer cemetery of a similar date has been encountered under the centre of Linton., N of High Street. A C6th hut-site was found at Barham Cross (where the Bartlow Road leaves the A1307), with remains of a wall of clay-daub and a hearth, decorated pottery, bone comb and awl.
(Will some future archaeologist treasure the pins, fuses, broken hacksaw blades, and hair clips under the floor of our Victorian house?)
Linton parish today derived from four Medieval Manors within the Chilford Hundred: Great and Little Barham (near Barham Hall Farm); Great Linton (close to the river crossing in the town); and Little Linton Manorial Close. Robert de Furneaux endowed a small friary, Barham Priory in the late C13th, dissolved 1539. The name “Linton” is Saxon in origin, meaning “flax town”, but it was cereal that was the basis of the first commercial development, and tanning was an important village industry.
Linton developed from the manorial sites into a substantial trading settlement by late C13th. William de Say, of Great Linton obtained a grant for a weekly market in 1246, at the junction of High Street & Church Lane. Simon de Furneaux of Barham Manor, later acquired a grant to hold a market & fair in 1282, setting up a rectangular market place. at Green Lane. A third site S of the river near Granta Vale was set up in 1282, and was still in use when a map of the parish was made in 1600. In 1633, 41 shops & 10 stalls were recorded. The town remained an important commercial centre into the C19th and early C20th., although today Linton is generally referred to as a village.
The parish covers 1600 ha, and was quite heavily wooded in 1086 and into medieval times, the trees being mostly felled in the C18th & C19th. With only 61 inhabitants at Domesday, the population reached a peak of 1858 in the census of 1851, only to fall in the 1920s. By 1996, numbers were 4310, and are still rising.
Around the village centre
History is most interesting when there are reminders on the ground, and about Linton, there are many such. First, take a walk around the centre of the village, before exploring some of the 30 public paths which lead around and out of the parish. Start down Church Lane, visit the church, go through the churchyard, over the river, turning left along the riverside, to return over a bridge, visiting the Mill and High Street. Take a street atlas (eg Philips’), as well as OS Explorer 209.
In Church Lane –
The Guildhall (no.4) is timber-framed and plastered: it has two unequal gabled roofs of 1510 – 1530. It served as the Town House until the 1600s, then as housing for the poor.
St Mary The Virgin’s site was originally a priory belonging to the abbey of St Jacut de la Mer in Brittany from ca 1100 until 1416, when “alien priories” were suppressed by Henry V, the property passing to Pembroke College, Cambridge. The original Norman style church of the C13th can be glimpsed from the round and octagonal columns of the S arcade, and the lower part of the tower. Over centuries, the S aisle was widened and extended; a N aisle created; chapels added to contain the memorials of local families, and the walls of the nave raised. By the C16th, the church achieved its present outline, but in 1643, the Cromwellian, William Dowsing, “purged” the church of 80 pictures, and other decoration, and the same year, the vicar, Roger Ashton was driven out for his loyalty to the king. C19th refurbishment banished box pews, and realigned the seating. As the church is usually open, walkers have an opportunity to view this interesting building inside and out.
The Old Watermill at the bottom of Mill Lane is on a site occupied by a mill since Domesday, and was used until the C19th., and is now attractive housing.
In the High Street –
Queens House, nos. 14 &16 …ca. 1730.
Cambridge House, nos 19 & 21 ..late C18th, with C17th timber framed building at the rear.
Linton House, no.64 … Some C17th work, altered in the late C19th.
The Bell, no 95 … a former Inn, this is a 5-bayed timber frame construction, with a continuous jetty.
Ram House, no 100 …a C17th timber-framed & plastered house, with an C18th wing with a beautiful Venetian window on the first floor. Note the keystone with the ram’s head. It was once an inn (called the Ship in 1738) with a schoolhouse adjacent.
Detour down Green Lane – to see:
The Old Manor House … The rear is timber-framed and plastered, while the front and gable endwalls, and stacks are of a soft orange brick. The main part is C18th, but the gabled rear wings were rebuilt following a 1981 fire. It was occupied by tanners before 1600, until the industry ceased ca 1830. Tanners also occupied houses 16 &18 on Horn Lane (over a ford from the Guildhall) until 1841, when the buildings were combined to form Springfield House, once a boys’ boarding school.
On foot out of Linton
Some 31 numbered definitive paths give off-road access to the surrounding countryside.
A The most ancient of these is part of the Icknield Way, IW, a prehistoric route crossing southern England from Wessex towards Hunstanton, along the chalk uplands. Originally a band of communication, rather than a narrow path, in recent times its name has been given to the walkers’ Long Distance Path running from Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chilterns to Knettishall Heath in the Breckland. The pedestrian route enters Cambridgeshire from the S along the county boundary, joining Linton Br 31, which gives onto the Hadstock Road and passes Linton Zoo, en route for High Street. A route for horse-riders (and of course walkers) from Great Chesterford is through the grounds of the derelict Catley Park, down Br 7’s stony track, past the silos, towards Little Linton. Note that Catley Park was once a manor house, bought by the Little Linton Estate in the 1770s, and largely demolished, leaving one wing as Catley Park Farm. When no longer farmed independently, the house fell into disuse and was demolished in 1978.
Both variants of the IW Path leave Linton via Rivey Hill Path (Br 20), passing the water-tower. This imposing structure in purplish brick is 12-sided with tapering brick pilasters, and was built in 1935. The IW route joins the B1052, passing Chilford Hall Vineyard. (Morning coffee is sometimes available, but the driveway is a long detour). Walkers turn off on Fp 22, crossing 2 cultivated fields, with the line of path reinstated if they are lucky. (Your local RA Footpath Secretaries have reported this route out of order on some 22 occasions). Reaching the Roman Road (Linton Byway 23 at this point), the IW Path continues N to its mid-point & commemorative stone in Balsham.
From Cambridge it is possible to make a linear walk from Great Chesterford to Balsham, using buses Citi 7,Saffron Walden terminus, and Stagecoach 16 to Balsham. There is also a Stagecoach 19, which goes direct from Linton to Balsham.
B The Roman Road
(Via Devana, or Wool Street) forms the northern parish boundary. A popular longer walk may be made by taking the half-hourly CitiPlus 13 bus from Cambridge (or Haverhill) to Linton, and gaining the Roman Road from Linton Cemetery by the Rivey Hill Br 20, or the parallel path Br21 which starts from Back Lane near the telephone exchange. Alternatively, use the attractive Br 25, from Horseheath Road, to pass the corner of Borley Wood, and meet the Roman Road at Marks Grave. Once on the old byway, in either case, turn left, and keep on walking! On reaching Worts Causeway on the Cambridge City boundary, walk down the hill, passing the Beechwoods reserve. Just beyond the reserve, it is possible to walk on a pleasant path behind the hedge, continuing beyond the cross-roads, down Worts Causeway to Red Cross, and the bus-station at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.
Longer Circuits from Linton
C Linton – Roman Road – Hildersham – Little Linton
Gain the Roman Road by any of the 3 routes described in B. Turn off on the bridleway to Hildersham village Go S along the main street passing the church & Pear Tree pub. Use one of several paths (well-waymarked) E across meadows, to join the path passing the sewage works and entering Linton parish along Fp 2, which leads to the recreation ground. (7 or 8 miles).
D Linton – Roman Road – Hildersham – Abington – Land Settlement – Hildersham Wood – Linton
Gain Hildersham by the route described in C. By the road-bridge over the Cam in the village, take the path across meadows to the A1307. Cross to the Kennels, and turn half right on the road to Great Abington. In the village turn left on the road, to a T-junction. Enter the former Land Settlement estate along Chalky Road, which follow S out of the housing, uphill towards Abington Park Farm. At a T-junction, near the top of the hill, turn left, E on a path passing Hildersham Wood. Zig-zag round a hedge corner and continue in the same direction, on what becomes Linton Fp 11. Cross the track from Catley Park to Little Linton, to continue across arable fields (Linton Fp 9). The route passes through a gap in the hedge, and becomes a grassy strip between fields, going behind Linton Zoo, from which unusual sounds and scents may emanate. Pass through a paddock via two high metal stiles, and down a passageway to emerge on the A1307, with a convenient pedestrian crossing for Linton High Street. (10 miles)
Shorter walks from Linton
Several short walks are available, any two of which may be combined to make a village-based figure-of-eight, and perhaps lunching at The Crown or Dog & Duck, or taking a drink at The Waggon & Horses. North’s Bakery in the village supplies sandwiches and cakes.
E To Hadstock
Use the pedestrian crossing over the A1307 at the top of High Street and start up Hadstock Road towards the Zoo, but turn off almost immediately left along Long Lane, to the stump of a windmill. Use the bridge over the track of the former railway, and continue on the grassy “Chalky Road”, which joins the road into Hadstock. After visiting the church, and perhaps the pub, return to Hadstock recreation ground, which is reached up Bilberry End. At the rear of the large grass space, take the path going SSW over Hawes Hill, later by a hedge, descending to the lane by the old windmill.(The route in use is not as shown on OS Sheets). On the return, turn off right to cross the A1307 cautiously, to reach Mill Lane. Here, on the right, is a track leading to Linton’s Pocket Park. This is a delightful place for wild flowers in high Summer, but in Winter rubber boots might be advisable on the soggy ground. (3 miles)
Alternatively, once in Hadstock, continue through the village to descend by a new footpath not shown on OS Sheets. “Len’s Path” runs high above Hadstock Road, which it joins just before the Zoo.
F Kingfisher Walk and Little Linton
From Linton rec, cross the grass N towards the footbridge over the R.Granta. Immediately turn off left beside the river, on a made path in front of some new houses. Continue some way along this charming pathway, with attractive new amenity planting and grassy spaces, until it is possible to go no further! Turn back a few houses to the next bona-fide exit path towards Back Lane, but follow the residential road round towards garages. A waymarked gap gives permissive access to the continuing riverside. (If this is not found, continue to Back Lane, and walk W on the lane until the start of Fp 1 is reached). On meeting a crossing track (Fp 1) leading down to a bridge over the river, follow this, and pass beside a paddock to reach Fp 2 leading E back to Little Linton and thence to the rec. (2 miles)
Less advisable destinations!
No paths lead direct to Bartlow, although Fps 6, 27, cross between roads near the former Barham Cross. Narrow Bartlow Road has no footway.
Whilst Horseheath can be reached easily and attractively along the Roman Road, if attempting to approach via Br 28, which leaves the A1307 at TL 582 467, do not be surprised to find no trace on the ground, as it has not been seen to be defined in 40years!
In this “Parish of the Month” it has not been possible to discuss all the parish paths. Most not mentioned will be found within the village envelope, and will repay study.
Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
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© Janet Moreton, 2008.