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CANTAB49 December 2008

CANTAB49 December 2008 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


What is there to say, but to wish you all a happy, but active Christmas, and good walking in 2009. I hope the walk suggestion below will enable you to combine a ramble with shopping opportunities!

Janet Moreton

Alternative Cambridge?
Instead of a “Parish of the Month”, I have looked at my adopted City of Cambridge, where I have lived these 48 years. There are innumerable guides to the colleges, but how about a walk around the City, looking at a miscellany of features? I will allow a few references to the colleges in passing!

This is a walk for you to do before diving into the shops for those last-minute items before Christmas, or for the temptations of the January sales. Or could you lure your visiting friends and relatives down the back streets to the riverside, to walk off seasonal excesses?  Walking boots are not required, but stout shoes are advised. The distance is at least 7 miles, more with various detours.

A number of possible starting points (A, B, C) are suggested.

A  Start –  Queen Anne Terrace Carpark
From the carpark, turn right in front of the Park-side swimming pool, and walk down Mill Road, passing Petersfield Playground, and 3 roads on the left leading to the Ruskin University in Cambridge. (Formerly the “Tech”, the College of Arts and Technology, it gained full university status in the Millennium. Hence find its adverts “Not just an old University in Cambridge!”). Beyond Mackenzie Road, turn down the tree-lined drive to one of the City’s cemeteries, now closed to new burials, but maintained as a pleasant open space and nature reserve.

Continue the direction of the drive, and emerge from the rear exit, near shops in Norfolk Street, and turn down St Matthews Street, noting the fine Victorian Church of that name.

Turn right into East Road, passing the City’s imposing, cylindrical Crown Court. Go down the ramp of the Newmarket Road underpass, and take the third exit, noting the attractive murals of smoking chimneys and of the medieval Stourbridge Fair, held for centuries on the Common.  Emerge up steps into Abbey Walk, passing the old Abbey House on the right.(The house may date from 1580, and is built on land of the former Barnwell Priory, founded 1112,dissolved 1578. The property is said to be haunted). Turn right into Beche Road, still with the Abbey House on the right.  Opposite is the Cellerer’s Chequer (once the Priory’s granary; a seat here). Turn left down Priory Road to the River Cam.  Note the houses fronting the river each have flood defence gates, since the disastrous floods of 2002.

Detour right to shop in Tesco, to view the new foot/cycle bridge, over the river, or to visit the Cambridge Museum of Technology (on the site of Cheddars Lane Sewage-pumping station, 1894 and gas works). Return, to pass by the riverside under Elizabeth Way Bridge.

Continue on the riverside path through Midsummer Common, passing Cutter Ferry Bridge.  All along this section, find attractive residential narrow boats moored to the near bank, and boathouses lining the far bank. (Look half-left across Midsummer Common to see the prominent spire of All Saints Church, in Jesus Lane.  The church is known for its pre-Raphaelite decoration).

Pass under the “Fort St George” Footbridge, and beside the pub of the same name. Go under the Victoria roadbridge, (1890, but note the date 1903 in the paving.) If the river is high, you may need to take the steps up and over the road.

By Jesus Green, continue on the surfaced riverside path past the Outdoor Swimming Pool (reopens 19 May 2009), to Jesus Lock and footbridge. (seats abound here, WC ) . (The lock was constructed by the Cam Commissioners in the mid-1830s.  An unusual feature is the elegantly curving balance beams). Still continue by the river, passing La Mimosa restaurant (formerly Spade and Beckett pub).  Walk along the boarding in front of the pub, passing posh flats and shops (on the site of the old electricity generating station, 1894 to ca 1950s) to reach Magdalen Road Bridge, with Magdalen College along the waterfront opposite. (The fine cast iron bridge dates from 1823, restored late C20th).

B – alternative start, near “Park & Ride” bus-stops.
Cross the river, and walk up Bridge Street, with its cafés and shops in interesting old buildings. Peer through the rails of Cross Keys Yard at another part of Magdalen College Cross Chesterton Road at the traffic lights, and take a short-cut through the yard of the ancient St Giles Church.  Continue up Castle Hill, and visit Castle Mound in the grounds of Shire Hall.  The views are exceptional, and, close at hand, one might see a wedding party outside the registry office. (See below for some notes on the history of the Castle Mound)

Descend Castle Hill, and cross the road.  You pass Castle Street Methodist Church (1914). Detour to visit the Cambridge Folk Museum at the corner with Northampton Street (admission charge).  Otherwise, pause to visit the tiny St Peter’s Church, and Kettle’s Yard (free gallery specialising in modern art).  Emerge through the buildings onto Northampton Street, cross Pound Hill, and pass Westminster College for nonconformist theological students. Use the pedestrian crossing to pass the rear of St John’s College, walking the footway beside the railings fronting a tributary of the Bin Brook.

Continue along The Backs, beside Queens’ Road, now on pleasant gravel paths under the trees, and pass consecutively Trinity, Clare and King’s College. On Scholars’ Piece behind King’s Chapel presently graze some white park cattle, probably on loan from Wimpole! By King’s back gate, use the pedestrian crossing to gain West Road.  On the right rises the huge (“waterworks style”) tower of the University Library.  Opposite the turning on the right to the “UL” turn left by bollards into the Sedgwick site, housing various non-science faculty buildings, all post 1960. Emerge onto Sedgwick Avenue (named after the C19th pioneer for higher female education, Henry Sedgwick).  Opposite is Newnham College, founded 1873. (The attractive building, like a muniments chest, striped in purple brick, dates from the Millennium.)

Turn left down Sedgwick Avenue to the traffic lights, and cross to Silver Street, to pass Darwin College on the right, and Queens College on the other side of the road. The famous “Mathematical Bridge” (originally built  in 1794 without nails) can be seen from the roadbridge.

C – alternative start, near Citi4 bus-stop.
Benches abound, subterranean WC. Pass the “Anchor” pub (whose basements are often flooded in Winter, “water on tap”). Turn right down Laundress Lane, passing the Library of Land Economy.  Emerge by the weir at the end of Mill Lane, and take the path on Coe Fen, going between bollards to follow the Cam, with the river on the left.  Note beyond the sluice, the old rollers where punts could be moved up or down the river. Scudamore’s Punt Yard is opposite.

Continue along the path, passing Robinson Crusoe Island, where grows the rare purple toothwort in late March. Take a cattle-creep under the Fen Causeway, or, if flooded, use the pedestrian crossing over the busy road.  Pass the outdoor “learner” swimming pool, and use the footbridge left over the river.  Continue across Coe Fen beside Vicar’s Brook, with the gardens of large houses over the brook to right, and the Leys School away to the left.

Emerge onto Trumpington Road, which cross, to visit the Botanic Gardens. (The gardens moved to their present site from Downing Street in 1846, so consider that the enormous Wellingtonias therein are less than 160y old. Entry to the garden is free on weekdays from November to February).

Walk through the Gardens (seats abound, café, WCs) to Station Road Corner, or walk up Bateman Street to reach the same point. All will be familiar with Cambridge Station Building – if returning from here, note the Italianate listed frontage was built 1845, by the architect Sancton Wood.

To return to Queen Anne Terrace, turn down Glisson Road, and Gresham Road (passing Fenner’s Cricket ground).

D alternative start – Station Road Corner for “Park & Ride”, Citi7 & county buses.

Cambridge Castle Mound
Stand here, and view the walking territory all around: from Balsham’s water-tower, The Gogs, to the higher ground above Madingley…

Habitation of the castle site dates from the Iron Age, and the Romans were quick to establish a fort here after the invasion of AD43.(A ditch under Shire Hall yielded Claudian pottery). After the Iceni uprising of AD70, a small town, Durolipons, developed at the junction of four roads.  The Anglo-Saxons had little use for Roman Roads and tended to use river-transport for goods, leading to the development of the “lower town” Granta Caestir, around Market Hill.  William The Conquerer’s castles spread across England after 1086, the flat-topped motte on high ground, topped by a timber tower being typical.  For two more centuries this was a royal castle and a jail. But in the C15th & C16th stone was robbed for the building of first Kings College Chapel, then Emmanuel and Magdalen Colleges.  In 1642, the site was one of Cromwell’s stongholds. The County Courts and jail were built here in 1913, only to be demolished in 1928 to make way from the present Shire Hall.

Quotation of the Month
This is taken from Bill Bryson’s”Icons of England”, publ. by “Think Books” for CPRE, 2008,  £20; ISBN 978-1-84525-054-6

Every right of way is an invitation, every stile is a step into somewhere gentle and generous...”
George Alagiah

Success at Stetchworth Public Inquiry
An Order adding a footpath between Mill Lane, Stetchworth, and the sandy track at TL 636 583, which leads to Eagle Lane Dullingham will shortly be confirmed, following success at a Public Inquiry held at the Ellesmere Centre on 28/29 October.

New Paths near Landwade & Exning
I am indebted to our Suffolk correspondent, Phil Prigg for the following information on legally confirmed recent byway creation, and a footpath diversion, on the Cambs/ Suffolk Border.

Byway24 – from Burwell Rd, TL 602661 to N End Rd TL 609 671
Byway25 from TL 609671 to Landwade Rd at TL 617680
Byway26 from TL 609671 to Haycroft lane, Burwell Byway 16 at TL 608672.

Also he notes the diversion of fp 19 through Landwade Farm, onto the route already commonly in use.

Cambs CC Refusal in Graveley
In November last year, Cambridge RA Group applied to the County Council to add to the Definitive Map a new footpath in Graveley, which would have helped to link the village with neighbouring Toseland. The path is included in the Graveley Inclosure Award but for some unknown reason was omitted when the map was drawn up in 1952. Right at the end of 12 month period allowed by law, the Council has refused the application, on the grounds of a legal technicality in the original Award. The RA is to appeal against this decision to the Secretary of State.

Pub Watch
I am grateful to our correspondent David Elsom who sends some useful information on rural pubs. I would be happy to pass on any other reports regarding changes in availability of refreshments in local walking areas.

(a)The Red Lion in Kirtling has now closed.

(b)The Kings Head, Dullingham has reopened.

(c) The Catherine Wheel at Gravesend, near Patmore Heath reserve, is not as expensive as it looks, and although mainly a restaurant, it has retained a small bar area, and beer garden, with light snacks at lunchtimes. Good parking.

(d) The “Coach & Horses” at Wicken Bonhunt is up for sale, and meanwhile food may not be available. Check on 01799 540516.

(e) Following a fire, The Cock at Stocking Pelham is still out of action.  The Brewery Tap at Furneaux Pelham & The Three Horseshoes at Hazel End, Farnham are still going strong, the latter with a Spanish flavour.

Return to the Fen Rivers Way
Those of you who completed walking the Fen Rivers Way route in 2001 may remember the outings with pleasure.  The guidebook to the route continues to sell well, so many others must be making the trek between Cambridge and Kings Lynn, or at least sampling parts of the path.  Recently, your editor has been making a sentimental journey along the Great Ouse, but this time, starting in Kings Lynn.

There are a number of changes visible on the ground.  Whilst not negating the usefulness of the guidebook, it may be worth noting a few points, from the section between Kings Lynn and Downham Market. (Other points of interest may be brought to your attention, when I have walked further!)

As a general point, there are, sadly, fewer signposts and waymarks for the route than previously, but I do not feel that a walker with a map and guidebook would be likely to go astray. There were wooden “Fen Rivers Way” signs at the end of the Kings Lynn waterfront, and again at Wiggenhall St Germans, where an illustrated route map is in good condition.

Leaving Kings Lynn, a two metre wide tarmac path now extends along the top of the east bank of the Great Ouse as far as Tail Sluice.  However, there is now no longer any need for detailed instruction as to how to proceed here in either direction.  The tarmac path continues directly over the sluice, giving way to a kissing gate and grass on the west side. But on stepping onto the sluice, my companions and I received a shock. A spectral voice issued from nowhere, admonishing us to keep to the path, and not to detour onto the automatic machinery of the sluices gates!  A second message greeted us at the other end of the structure – but this time we simply laughed!

Further on, at Wiggenhall St Germans, walkers will be pleased to learn that The Crown and Anchor pub is again open for business, and does meals.

Cantab Rambler (49) 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 a 20p stamp.

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This is a privately produced magazine, and the views expressed are solely those of the editor, or of the author of an individual item. Janet Moreton 01223 356889


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© Janet Moreton, 2008

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