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CANTAB53 October 2009

CANTAB53 October 2009 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


Jack Lewry –
Cambridge Ramblers recently lost a dear friend, and a dedicated City Footpath Secretary.  Jack Lewry died of cancer on 22 September. His funeral on 5 October was in the packed church at Chesterton, where the well-represented ramblers were yet a small fraction of the hundreds of mourners.  The life’s work of Jack, a retired architect, was acclaimed by former friends and colleagues. We had only known him in retirement, when Jack & Phyl were popular regulars on the walks programme, and Jack as a much valued member of the Committee. He used his knowledge of City planning and regulations for the benefit of the inner-city path network. We are grateful for many instances where his negotiations brought a useful outcome for walkers.  One particular instance, is that of the right of way by the new Bradwell’s Court. Jack’s negotiations secured a wide passage on the original line adjacent to Christ’s College wall, instead of simply through the court between the shops, or worse still round the far side, where the developers wanted to put it.  Jack campaigned tirelessly for a footpath from the Leper Chapel across to Ditton Meadows – we still hope that this might come to be, perhaps as a memorial.

Our sympathies go to Phyl and the children.


Icknield Way Association – 25 Years Old!
The IW Association celebrated its Silver Jubilee AGM on 10 October at Royston.

There was the traditional morning walk on the Heath in the morning, a special visit to the historic Royston Cave, and a talk given by Cllr F John Smith, Leader of North Herts District Council, on “Royston and the Icknield Way” which preceded the AGM in the afternoon.

The IWA maintains a team of voluntary wardens along the path, produces a newsletter, and publishes a guidebook to the Icknield Way Long Distance Path, some 100 miles long, from Ivinghoe Beacon to Knettishall Heath, and passing through 6 counties. The IWA’s route is for pedestrians only, and should be distinguished from the 170 mile long Icknield Way Trail, a route for cyclists, horseriders and pedestrians, which involves quite long sections of roadwork.

IWA membership details may be obtained from Sue Prigg, at 1 Edgeborough Close, Kentford, Newmarket CB8 8QY
tel.01638 751289

Byron’s Pool
Have you visited the Byron’s Pool nature reserve at Trumpington recently?  There have been considerable “improvements” which, to my mind, are of dubious value.  This has always been an area of rough woodland, beside the River Cam, and having romantic associations with Byron and Rupert Brook.

From the entrance, the car-park has been improved, and the grass cut, and some rather derelict picnic tables replaced.  I have no quarrel with this.  But by the riverside, we now have trim fishing stances, all the weeds tidied away, and the woodland path replaced with an all-weather surface, with any older trees removed, so that it looks like a sanitised municipal park.  Perhaps this is what most people require.  But I am sad, since this was one of the last little spots of wilderness within the City boundary.


Round & About in S & E Cambs
Porters Way closed this Winter…
Porters Way, which runs from the B1046 near Kingston, to the Old North Road opposite the Red House, will be closed this Winter.

A seasonal traffic regulation order (TRO) was approved, along with several others for byways, and signs and gates are being installed.  In addition, part of this very muddy lane is to be hardened with road planings or similar material, and the drier parts will be grass seeded.  Kevin Green, Capital Projects Rights of Way Officer for Cambs CC, writes that it will be necessary to close the byway to the public, and once the work has been completed it may be necessary to keep the byway closed to allow the surface to establish.

Warning notices are posted in Bourn, Kingston, Caldecote etc.

Fen Rivers Way’s new seat at Clayhythe..
The Fen Rivers Way Association worked for some years to extend Cambs CC’s promoted riverside route between Cambridge and Ely, to go all the way to Kings Lynn. The FRWA was responsible for waymarking, and production of the Fen Rivers Way guidebook. When in 2002 their task was deemed complete, remaining funds were handed to Ramblers’ Cambridge Group, in order to reprint the guidebook as required, and to keep a watching brief on the long distance path. Your Editor and companions walked the route last Winter, and found it in good order throughout.

Over the years, a modest profit has added to the sum inherited by Cambridge Group for the Fen Rivers Way, and it became possible to purchase a seat, which has been sited on the Clayhythe riverside.  Thanks are due to Jill Tuffnell, Hon. Sec. of Cambridge Group, and to Pip Noone of the Cam Conservators for their organisation.

Afoot in Dullingham…
It is pleasing to note the creation of three new rights of way in Dullingham parish, following an application to Cambs CC, supported by Dullingham PC.  All are on or adjacent to the recently created Hope Hall Stud, which occupies land to the S of Dullingham Church, and E of Brinkley Road.

Fp27 leaves the existing Fp6 going S from Dullingham Church at TL 632 575, and goes E along a grass track between a tall hedge and paddock fence, to reach the rear of a cottage garden at Cross Green, where it turns right for 50m, then left, to emerge on the road to Dullingham Ley.

Fp26 turns off Fp27 about half-way along, at TL 634 575 and follows another grass track N, to come out on the road beside Dullingham sports ground at TL 634 579.

Fp28 will leave Fp6 further S, almost opposite existing Fp8, which also connects Fp6 with the Dullingham Ley road, and run W to join the Brinkley Road at TL 631 572.  However, there are problems at present because although there is an obvoius hard road from the new house by the path junction, the new right of way does not quite follow this.  There seems to be no objection to walking down this hard road, and exiting through a hand-gate onto the Brinkley road.  (Thanks to Phil Prigg for information).

These paths, though they cannot be said to lead into the wilder fastnesses of East Cambs, do provide some pleasant local circuits, which have already been in use for some time by local cognoscienti – which, of course, is why the rights of way claim was successful!

Is Juniper Worth Conserving?
As members of the charity Plantlife International*, we receive regular magazines and leaflets and, of course, the inevitable appeals for financial assistance.

One recent leaflet about Juniper struck a local chord, as the only wild population in Cambridgeshire is preserved on Fleam Dyke (on the section SE of the A10), and some of the precious remaining bushes were only rescued from obscurity or stifling during clearance of this section of the Dyke a few years back.

Juniper is one of the only three native conifers in the UK (the others being Scots Pine and Yew, according to Edward Step in “Wayside & Woodland Trees”).

Plantlife warns us that juniper is now in serious decline.  Many of the remaining bushes are over 100 years old, and are no longer very successful at reproduction.  Open bare ground is needed for seed germination.  On under-grazed land, the seeds do not germinate, and existing juniper bushes eventually succumb to enveloping scrub – which was what was happening to the bushes at the foot of Fleam Dyke!  And too much grazing, of couse, means the saplings are nibbled.This is why the bushes on the Dyke have a wire cage, to fend off rabbits.  Climate change projections suggest that in 80 years, Juniper will disappear from much of southern Europe.  If this happens the UK could become a last bastion of this much-loved plant, and perhaps the plants along Fleam Dyke among the most southerly on Earth!

Go gently past!

*Plantlife International – The Wild Plant Conservation Charity, 14 Rollestone St., Salisbury, Wilts, SP1 1DX

Friends of the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke – the new Long Distance Path
The new 25 mile Fleam Dyke & Roman road Walk was launched at Wandlebury on Sunday 13 September, attended by about 60 people, of whom 29 came on the 15 mile walk on the southern section, with 20 finishers.

By that time, the guidebook was published, representing excellent value at £2.50. This will be available by hand at Cambridge Group’s AGM on 20 November, Friends Meeting House, Hartington Grove, 6.30pm or by post at £3.25 from the Editor and prime mover, Roger Lemon, Brecklands, Main Street, Shudy Camps, Cambs, CB21 4RA.  Cheques should be payable to “Friends of the Roman Road & Fleam Dyke”.

Roger Lemon will be speaking on the development of the route at the AGM, and by that time, waymarking work around the route will have been completed by volunteers.  The waymarking is particularly valuable on those parts of the walk which join up the Roman Road and Fleam Dyke sections, taking in less well-known paths especially those  in West Wratting, and West Wickham.  The Friends are grateful for a grant from “Awards for All” (National Lottery) which has made the project possible, and to numerous volunteers.

Food for Thought –
More Pub & Café  News..
In Sawston, two adjacent pubs, The Black Bull, and The Queens Head have closed, and also The Woolpack, elsewhere in the village. However, Sawston is still served by a good number of restaurants, pubs, and four cafés (North’s Bakery take-away, Skivers, William’s café, and a café at the Free Church). I am indebted to John Capes for up-to-date information.

When visited in September, the Plough Inn at Radwinter was for sale.  In the locality, The Red Lion at Great Sampford has food, as does The Bluebell, Hempstead.

Has any reader sampled the food at Houghton Hall Farm, which is on the Stour Valley Way between Clare and Cavendish (Explorer 210, TL 785 466) ?  We have twice passed the display board, propped incongruously on the path itself, advertising coffee and cake in a sunny countyard, Thurs-Mon, 11am – 3pm.

Parish of the Month – Bartlow
OS Sheet 209

There were originally 7 Roman burial mounds (once called the Seven Hills of Bartlow) in two parallel lines close to Bartlow church, of which only 4 survive to dominate this small village.  The largest is 15m high, probably the tallest in Europe.  C19th archaeologists excavated cremated remains, dating from the C1st – 2nd,  and recorded an iron folding chair, an iron-bound wooden chest containing glass drinking vessels, and lamps, bronze wine flagons, sets of Samian tableware, and the remains of funereal wreaths, for the burial of the upper class.  Some of the mounds were destroyed in building a road in 1832, and during the construction of the railway later in the C19th.  A modest Roman villa occupied to 350AD was also excavated at Bartlow Park.

No less memorable than the “hills” is the nearby Norman church, with a rare C14th round tower containing 3 ancient bells.  Note the cross-eyed lions in the upper lights of the C14th chancel windows!

The parish of Bartlow was cut out from parts of Ashdon and Castle Camps, and was owned by the de Vere family after the Norman Conquest.  Only the existence of the church in ca 1100 confirms the early presence of the village, as it was not recorded by name until the C13th.  The original manor house, recorded 1279, may have been a precursor of the present Old Hall, near the river.  In 1279, there were some 160 residents; by 1377 there were only 32 people living in the village; but in the census of 1801, 83 people were recorded. In 1996 still only 90 people inhabited the parish.  The railway came in 1865, making Bartlow a junction between the track from Audley End and the Haverhill to Great Shelford line.  The Great Eastern line closed in 1923, and the Audley End branch line was closed by Beeching in 1965.  The tracks were removed and the land, sadly, sold back to Bartlow Estate – the route would have made a delightful footpath!

Public Paths in Bartlow
There are only five usable public paths in Bartlow parish.

Fp 1 leaves the churchyard, and leads by a massive bridge over the railway to the well-maintained area around Bartlow Hills, where there is a display board.  Fp 4 leaves this area going west, and emerges on the road to Ashdon, at TL 585 449.  It then continues parallel to this road, inside at belt of trees. At TL 585447, it joins Fp 5, which passes in front of residences, and joins the footpath in Essex going to Steventon End.

Bp 2 is the start of the route to Cardinals Green, leaving the Shudy Camps Road at TL 598  452.  Within 100m, it enters the parish of Shudy Camps, continuing as Bp1, and later as Horseheath Bp13.  Fp 3, on a track passing under the disused railway at TL 594 451 was shown on the 1972 Revised Draft Map, but was disputed, and never made it to the Definitive Map.  Similarly, Bartlow Broad Balk is a track well-known to local horseriders, and would be much valued by pedestrians, but has not been registered as a right of way.

Following a Public Inquiry, held in the village in 2003, Fp 6 was added to the Definitive Map by Cambs CC, as directed by a DEFRA inspector on 13 January 2004.  A minor diversion at the east end was confirmed by Cambs CC on 11 January 2005.  Allowing for the gathering of information, which was started by a village resident Mr Ogilvy, and continued after his death by The Ramblers, the whole exercise took nearly 5 years.  The path starts from the side of the churchyard, where there is a wooden signpost.  The route passes between a garage and the wall of a house, and continues on a very wide gravelled drive between new properties, built on the site of the former farmyard. The right of way emerges at the junction of the roads to Cambridge, Ashdon and Hadstock.  It avoids a very dangerous corner of the road, near the Three Hills public house, and is a useful shortcut.

Walking Routes
Only the shortest of circuits may be made in the parish. From the churchyard; go past the Three Hills on fps 1 and 4, north along the Ashdon Road, and back to the churchyard on Fp6.  It is possible to park by the churchyard.

However, the village lies on several attractive through-routes, such as Horseheath to Linton, via Cardinals Green and Hadstock (minimum of 7 miles).  A circuit may be made from Ashdon, via Steventon End returning via the bridleway to Ashdon Sewage Works (6 miles).

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears approx. 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 2nd class stamp. Offers of brief articles will be gratefully received.

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


Cantab 53 – Price 20 pence where sold
© Janet Moreton, 2009.

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