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CANTAB08 July 2001

CANTAB08 July 2001 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


In late May we wrote that walking opportunities were improving locally, with only about 15% of paths closed. On our return from holiday in Scotland at the end of June, the Internet told us that by ca. 1 July (days varying slightly from County to County), the whole of the public paths in East Anglia were open (Cambs, Beds, Essex, Herts, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bucks)… but still not a single path in Lincs is open.

We congratulate Cambridgeshire County Council staff on their reasonable attitude throughout the Foot & Mouth crisis.  We hope the epidemic nationally is genuinely nearly over, and, this being the case, trust that all paths will be open soon everywhere, and that rights of way officers will busy themselves with restoring path networks which, at best, have become overgrown, and at worst, have developed new obstructions in the intervening months.

Remember this –
Having endured a few weeks of restricted freedom, perhaps we will fight harder in future to retain what we take for granted.  After the Civil War, Parliament outlawed “vainly and profanely walking” on a Sunday.

Think on these things.

A few sites in Cambs still closed
Whilst Wimpole Hall and garden is now open, and the right of way along the drive (allowing walkers to go the full length of the Clopton Way), the Park and Home Farm are still closed.  The greater part of Fulbourn Nature Reserve (i.e. the grasslands) is still closed. Magog Trust land is largely available, except for the South field containing the sheep – the perimeter dog walk has been re-routed, to emerge onto the North field, above the old chalk pit.  Other reserves, and open spaces which are not public may still be unavailable.

Umbrellas for walking?
The very wet Winter seems to have given way to a not-very-dry Summer, so I continue to carry a fold-up umbrella in the rucksac, to be used instead of a hot waterproof in a sudden shower, or to supplement the raingear in a real downpour. I have found a good quality “gamp” worthwhile, as it has stood being turned inside out on many occasions.  Fulton’s “Stormshield” is advertised  as never blowing inside out, but I have not tried it!

The first umbrella, or parasol, would appear to have been carried ca. 2000 years ago by the Egyptians.  It was made of ostrich feathers and used as protection against the fierce desert sun.  The umbrella arrived on London’s streets in the middle of the eighteenth century, courtesy of a certain James Hanway.  Initially regarded as continental frippery, by the end of the eighteenth century, umbrellas were being widely used throughout England.  Early ones were made of heavy cloth supported by ribs of wood or metal, and weighed up to 4 kg.  Now it is possible to buy one as light as 158g – but a more robust one might be better for that country ramble…

Return to Kilnhill, Bassenthwaite, 8 -14 May 2002.
Those of us who were planning to visit the Lake District for a group walking holiday in May this year were deeply disappointed to have to cancel, because of Foot & Mouth restrictions.  However, we have kept in touch to Ken & Heather Armstrong at Kiln Hill Barn, and are glad to report that they have had no disease on their farm, but clearly have been affected by the severe outbreak in the neighbour-hood.  We made a brief visit to them in June, on the way to Scotland, and they were very pleased to see us.  We have made a provisional booking for ourselves for the week of 8 – 14 May (Wed – Wed) next year, and very much hope that we will have a party again.

If you had a booking this year with Ken & Heather, should you wish to go next year, it would be nice if you could give them a ring in the next month, and confirm these dates, which they are keeping open.  If you have not been before, and would like to join us, then do consider this pleasant break.  It would be good to fill the guest house up!

As on previous holidays, we shall aim to do about 9 – 12 miles a day, with a mountain climb if the weather makes this possible.  As previously, we may  or may not know the particular route, but we do have a good range of maps & guidebooks, and we have visited the Lake District many times in the last 40 years.  We do not deliberately aim for screes, or places with high exposure, but bear in mind that the terrain is, necessarily often rough & steep. The Lake District is just like that!  We will not do the same walks as previous years, but those who have come on all the holidays may find they are occasionally crossing the tracks of previous routes.

We will use OS Outdoor Leisure Series NE & NW Cumbria (yellow covers).  You might also like to have OS Landranger Sheet 98, West Cumbria., showing the guest house Grid Ref. 214 326 at the N end of Bassenthwaite Lake.  A metal walking pole (or two?) is highly recommended, and waterproof overtrousers are essential.

Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite is a good centre for the Northern Lakes.  In the house there are 5 double or twin rooms, and 2 singles.  In the annex there is one double and 1 twin, and there are two rooms in the barn.  Rates at 2000 were ca. £32 per night bb/em. Parking is in a clean, cobbled yard.  The accommodation is good quality, with some rooms en-suite, all with central heating, and tea-making facilities.There is a hall pay-phone & TV lounge.  The dining room is in the upper floor of the very fine barn… and the food is varied and very good.

Transport – By car, using M6 to Penrith, then A66 Keswick bypass and A591 to Kiln Hill Barn.  It is possible to arrive by public transport.

Interested?  Then please make your own booking: Ken & Heather Armstrong, Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4RG.  Tel. 017687 76454….  Please let me know you have done so!

The Hertfordshire Way
For those who have not walked this attractive route, information is now available on its own website:  There is an active Hertfordshire Way Association, a regular newsletter, and a useful guidebook, & walks programme.

3 Sept. 10 miles from Bramfield. 10am; grid ref 292156, near church. Bert Richardson, 01763 244509

8 Oct. 12.5miles Cuffley to Broxbourne. 9.30am. Lea Valley CP, GR371068. Peter & Sue Garside, 01992 467928

19 Nov. 10 miles from Royston, 10am followed by meal, Royston Golf course. Royston Golf Course CP. Bert Richardson, 01763 244509

The Fen Rivers Way
Due to the outbreak of Foot & Mouth, the Fen Rivers Way walks were never finished.  However, it is intended to organise Sections 5 and 6, (which were to have taken place on 24 Feb. & 3 March) on the first two Saturdays in November.  The Walks will be organised by the Fen Rivers Way Association, and will be held jointly with The Ramblers’ Association, Cambridge Group.

The Arrangements are as follows, with leaders Duncan, Roger, Janet & Bill.

Saturday 3 November 2001. FRW 5th SECTION.  Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Downham Market, or meet Downham Mkt Sta 10.03 am. Return from Watlington Station Station. Tel 01223 356889  8 miles  Check train times, which may change in the Autumn. Afterwards, come to the FRWA AGM at 2.30, at The Cock, Wiggenhall St Mary Magdalen.

Saturday 10 November 2001.  FRW 6th SECTION. Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Watlington, or meet Watlington Sta 10.09am.  Return from Kings Lynn Station. Afterwards, there will be an official opening of the route at Green Quay, to which all are welcome.  There will a tea for those who booked for the event last February. Tel 01223 356889  9 miles (14km) inc. historic centre. Check train times.

The Essex 100 mile Walk.
This event takes place in different parts of Essex every Summer, and is the brainchild of that grand old man of rambling, Fred Matthews..  This year, the route runs from Hatfield Broad Oak to Canewdon, in stages of 11 miles each, over 9 days, each day starting at 9.30am, at a car park, with a coach (£2.50 daily) to take walkers to the start.  All are welcome, using the following timetable:

28 July Harlow Town Car Park (CP) Grid ref. 451 108
29 July  Upshire Village Hall Grid ref. 415 010
30 July Stapleford Abbots Church  Grid ref. 501 961
31 July  Thorndale Country Park, CP Grid ref. 612 913
1 Aug   Great Bursted Church  Grid ref. 680 922
2 Aug South Hanningfield Fishermen’s CP  Grid ref. 737 974
3 Aug March Farm Country Park  Grid ref. 810 961
4 Aug Rochford Homebase CP, Purdey Grid ref. 886 898        [Ind. Est.
5 Aug Canewdon Village Hall  Grid ref. 902 945

There is a certificate for all finishers.

Walking in the Highlands…
We enjoyed 3 weeks in Scotland in June, and have been making a visit to different centres for several years, using addresses from the RA bed & breakfast guide.  The Highlands have barely heard of Foot & Mouth problems, although Dumfries & Galloway had a severe outbreak.

We stopped off at Dunkeld, (cathedral, Ossians Cave, ospreys, nature reserves, & waymarked walks) which we know & love from previously, and visited the new Beatrix Potter garden, and walked by the river, noting melancholy thistle, wood cranesbill, Jacobs Ladder, and other wild flowers we do not find at home.  Dunkeld is not far from Pitlochry, where there is an HF house, and both are good centres for hill walking.  Pitlochry has a theatre, shops and culture, but is much more touristy.  We have also stayed  in Aberfeldy, a charming unpretentious little town, with a two mile waterfall walk in the centre – delightful, but wear your midge repellant. Both Aberfeldy and coach-ridden Killin are good centres for the Lawers range of mountains, and the delightful walking from Glen Lyon, and have a range of accommodation and reasonable walking at lower levels. On all trips to Scotland, we try to be prepared for a proportion of wet days, and thus to cultivate an interest in castles, distilleries etc.

Arriving in reasonable time in Braemar, we took  a short walk round the Nature Reserve at Morrone birch woods, and reminded ourselves of the specialist Highland flora. Nearby, the Braemar Golf Course is said to be the highest in Britain, at over 1000 ft. We visited Braemar once before, some 10 years ago.  On that occasion, we climbed the obvious, easy peak Morrone (or Morven), which stands guard over the town.  Not far away, the car parks at Glenshee give access to the easiest Monros in the book, Cairnwell, and Carn Aosda, both achieved in about an hour and a half from the road.

But steady, you say, what are these Monros?  They are mountains in Scotland (named after Sir Hugh Monro, who first listed them) of over 3000 ft height and separated from other mountains by a drop of 500 ft.  As well as Monros, there are Corbetts, which are 2500 ft or more, again with a 500 ft drop between it and any higher hill. There are nearly 300 Monros, and about 220 Corbets, but the approved number changes from time to time, with revised Ordnance Surveys. When we first visited Scotland, we were irked by the lack of many rights of way.  There are some, generally through routes along the glens and over mountain passes, and nowadays  well waymarked by the Scottish Rights of Way Society.  But such routes are relatively few, and we wondered where to walk.  Then we came upon two books, published by the Scottish Mountaneering Club, The Monros, and The Corbetts.  Roughly speaking, each mountain has a page, and each page has a photograph, parking advice and route descriptions.  We were off!

On the present occasion from Glenshee, we climbed 2 easy Monros, Glas Maol (1068m), and Creag Leacach (987m), from the A93 at the Cairnwell pass.  This is a bit of a cheat, as the height of the road gives one a good start. Another of the Grampians, An Socach,  has two summits, 944m (the Monro), and 938m, at opposite ends of the ridge.  This was a delightful, elegant mountain, with a very relaxed, enjoyable ridge walk between, and very little bog, and making a walk of about 10 miles from the road.  Later in the week, in strong winds which we felt might stop us standing at 3000ft, we visited 2 Corbetts. We went towards Spittal of Glenshee, and up Ben Gulabin (806m). The wind howled on the top, and a hail shower followed us down, but it was invigorating. In the afternoon, we drove up a side glen, and climbed  Mount Blair from Cray. After the recent elections, this seemed appropriate, but we were saddened to find it disfigured on top by a new radio mast.

Braemar is known to walkers not only for access to the Grampians, but also as a back-door route to the Cairngorms.  We have stayed at Boat  of Garten on the other side of the Cairngorms on three occasions, and between the three weeks found weather opportunities to climb Cairngorm (no, not the chairlift); Ben Macdui (where we saw a snowy owl); Bynack Mor; Braeriach, the remote Monadh Mor, and The Angels Peak, as well as making inroads into the big Glen Feshie hills.  This time, we had hoped to get to know some of the easier approaches from the South.  We had one day of this only.  There was an early  ground frost in Braemar. We drove up to Linn of Dee, noting the last of the daffodils still in flower in the cottage gardens.  We parked, and walked up the rough track to Derry Lodge, and turned up Glen Derry, amidst ancient Caledonian pines and tall heather, to get onto the ridge, and climb Beinn Bhreac (931m), a rather small Monro, and returned much the same way.  As usual, we were following instructions in the SMC guidebook, but since it was written, there was a new 2m high deer fence across the visible path, with no gate or stile.  The fence sagged where others had climbed it, but we followed it along for 100m, where I found a gap underneath, where the ground dipped, & the fence did not, and rolled through.  We wove some pieces of heather in the top of the fence to mark the place, to find it on the return, but this was not so easy, even with binoculars!  The summit of our mountain gave wonderful views, but we soon turned cold.

Of the remaining 3 days in Braemar, on one day, the mist was down at 1000ft, but we enjoyed some 12 miles of pleasant local walks, using a leaflet from the tourist office.  In the heavy downpours of the succeeding day, we drove towards Aberdeen, and visited Crathes Castle (SNT), nr Banchory, (and walked its Nature trail in the wet), then visited another fortified pile, Drum, SNT (with an oystercatcher nesting on the ground at the base of the tower) near Peterculter.  The next day again started wet, so into the car for a trip to Frazer Castle, SNT, near Inveruie. When the sun came out, we consulted the map, and made for Bennachie Country Park.  This is like Wandlebury for Aberdeen folk, and was quite busy.  However, we went up a well-waymarked quaint pointed little mountain called Mither Tap (518m), surmounted by an old Pictish fort,

The following day, we drove to Spean Bridge, near Fort William, where we enjoyed a week of rather better weather, climbing more mountains. We have now topped 76 Monros, and about 20 Corbetts.  You do not have to be a rock-climber to try these mountains, or even a super-strong walker.  There are, no doubt, several that we will never attempt (like the Inaccessible Pinnacle on Skye), but there are many more that will give us happy days, a sense of achievement, enjoyment of splendid scenery, and a degree of isolation that we have not found anywhere else in the British Isles.


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

Short contributions are welcome.

Janet Moreton 01223 356889


Price 10 pence; no postal sales

© Janet Moreton, 14 July 2001

CANTAB07 May 2001

CANTAB07 May 2001 published on

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


Things are looking up on the paths of Cambridgeshire, and, indeed in several other places in Britain.

We in Cambridgeshire are fortunate to have no outbreaks of Foot & Mouth, and to have a sane and reasonable County Council, which, from the onset, has made numbers of paths available.  Gradually more paths are being opened, and hopefully we can look forward to a Summer of fairly normal country walking.

This edition is almost all about Foot & Mouth and access to paths, both in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere in the country. The aim is to give ideas on where to walk, where to find more information, and where to expect restrictions.

Please find several quotes from “Ramblers-Net” on the Internet, which has enabled us to keep up-to-date with what is going on all over the country, and to keep in touch with other footpath workers.

Where to walk in Cambridgeshire
When planning a walk, the first action to take is to find out which paths are still closed, and which have been recently re-opened. For the official list of closed paths, consult the County Council website:

There is a long list of path numbers, each with grid reference, and brief description of location, arranged by District. There is also a list of recently re-opened paths:

Both of these lists are updated every few days. For those who prefer to telephone, CCC’s helpline is on 01223 718622.  Unfortunately, some few paths that have been opened, are now closed, as cattle or sheep have been turned out to pasture.  Such a case is at Quy Fen which was available for a short time, but is now closed again.

The humorous side –
Michael Bird, of City of Birmingham RA Group, e-mailed on 7 May, “After nearly 3 months of exploring the rural delights of Birmingham and the Black Country, yesterday, we came across our first STILE!.   ‘They won’t catch on’ prophesised our Social Secretary, as he struggled with his third attempt to get his leg over the top rail“…

The problem of the “Please do not use this path” notice…
There are still considerable numbers of paths in Cambs. with signs, “Foot & Mouth precautions – please do not use this path”, or similar words, often with a CCC/NFU logo.

Cambridgeshire County Council had put out a specimen notice on its web-site, which farmers could download, but this is now withdrawn, and these notices should be removed.

Kate Day, the County’s Countryside Access Team Leader wrote on 8 May,
“We have asked the NFU to contact all their members with a view to getting the voluntary restraint signs removed.
We have written to all Parish Councils asking them to remove signs that they may have erected.
We are reopening paths following a risk assessment.
We are publicising the Countryside Agency/Maff’s Code of Conduct for path users.
We have recently secured more resources for updating, improving and managing the website.
We will continue to issue weekly Press releases on opportunities for enjoying the countryside”.

Kate Day also wrote on 3 May, in reply to our query, “unless a path is officially closed, it is available for use“.

Public Parks and Nature Reserves now open (as at 14 May 2001)
Within Cambridge, there is no restriction on the Commons, along the Backs and riverside.  The towpath down river to Waterbeach is no longer closed. Coe Fen, “Paradise” (the damp area behind Owlstone Croft in Newnham) is available, and the roadworks on the adjacent Fen Causeway are now finished.  Cherry Hinton Park is open, as is the nearby Cherry Hinton Chalkpits Reserve, and Limekiln Hill Reserve.  Carry on up the road to the Beechwoods Reserve, and the white heleborine will soon be in flower. Milton Country Park reopened in April.

Further afield, Huntingdon Riverside tarmac path is available, and Portholme Meadow, Godmanchester is open at present, as are Hinchingbrooke Country Park and Paxton Pits reserve near St Neots.  (However, do not continue along the Ouse Valley Way towards Buckden, as there are some cows reported somewhere in the meadows. )

Wicken Fen (boardwalk) is open, as are some of the surrounding paths in the parish, but there are several closures nearby. Welney Wildfowl Trust Reserve reopened mid-April.

For bluebell spotting, try the re-opened Waresley & Gransden Woods; Hayley Wood (very wet); Overhall Grove (Knapwell); and Brampton Wood.

Other nature reserves now available include: Ramsey Heights; Gamlingay Cinques, meadows and wood; Fordham Woods (behind the church in the middle of the village); and Barrington riverside reserve.

This list is not exhaustive: for more information, consult:

If you fancy a drive into Bedfordshire, Priory Park is now open, and Stockgrove Country Park, as are Coopers Hill Nature Reserve, and Blows Downs. Some (labelled) paths are available elsewhere in the Beds. countryside.

Getting out of the County?
The best local county to chose is Suffolk, which in theory opened all paths in early April, except where animals are grazing.

So far, we have enjoyed an excellent 12 mile walk in a large section of Thetford Forest, centered on Brandon Country Park. We were delighted to join Margaret Rishbeth, and a group of 20 Cambridge Rambling Club members on a similar Wednesday walk, which made a strategic detour into Brandon itself for the pub!  West Stow Country Park remains closed, but the nearby Ramparts Field is open, and in early May had a lovely display of meadow saxifrage.  From here, it is possible to walk the byway section “Icknield Way” north through the forest.  At first, one may not turn off left or right, but after a couple of miles, one enters an area of open access, up to the Monument.  Thus it is possible to do a “P” shaped walk of up to 10 miles.

We were also delighted to find open Bradfield Woods Nature Reserve, where the wildflowers are delightful. (We were invited in by the warden, but subsequently found Suffolk Wildlife Trust website reported this as closed on 8 April, – the web-site was presumably inaccurate.).  For a more formal walk, try Nowton Country Park on the outskirts of  Bury St Edmunds.  From here we did a day’s walk on mostly footpaths and green spaces into Bury St Edmunds, visiting  Abbey Gardens, and admiring the splendid new tower, the Abbey’s Millennium Project.

One can now walk the section of Devils Dyke in Suffolk, adjacent to the racecourse ... but  part of the section in Cambridgeshire towards Reach is still closed.  However, one can now turn the other way on the Dyke towards Stetchworth in Cambridgeshire.

Note there are still many discouraging notices present on paths in Suffolk.  We consulted John Andrews, the RA Area Officer, who replied (24 April): Nobody in County Hall has a record of what paths are closed and there are – in addition – substantial numbers of notices which have been handed out and scattered around by parish councils – with entirely predictable results.  RoW staff are making a valiant attempt to sort the chaos, but that’s a huge task now.”  Rosamund Tyrrell, visiting Suffolk in mid-April obtained info from the County Council that the only “official” closure notice was a “traffic sign no-entry symbol with “April 2001“.

However –
Avoid Essex would seem good advice, with most paths still closed, although it is several weeks since the last case of infection.

Hertfordshire has been slow in re-opening its paths, considering there is no F & M disease in the county.  Use for path number data on some RoW which have re-opened. Royston’s Therfield Heath is now open (but not the Nature Reserve).

Pity walkers in Lincolnshire, where, in spite of a total absence of disease in this largely arable county,  by mid-May still had not a single path open.

Owen Plunkett e-mailed on 7 May, “There are still very few paths open in Hampshire and West Sussex, although there have been no cases in either county.” On the other hand, the Editor has just enjoyed a very pleasant week in the Isle of Wight, where 70% of paths are available. It is possible to download 12 maps of paths in use from the website:  etc.

David Pawley reported by e-mail on 14 May some excellent news for walkers in Cornwall, “According to the Western Morning newspaper of 14 May, Cornwall County Council…… are lifting restrictions on 1800 miles of paths (including 250 miles of coastal paths) to the S & W of a line from Padstow to Plymouth from 25 May.  Landowners concerned about pathways next to livestock can appeal, but the Council only envisages a handful of short sections remaining closed...”

Mike Heckford stated on 6 May that “The majority of footpaths in Dorset remain closed – whilst there have been no outbreaks of F & M in Dorset, there have been outbreaks in the adjoining counties…”  From Kent, Mike Temple wrote, “At a meeting of the County Council cabinet today (9 May) it was decided to re-open RoW in Kent from 0600 Saturday 12 May, subject to the following restrictions:

-all paths N of the M2 to remain closed (further cull of 2000 sheep in Sheppey last weekend)
-all paths to remain closed in an infected area
-all paths to remain closed within 3km of an infected area, and -all paths to remain closed where they are grazed…”

We grieve for Cumbria.  Will the Lakes ever again be populated by the Herdwicks? On 9 May, Peter Jones wrote that the earliest estimate for some reopening of the high fell was July. Nevertheless, the Lake District is opening what it can,, and would love to see anyone who would visit (but  disinfect your boots, wash your socks & and use a car-wash before returning to Cambs!).

To end this section on an upbeat, we learnt from Ron Moore on 16 May that Wilts CC had just decided to open all paths, except those that go through farmyards or those that are used for moving livestock.  Closed paths will be marked.

Back in Cambridgshire
We have received several enquiries, as to where we have made or plan our private walks, recently.  Here are some ideas.  The paths were open and available when we made the walks, but it is advisable to check that the situation has not changed.

Fulbourn Area:  The Nature Reserve remains closed, but the local paths are open and attractive. Extend the walk along Fleam Dyke, use the footbridge over the A11, and continue along the Dyke, to use “Fox Road”, the byway into Balsham.  Return along the Roman Road, and turn right along the footpath or byway back to Fulbourn. (12 – 16 miles, depending on route through Balsham)  Alternatively, for an 8 mile circuit, after using the A11 footbridge, take the path alongside the A11 for a short way, pick up the old roadway to the chalkpit, turn left, and use the roadbridge over the A11.  A good verge takes you to Gt. Wilbraham, and thence on paths back to Fulbourn. Or just visit Great & Little Wilbraham from Fulbourn .

Hatley Area:  Some paths are closed S of the road, but all but 2 of the paths N of the road through Hatley St. George are open, so it is possible to use the bridleways to visit Hayley Wood (good flowers, but v. wet) and back.  Alternatively, from East Hatley, take a path to Old Harts Farm ruin, and thence to the Clopton Way.  This is open all the way to Arrington.  One can visit the Queen Adelaide in Croydon, and turn back on paths from the church to Hatley. Note, however, that all Croydon paths have the “please do not use” non-statutory notices, that CCC is trying to get parish councils to remove.

Grafham Water:  We walked all round the cycleway, and turned off to visit the Nature Reserves, and display areas, which were also open. (ca. 10 miles)  Note parking in the main car-parks is now £3

Steeple Morden & Guilden Morden, Litlington, Abington Pigotts:  CCC’s website shows relatively few path closures in this area.  Several paths near Morden Hall are closed to protect the ? alpaccas, but otherwise there is considerable scope.  We plan a walk for the Cambridge Rambling Club at the end of May, which will take in the flower meadow behind Steeple Morden rec, Ashwell Street, paths by the chalk pit,, and Litlington (PH) .  Two paths are closed in the middle of the village, going through pasture fields, but on footpaths across arable to Cheyney Water and Bogs Gap Lane the only impediment is oilseed.  Many other walks are possible round here, including from the Little Chef on the outskirts of Royston, over the railway line, to take the long diagonal path across the fields to Litlington.  Most paths in Abington Pigotts are also available, but in late April, there was still flooding on the path near Bible Grove.

Chrishill and Heydon:  Take care here not to venture inadvertently into Essex, but it is possible to do a pleasant hilly (!) circuit from Chishill down by New Buildings Farm onto a section of the Icknield Way track, which can be followed until the Icknield Way LDP turns right uphill into Heydon, and thence back to Chishill.

Ickleton & Duxford:  Several paths have recently been re-opened here, making a fairly sedate circuit possible. Remember that the nearby village of Great Chesterford is in Essex, and will have path closures.

Stetchworth, Woodditton, Dullingham:  We have recently enjoyed 2 very good walks in this area where marking of re-opened paths is particularly clear. Starting from Stetchworth and circling round from Devil’s Dyke, if you take the bridleway from Court Barns, it is necessary to avoid the route through Camois Hall, by emerging on a path by The Three Blackbirds PH, or continuing N towards Woodditton Church.

Another route followed the Dyke from Stetchworth to Ditton Green, then Ditton Park Wood (no closure notices), and paths skirting Lucy Wood, before choosing the long bridleway back to Ditton Green, where remark the new Millennium orrery and weathervane.

Other possibilities include (i) Whaddon – Orwell – Meldreth; (ii) Haslingfield – Harston – Barrington – Haslingfield (beware road); (iii) St Ives – Houghton – The Hemingfords.  Many other walks are, of course, possible.  These are just some ideas in response to friends’ requests.

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

Short contributions are welcome.

Janet Moreton 01223 356889


Price 10 pence; no postal sales

© Janet Moreton, 16 May 2001

CANTAB06 April 2001

CANTAB06 April 2001 published on


These are bad times for walkers, as well as for stock farmers, inns, guest houses & tourist attractions.  However, there has been some relaxation of restrictions in recent days, following Government instructions to Counties unaffected by Foot & Mouth to open more paths.

Cambs. C.C has been, from the onset, one of the more liberal counties, with only 15% of its paths officially closed, these being on land near stock farms, or woodland.  However, there have been a far larger number of paths with signs, “Foot & Mouth precautions – please do not use this path”, or words to this effect. CCC had put out a draft notice on its web-site, but this is now withdrawn, and the implication is that these notices should come down.  Suffolk, where initially all but town & tarmac paths were closed, has now opened its paths, except on stock farms etc…but we can report that large numbers of prohibitory notices remain on paths across ploughed fields, wheat crops etc. Essex had some 10 cases of Foot & Mouth (at the beginning of the outbreak, weeks ago, then no more), and its paths remain closed. Herts has no cases of Foot & Mouth, but, at the time of writing (9 April), we learn that paths in the County remain closed, although it is surmised that Therfield Heath (available to golfers, but not walkers!) will be available shortly.

You will know that the Ramblers’ Association Cambs. Area Chairman cancelled all organised RA walks in Cambridgeshire.

Cambridge Rambling Club, on the other hand, is putting on a skeleton walks programme, led by those members who are willing, and who have checked out routes that are feasible.  David Allard, for Royston RA has organised an emergency walks programme for his members taking them into other counties.

To find out which paths in Cambridgeshire are affected by the emergency legislation, use the Internet to obtain a 9 page list of these official closures.  All are marked at the start of the path with an official notice, sometimes with red printing at the top.

Unfortunately, there are at least twice as many additional paths, marked with requests not to use. In cases where paths pass through paddocks used by horses, which can carry the disease, although they do not contract it, we can sympathise.  But then there are also those farmers who have used the notices on paths across arable fields…

Woods and some reserves have been closed, on the grounds that it is just possible that wild deer could catch the disease… but some are now reopening.

Sadly, it has been necessary to cancel the Group’s May walking holiday in Cumbria.  Our thoughts go out to Heather & Ken Armstrong. Hopefully, it will be possible to make arrangements another time. We have seen very few of our friends while there are no organised walks, but send our good wishes.  This edition is designed to let you know what opportunities exist in and around Cambridge.

The University Botanic Garden
This is accessible from Bateman Street (main entrance), and from Station Road (entrance not always open).  Sadly, it is only free from 10am until 12 noon on a Wednesday. A charge is made at other times.

How to find out which paths in Cambridgeshire are officially closed
Use the Internet to contact Cambs.C.C.,
Then click foot & mouth epidemic

It is important to note that this list does not include those paths, woods and parks marked, “please do not enter…” or similar phrase.

The Cambridgeshire Scare…
In March, some sheep were reported slaughtered in Needingworth, having been in contact with a market in the Midlands.  This was a precautionary measure only.

Public Parks and open spaces available for use
Within Cambridge, there seems to be no restriction on the Commons, and along the Backs and riverside. Coe Fen is still very damp, and the noise & disturbance from the Fen Causeway road bridges repair is noticeable.  Cherry Hinton Park is open, as is the nearby Chalkpits Reserve.  In Newnham Village (within the City boundary), one can use “Paradise” the rough wooded area behind Owlstone Croft, although wellies are needed!

The Roman Road is open, & the Beechwoods Reserve was reopened in early April (but the Warden has lost the key to the padlock, so users need to climb the gate!). Milton Country Park reopened in April.

Further afield, Huntingdon Riverside tarmac path is available, as is Hinchingbrooke Country Park…(muddy, but wonderful to get away from the tarmac).  Quite an extensive, and very enjoyable walk and birdwatching etc may be had around Paxton Pits.  However, do not continue along the Ouse Valley Way towards Buckden, as there are some cows reported somewhere in the meadows.

Nene Park/Ferry Meadows, Peterborough are reported open – info. not yet checked.

Getting Away to the coast?
We had a successful weekday out in Hunstanton, (65 mile drive?) with free Winter parking.  It was possible to walk on the grassy cliff top in the town, and for miles on the beach on firm sand.  We did see numbers of other booted ramblers with rucksacs.. At the weekend, the beach might be quite crowded.

Wells-next-the-Sea has a huge beach, where we walked 5 miles each way, but beware places like Holkham, where a path to the beach is closed, thus cutting off access. Norfolk is now opening up some paths, including the old railway section of The Weavers Way.

Having lost a holiday in Somerset, we felt desperate to get well away, and drove further one day to Chapel St Leonards, in Lincolnshire, where we really enjoyed a 10 mile walk on a marvellous quiet sandy beach, backed by dunes.  But it was a 200 mile round trip in the car.  Also bear in mind that in  Lincolnshire, all rural paths are closed, so the beach will only give an out-and-back walk.

In Early April, Suffolk opened many of its paths. So far, we have enjoyed an excellent 12 mile walk in a large section of Thetford Forest, centered on Brandon Country Park.  We were also delighted to find open Bradfield Woods Nature Reserve, where there are sheets of wood anemones, and oxlips & bluebells just coming out. (Suffolk Wildlife Trust website reported this as closed on 8 April, but was not up-to-date!).  For a more formal walk, try Nowton Country Park on the outskirts of  Bury St Edmunds, and admire the fine parkland trees, and thousands of daffodils.  We tried the Three Churches Walk from Gazeley, but were foiled, as, although some paths were open, part of the Icknield Way path through the woods near Dalham Church was closed, as was the path East from Moulton Church. One can now walk the section of Devils Dyke in Suffolk, adjacent to the racecourse ... but the sections either side in Cambridgeshire remain unavailable.

What precautions can we all take?
At present, every time we take a walk outside the town, we clean our boots, disinfect them, and, of course, put the socks in the wash…..

Walking in South Cambridgeshire
The temporary path closures make it difficult to avoid walking all or part of a circuit along roads, many of which have no footway.

Don’t be counted amongst the current livestock slaughter on one of our A-roads..

The tarmac path from Cambridge to Grantchester is still in very frequent use (beware bicycles!), as are other paths in Grantchester, and, reportedly, some in Haslingfield.  (However, Byrons Pool site is closed).  The Coton Footpath was closed, but has now re-opened.

Some paths in Orwell (e.g. in the chalkpit, and from the A603 up onto the Mare Way) are available.  One may use the two bridleways down to Little Eversden, (but NOT the Wimpole Road path down to Great Eversden, as there is a pig farm at the bottom).  The charming inner-village paths between the Eversdens are in frequent use, and The Hoops welcomes walkers.


Barrington bristles with notices (official & unofficial) against path use.

Thriplow has sheep-pastures in the middle of the village, so has closed its paths, and will not be holding its daffodil festival this year.
CCC’s website shows all Hatley’s paths as unavailable…Why?

However –
On the other side of Cambridge, there are several paths open in Fulbourn (although the Wildlife Trust Reserve is closed).  One can use Hindloaders and Stonebridge Lanes (both byways), and there seems no objection to walking on Fleam Dyke, where we met a cheerful party of volunteers doing scrub clearance.  It is possible to use paths across the fields to Great Wilbraham, and thence to continue one’s walk along Street Way.

Churches & recreation grounds?
We never thought that we would be reduced to walking around recreation grounds, but there are some very attractive ones, and in any case they are a good place to find seats for a tea break.  Churches & churchyards are an interesting study.  We would particularly recommend the large rec. running down to the river at Great Shelford (with free parking, opposite Sticks & Scones café), and the attractive churchyard nearby.  Continue along the road, over the lovely bridges to the Churchyard at Little Shelford, and just round the corner is “The Wale”, a huge, tree-fringed rec., also with a charming waterfront….

Continue along the road to Whittlesford (where, sadly, The Moor footpath is closed), but find another huge rec., and beyond, a wonderful old church.

Sawston’s back-alley paths can be a study in themselves, but it is back to the tarmac.  Don’t get lost!

Other Towns and Cities…
Godmanchester and Huntingdon both have “town trails”, with leaflets available from the tourist office.  Both towns have some available green-space to relieve the tarmac monotony, but Portholme is closed.

Before the crisis, we enjoyed a splendid day out in St Albans, with much green open space around the cathedral, and adjacent to the river and Roman remains.

There is free parking near the swimming bath/leisure centre.

We had an enjoyable day out in Norwich, where the riverside walk is available, and the Cathedral precinct must be the largest in the country.  We also discovered a delightful huge wooded cemetery on the hill overlooking the river, where squirrels leapt from branch to branch.  We found some free parking on a Sunday, but on a weekday, it would be better to use the train, or “park & ride”.

On another occasion, we visited Wymondham, clutching a very informative town trail leaflet, and spent a pleasant morning amidst the unspoilt old buildings, and in the magnificent church.  And, yes, we were able to do a section of riverside walk, before being pulled up by a prohibitory notice.

On the same day, we stopped at Thetford town on the way back, to explore the castle mound, the watery area around Nun’s Bridges, and the lawns surrounding the Priory ruins.  Again, one can walk a long way along the riverside, before meeting the dreaded white notice…

In conclusion…
These are just a few ideas which might help you have outdoor rambling of sorts. Be prepared to have to do an out-and-back.  Be prepared to be frustrated by reasonable or unreasonable restrictions.  We find it is fairly easy to compose a short walk, but most long ones have much road.  We have tried moving the car, and having two short walks.  We fear that path closures may persist for many months, but hope desperately that circumstances will prove us wrong.

Janet Moreton

Stop Press:
Although Wimpole remains closed, The National Trust has re-opened Anglesey Abbey (house & gardens), and we found many of the paths in Lode open.  Avoid Allicky Farm.  We also discovered that Wicken Fen has re-opened, but found it was so wet that even parts of the boardwalk were under water. Some footpaths are open around Wicken, but not all.

Nene Park, Peterborough –  a telephone enquiry produced the info. that the area around the lake is open, but not the whole site.

Welney RSPB Reserve is reported to be reopening on 17 April.

Oxburgh Hall, NT, Norfolk (house, gardens, but not park) is now open.

Marriots Way, Norfolk is now open.

From the Ramblers’ Net website, 28 March “Footpaths are being reopened across the country, inc. 278 in Wiltshire. 90% of paths in S. Tyneside and some in Somerset have remained open....”

CANTAB05 January 2001

CANTAB05 January 2001 published on


Cantab Rambler is still around to wish you all “Happy New Year”, and “Good Walking for 2001”.  This is our 5th issue, and we hope to produce items of interest to help steer you through the dark damp months, and point ideas for new expeditions in the Spring.

This is a privately produced news-sheet for our rambling friends, with an emphasis on the walking scene in Cambridgeshire and adjacent counties.  We aim to give away copies, but if you would like to have regular issues, a donation of 10p per copy would cover our costs!
Janet & Roger Moreton
(01223 356889)

Local Literature
“Wild Essex” is a guide to the nature reserves and country parks of Essex and East London.
Edited by Tony Gunton, and published by The Essex Wildlife Trust (Lopinga Books) in November 2000, it is available from Tye Green House, Wimbish, Saffron Walden, Essex, CB10 2XE;, at £12.75, softback (250pp, ISBN 0-9530362-2-7)

This is a very well-produced, lavishly illustrated informative guide, with a section on each of Essex’s reserves. Sadly, a majority of these are situated at some distance from the Cambridgeshire border, there being naturally a higher density of the sites on the coast, and in Epping Forest, for example.  However, we discovered several sites (especially oxlip woods) previously unknown to us near Saffron Walden, and further south in the Stort Valley.

Each site has a separate page with details of grid reference, parking, site plan, and visiting details.  Note that not all the sites are available to all, or at all times.  Reserve specialities (flowers, trees, birds, butterflies, fungi etc are highlighted).

Janet Moreton

Do you visit Wandlebury Often?
If you visit the Country Park by car more than 15 times a year, you might like to consider becoming a member of the Cambridge Preservation Society. For one person, the subscription is £15; for a family, it is £25.  Members also receive the Bulletin of the Society, and have free entrance to other properties as well as Wandlebury (Hinxton Mill, Bourn Mill, The Leper Chapel, etc) at times of public opening.  Functions and talks are arranged.  For more information, contact: Cambridge Preservation Society, Wandlebury Ring, Babraham, Cambridge, CB24AE.

This Month….
We are starting the Fen Rivers Way… Join us on 6 January at Cambridge Station, 10 a.m.

Thriplow has a new path…
On 20 April 2000, Cambs. C.C. confirmed the creation of Footpath 7.  This was too late for the path to be included on the new Explorer maps, so very few people will know of its availability.  The path starts from Footpath 4 at TL 4523 4693, and runs S on a 3m wide hardcore track, overlaid with mud, with earth bank, ditch & trees to right, and at first an arable field, later bushes &  fishing pits to left.  There is a shed to left, associated with the fishing.  Beyond, the path enters a poplar plantation at TL 4527 4672,  turning left (E) inside the wood for 80m, then right (S) along the E edge of the wood.  It emerges onto a 1m wide grass  field-edge at TL 4539 4653, which it follows WSW, turning SSE after 70m, with wood to right and open arable to left,  to TL 4540 4628.  Here, the path enters another short wooded section, passing under power lines and at TL 4531 4625, emerges on a 2.5m wide concrete road leading N to a sewage works.  Footpath 7 turns left (SSE) along the road, to meet Kingsway residential road, in Heathfields Housing Estate, Duxford, at TL 4537 4614, adjacent to an electricity substation on right.  When last inspected, there were no signposts or waymarks…. It is quite an attractive route, when conditions have dried out somewhat.

The Quotation
“Happiness is a ball after which we run wherever it rolls, and we push it with our feet when it stops”


Watery Walks Circuits

The Ouse Valley Way – an assessment.
The Ouse Valley Way is a 26 mile route promoted by Huntingdonshire District Council, following the bank of the Great Ouse from Eaton Socon to Earith, passing through St Neots, Little Paxton, The Offords, Godmanchester, Houghton, St Ives, Holywell, and presently terminating at either Bluntisham, or Hermitage Lock, near Earith.

Over the years, details of the route have been published in several series of leaflets, but the ones we have consist of 7 leaflets in a folder – Ouse Valley Way, in the “Discover Huntingdonshire Cromwell Country” series. These may be obtained from the Tourist Information Centre, Huntingdon Library, Princes Street, Huntingdon, Cambs. Tel. 01480 375800.

The strip-maps provided are excellent, with clear line drawings, and just the correct amount of detail.  Notes give directions, as well as points of nature and historical interest along the route.  There are cross references to OS sheets (now use Explorer 225) to place the route in the surrounding countryside. Some car parks are marked on the maps. It is possible, though difficult, to achieve the walk in sections using public transport.  Places of refreshment are noted, although here, as on other routes, one should be aware of the decline in rural inns.

On the ground, waymarking is generally adequate, although it was first set up many years ago, and individual markers have become damaged or have disappeared in places.  Through Little Paxton Pits Nature Reserve, there is a section with almost too many waymarking posts, whereas on the long stretch approaching Brownshill Staunch there are very few, disconcerting in view of the changes occurring along the nearby banks.

All the leaftlets give timely warnings against attempting the route when the river is in flood. Indeed, during the last months of 2000, several parts of the route, e.g. near St Neots, and Godmanchester were underwater.  Most of the path runs close to the Great Ouse, or in its floodplain. A new footpath was negotiated through Buckden Marina in the early 1990s, effecting a considerable improvement for walkers. However, it is a pity that the fine riverside path along the north bank of the main river through Hartford  has no continuation, other than the main road. Instead here is a rather contrived (but attractive) set of paths from Godmanchester passing between the flooded old quarry lakes, to join the South bank of the river opposite Hartford Marina.  Through Houghton, the promoted route goes along Thicket Road, although it is now possible to make a very pleasant detour around Houghton Meadow.

Crossing the St Ives bypass on a busy Saturday morning needs care & agility, and the continuing route down inappropriately named “Meadow Lane” was, until recently a black spot of the trail, being a tarmac road shared with heavy lorries.  In recent months, this section has been much improved by creating some new sections of path safely behind the enclosing hedges. Approaching Holywell, the path crosses several low-lying fields, prone to flooding, then continues along a raised floodbank, out of sight of the river, between The Ferry Boat Inn, and The Pike & Eel, where, alas, the ferries no longer cross the river.

Near Brownshill Staunch, the landscape is disfigured by recent gravel workings, and especially by an ugly conveyor belt that crosses the river near to the staunch itself.  However, bear in mind that many of the attractive pits and nature reserves passed along the route were themselves derived from worked-out gravel pits, and plans are already afoot to make a new Nature Reserve with public access available on the south side of the river between Overcote and Earith in the 2020s. One branch path leaves Brownshill Staunch across fields to Bluntisham.  But the more logical continuation follows the raised south bank of the river to Hermitage Lock, near Earith. Here the Great Ouse passes into South Cambridgeshire, and thus beyond the sphere of interest of Huntingdonshire District Council.

Earith – and then?
Walkers who appreciate the open Fenland landscapes enjoy pursuing rivers, irrespective of man-made boundaries, and seek to follow the Great Ouse (here often called the “Old West”) along its flood-banks skirting Willingham and Cottenham to the south, and Haddenham to the North, eventually meeting the main river near Stretham, thus joining the route of the Fen Rivers Way.

Such ramblers, at present, have a thin time.  It is possible to pass through the Marina on the north bank at Earith, to continue over difficult stiles to Aldreth, and thence along the south bank to join the main river near Little Thetford.  Stiles in Haddenham parish have recently been somewhat improved,  but problems of poor path maintenance and overgrowth make this section a commando exercise west of the A10.

From Earith, the only available route South of the river towards Willingham runs on the A1050, a hazardous road without a footway, and not to be considered by walkers under any circumstances.  Legal documents known as “Modification Orders” are presently being enacted by Cambridgeshire County Council to create a bridleway running parallel to and about 400m south of the A1050, as far as Bridge Farm.  Opposite the farm, a dead-end footpath, No.2 in Willingham runs towards the river.  Another path creation here, and over Flat Bridge (which has a history of former public use), would give satisfactory riverside access joining existing paths on the south side of the river, through Cottenham parish, over the A10, and thence to Stretham.

We believe that the County Council needs an impetus to push through these improvements. The missing-link is at present being called the “Fen Rivers Way Extension”, as it is being promoted by the Fen Rivers Way Association. Had riversides been included in the Countryside & Rights of Way Act, then we might have obtained these paths without a struggle.  As it is, we need to make known to the County Council the demand for improved access to The Great Ouse – the dominant feature of the fenland environment.      JM

Village of the Month – Grantchester
Explorer Sheet – 209, Cambridge. Pathfinder – 1004, Cambridge & Balsham

This is the time to take a new look at Grantchester, where you may walk with dry feet on several paths, and which you can visit in Winter without being jostled by too many tourists.  The “Orchard” tea-garden  AND indoor tearoom are open all year, as, of course, are the 4 pubs.

The village is thought to have originated as one of a pair of Iron Age settlements on either side of a fording place, served by an east-west trackway.  Later settlement occurred in the  Roman period, and a probable Roman Road from Sandy via Gamlingay, Bourn, Toft and Barton crossed the Cam at Grantchester, then ran past Addenbrokes’ and along Worts Causeway.*  As well as the much-photographed thatched and limewashed cottages, there is the parish church (with its 800 year-old font); the restored seventeenth century millhouse; and the famous Old Vicarage.  The village has literary associations with Chaucer, Tennyson, Rupert Brook, and of course, Jeffrey Archer.  Rupert Brook lived in the Old Vicarage  from 1911 to 1914, but actually wrote the celebrated poem, ” The Old Vicarage, Grantchester” in Berlin in 1912.  The “..thrilling, sweet and rotten, Unforgettable, unforgotten river-smell..” has now thankfully been dispersed these several years by mains drainage in the village, but the aura of Rupert Brook lingers for the visitors, especially in the pub renamed after the poet, and in The Orchard tearoom.

All the village paths are admirably signed, and many are negotiable in ordinary leather boots save in exceptional flood conditions.   There are no fewer than three ways of joining the tarmac path from Grantchester to Cambridge.  A direct route leaves the village at Balls Grove on a tarmac passage, between garden boundaries.

Alternatively take the lane between The Green Man and Red Lion pubs, to join the tarmac path.

*F.Walker, “Roman Roads into Cambridge” Proc. Camb. Antiquarian Soc. XVI

A third route (damp in Winter) leaves Broadway beyond the last cottage, to cross the grass field diagonally, and join the tarmac path at a kissing-gate.  Within the village, admire the sculptures (shepherd & sheep) visible in the garden of Jeffrey Archer’s residence, then take the public path between walls to the millpond.  This gravelled path was underwater in October 2000, but is passable dryshod at most times.  Out of the village, on the Trumpington Road, the dead-end path to Byrons Pool is not recommended in Winter, being notoriously muddy and slippery. However, there is a car-park here.

Three rights of way leave the village SW of the roads.  Opposite The Old Vicarage, a signed path leads off Millway onto a concrete farm road between open fields.  These same fields can be accessed from Coton Road, either via Burnt Close, or further along, from the residential road called “Bridle Way”.  All these lead into open arable land, where dry walking can be had on firm tracks.  One footpath leads over an elegant footbridge across the M11 towards Haslingfield, and a bridleway across another bridge over the M11 to Roman Hill.  But as well as the rights of way, be aware that several permissive routes are available on tracks alongside the M11, and, on the other side of the Bourn Brook, beside the brook towards Barton (phone for permission to continue on the final section**), and in a circuit round by the radio-telescope boundary.

On all these routes, one is constantly aware of the traffic noise from the M11, but nevertheless this is a pleasant open area in easy access of Cambridge, and worthy of a Winter ramble.

**A path runs from the bridge at TL 423 549, along the Bourn Brook as far as TL 412 546, where there is a  Countryside Commission notice & map, and also a separate sign, “This land belongs to the Countryside Restoration Trust.  Please telephone 01223 843322 for access permission“.

©2001 R.B. & J.Moreton

CANTAB04 December 2000

CANTAB04 December 2000 published on


This is a privately produced news-sheet for our rambling friends. The last two issues have appeared with a two-month gap, but we can’t guarantee regular production dates! Reception of the first three issues has seemed favourable, so “on with the motley”.  We aim to give away copies, but if you would like to have regular issues, a donation of 10p per copy would cover our costs!

Janet & Roger Moreton
(01223 356889)

Parish of the Month – Soham
On 29 September, we were invited by the Town Council to attend the official opening of Soham Millennium Walks.  These are a set of three walks, of length 1¾, 3½ and 7 miles, all starting from St. Andrews Church.  The colour-coded routes are amply signposted and waymarked, and new seats & picnic tables have been provided around the circuits.  The opening ceremony, attended by about 70 people, was preceeded by popular led walks on all three routes.  A permanent information board with a map giving details of the routes has been erected in the free town car-park near the church, and free leaflets are available.  These walks have been made possible by the work of the Soham Footpaths Preservation Society (Chairman Chris Turnbull) in recent years, in installing bridges, stiles and waymarks on many of their footpaths, bridleways and byways.  Soham parish is enormous, and has well over 100 paths, and an  interesting history.  Soham has more common land than any other town in the county.  Do visit it, and enjoy the Millennium walks!


More Watery Ways…

The Hereward Way
Continuing our theme of “Watery Ways”, The Hereward Way is a route following a number of Cambridgeshire’s watercourses, running across the fens from Oakham to Knettishall Heath, and passing through  Stamford, Wansford, Peterborough, Whittlesea, March, Christchurch, Welney, Little Downham to Ely.  From Ely it runs via Prickwillow to enter Thetford Forest near Lakenheath, and continue to Brandon.  The earliest version of the route finished at the railway station at Harling Road, but the route now meets the confluence of many paths in Knettishall Heath Country Park, Suffolk.  Thus the path keeps company in turn with Rutland Water and The River Welland, and follows The River Nene for many miles, from Wansford, through Peterborough to the “Dog in a Doublet” pub near Whittlesea.  Here the route turns south, then east again to introduce itself briefly to the Briggate River, and the Twenty Foot River near Turves.  The route returns to the bank of its old friend, the River Nene, to pass through March, but lights out across the fens to come to the delightful village of Christchurch.  Near Tipp’s End, there are no rights of way beside Old Croft River, so the route continues uncomfortably on the B1100.  At Welney, it crosses the Ouse Washes (floods permitting – this is not the part of the route to do after persistent rain!), and takes further fen paths to sedate Little Downham.  From here, it is briefly co-incident with The Bishops Way*  and continues on good paths into Ely.  A brief flirtation with the banks of the Rivers Great Ouse and The Lark lead to the most uncomfortable section of the route, along the A1101 towards Shippea Hill Station (past haunts of Golden Oriole in tall poplars).  The path tiptoes through the tall grasses fringing the River Little Ouse towards Lakenheath station, and follows adjacent trackways into Brandon.  Good forest paths take the route to Croxton, and on to Harling Road Station, or, better, (if there is transport available) to Knettishall Heath.  The whole route is 178 miles to Harling Road.  Significant parts are common with The Nene Way.

Four of us, (Norman & Betty Jenkins, and ourselves) followed the route in sections of about 12 miles between February and August 1995.  Highlights were birdwatching near Rutland Water early in the year, and finding  the churchyard at Easton on the Hill, Northants, awash with snowdrops.  We have photographs of a clear blue sky above the frost-fringed River Welland in late February, but Spring-like scenes of new lambs in the fields near Castor windmill a few weeks later, in March.  The Nene Valley Park, approaching Peterborough has some strange but interesting modern sculptures.  We courted wet feet on a fine April day, as the path skirted the swollen Washes at Whittlesea, and came in fine style into March one warm day at the end of the month.  The Jubilee monument in the middle of a road junction was freshly painted, and a good photographic subject on the traffic free Sunday!  The angel roof at St. Wendreda’s Church justified a detour, and the next Sunday found us taking afternoon tea-break in the churchyard at Christchurch. The flood-relief scheme on the Old Bedford River was in full swing as we crossed the Welney causeway, in company with a herd of cows & a quiet bull.  While in Ely, we revisited the tourist office in Oliver Cromwell’s house, not missing an opportunity to acquire any leaflets on new walks in the locality…It was June before we were tramping the Suffolk sections of the walk, and completed the final section to Knettishall one hot day in August.

We used a copy of the first edition of the Hereward Way guidebook by Trevor Noyes (now of Cherry Plum Cottage, Compton Dundon, Somerton, Somerset, TA11 6NZ). A new edition is planned for 2001, but an interim copy may be obtained for £2 from the author as above.  However, there is also a leaflet published by Cambridgeshire County Council (A2 folded sheet, route map and points of interest, 40p).

* The Bishops Way is a well-waymarked recreational walk of 8 miles circumnavigating Ely, and for which Cambridgeshire County Council has produced a leaflet (40p).,

Summary – Other Watery Ways
Mentioned in previous issues were:
The Fen Rivers Way – see you on the walks starting on 6 January 2001….ring 01223 356889 for details.

The Nene Way – Cantab Rambler, Sept.2000

The Iceni Way, The Nar Valley Way, and The Angles Way – Cantab Rambler, July 2000

Kingfisher Way – Cantab Rambler Nov. 1999

Coming soon – The Ouse Valley Way – a current assessment.

The Quotation
“Yet all experience is an arch where through
Gleams that untravelled world whose margin fades
Forever and forever when I move.
How dull it is to pause, to make an end,
To rust unburnished, not to shine in use!”

Alfred Lord Tennyson, Ulysses

Local Literature for Christmas
Ten Walks around Balsham by Janet Herridge
This attractively illustrated little book, available at £1 from the author, has concise route descriptions, and clear maps for circular walks of between 1 and 8 miles length, all of which start from the well-shelter in Balsham.  Highly recommended.
From Mrs.J.E.Herridge, 7 Woodhall Lane, Balsham, Cambs. CB1 6DT, tel. 893947.

An Atlas of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire History
Eds. Tony Kirby & Susan Oosthuizen, Publ. 2000 by APU  (Anglia Polytechnic University) A4 paperback, 192pp. £20.  ISBN 0-907262-9-8
(in bookshops in Cambridge)

This comprehensive guide to archaeological sites of the present county of Cambridgeshire is priced at the other end of the scale for your Christmas present list!  However, for those with an even moderate interest in the antiquarian and local history of the passing scene, this is a very useful handbook.  Lavishly illustrated with distribution maps, a copy of this will alert you to what to look for on the next day’s walk. Starting with chapters on geology, relief and landforms, the text moves on to the development of fenland in prehistoric times, and discusses sites occupied in the Stone Age periods.  By The Bronze & Iron Ages, the maps illustrate very numerous sites and finds. Of particular interest to walkers is a map showing prehistoric trackways. For Roman times, it is possible to produce  “street plans” of  Cambridge and Godmanchester, and show the distribution of industrial sites (potteries, salt production etc), rural settlements, and roads & canals in the County. Anglo-Saxon settlements, placenames, monasteries, and the Dykes are covered comprehensively.  After a brief reference to the influence of The Danes,  chapters move into the era of greater written records, detailing medieval churches, castles, moats and Lodes, and later, the Domesday survey.  Vernacular buildings down the centuries are covered, now often to be identified on site by actual houses, rather than the “humps in the ground” of earlier periods.  Former forests, parks and gardens, markets and fairs, transport, education, commodity distribution and changes in arable land & commons down the centuries are chronicled.  The stages of draining the fens are shown clearly, as is the effect of the Civil War on Cambridgeshire.  Later chapters discuss effects of religious dissent, rural unrest and the Enclosure Awards. Victorian industry, the railways, the Poor Law lead into the modern period.  The effects of the World Wars, airfields, roads, local government and Town and Country bring us up to the present day.

This is primarily a work of reference, but once picked up, is difficult to put aside.  The next time a walk is put off by a wet day, I shall curl up with this record of the centuries.

Suffolk Signpost
This is the title of a free newspaper for outdoor people produced quarterly by Suffolk County Council, in partnership with The Countryside Agency.  It is available on counters in information centres, and especially at Country Parks, e.g. Knettishall and Clare.  The Summer 2000 issue had articles on walking for health, a review of the parish Paths Partnership Scheme in Suffolk, and a cycle network launch.  Most useful to walkers, however, are the several articles on promoted walks and rides.  This issue showed a circular walk at Ashfield-cum-Thorpe; Stanton Rides (NE of Bury St. Edmunds);and the new Occold circular walk.  Other issues have shown the effect of diversion packages – information difficult to obtain elsewhere.

We have seen a similar free paper, “Ways through Essex“, although this seems less generally available.  It is a pity that Cambridgeshire County Council does not produce a similar publication – JM

How to Complain!
This is not an item on how to deal with your local tradesman, but how best to complain about path problems.

Who should I write to?
You are always welcome to pass South Cambridgeshire problems to us, and we will try to do something about them.

Alternatively, you may feel that you prefer to write directly to the County Council, but if so we would appreciate a copy for our records. Problems in Cambridgeshire (other than in Cambridge City, or in the envelope of the new Peterborough Unitary Authority) should be addressed to Cambridgeshire County Council, which as Highway Authority, has ultimate authority for path problems.

You can write to: Ms C.M.Day, Countryside Services Team Leader, Environment Division, Cambridgeshire County Council, Box ET 1009, Shire Hall,Cambridge, CB3 0AP.

If the parish is taking part in the “Parish Path Partnership” Scheme, then you can copy a letter to the Clerk or path organiser, but do please also inform the RA.  Parish priorities are not always identical to those of walkers at large.

What should I say?
Report the problem you encountered in your own words, but remember that the clerical assistant in the Rural Team’s office, will fill in your query in a form on a computer, so make it easy to identify & classify your problem.
-Note the date you encountered the problem
-Names of those present (or number of party)
-Civil parish (e.g. Shingay cum Wendy)
-Type of path – footpath, bridleway, byway
-Map you were using (& guidebook, if any)
-Definitive path number, if known
-Grid refs of start & end of path
-Grid ref(s) of places problem(s) found

Type of problem.  Describe this in your own words, but bear in mind that it will be classified under the following headings –
1. Bridge (needed)
2. Bridge (repair needed)
3. Stile (repair or replace)
4. Gate, or kissing gate (repair or replace)
5. Fence/hedge/gate across path
6. New signpost needed
7. Signpost repair needed
8. Waymarking needed
9. Field edge ploughed/cropped
10.Cross-field ploughed/cropped
11.Overhanging vegetation (not crop)
12.Surface vegetation (not crop)
13.Obstruction (building)
14.Obstruction (miscellaneous)
15.Erosion (waterside)
16 Surface (not ploughing/cropping)
17.Bulls & other hazardous animals
18.Travellers encampment
20.Ploughing/cropping where detail unknown
21.Misleading notice
22.Definitive route query
23.Fly tipping/rubbish dumping

In addition, if there is any hazard present, the word “Safety” should appear prominently.

The above categories are those used by CCC and by ourselves, when we send problems from our computer to their computer.  You will be glad to know that a letter always accompanies the disc, addressed to a real person, and with a description of the problem.  In the recent Millennium Survey, we found problems in every one of these categories, but we found that problems with landowners on site had to go down under “miscellaneous”!

Finally, please follow up the problem, if possible.  If you plan to lead a walk, using the problem path, do say so.  If you use the path frequently, or would do so were it to be in better order, then do emphasise this.  If you met other people having the same difficulties, then include this in your report.

If you have problems in other counties, e.g. on holiday, then do send them to the appropriate County Council, with a copy to the local RA Area Footpath Secretary. Very often, the voice of a tourist spending money in an area may have a very influential effect on a council.

Finally, remember that although the path network is improving, none of us can afford to relax.  Without constant vigilance, backsliding is all too common!

©Janet Moreton, 2000

CANTAB03 September 2000

CANTAB03 September 2000 published on


This is a privately produced news-sheet for our rambling friends, with an emphasis on the walking scene in Cambridgeshire.  We aim to give away copies, but if you would like to have regular issues, a donation of 10p per copy would cover our costs!

Janet & Roger Moreton
(01223 356889)


JAN – MARCH 2001
The Cambs. RA programme for Winter 2001 will include six Saturday walks along the Fen Rivers Way between Cambridge and Kings Lynn, accessed by train.  We shall be leading these, so please join us!

All attendees on the last walk will receive certificates!
New 2nd. ed. of guidebook available, & see FRW website

Saturday 6 Jan. 2001
JANET’S 10th Christmas Bun Walk combined with FRW 1st section – CAMBRIDGE TO WATERBEACH
Meet at Cambridge Station 10 am. for walk to Waterbeach.  ca, 10 miles. Return by train from Waterbeach Station. Leader Janet  Tel. 01223-356889

Saturday 3 Feb. 2001
FRW 2nd section – WATERBEACH to ELY
Meet at Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Waterbeach, or meet Waterbeach Sta. 9.38 am.  Return from Ely. ca. 12 miles. Leader Roger  Tel 01223 35688 Check train times with leader.

Saturday 10 Feb. 2001
FRW 3rd SECTION – Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Ely, or meet Ely Sta 9.47 am. Return from Littleport Sta.  6 or 10 miles.  (The walk will include an optional 4 mile afternoon circuit from Littleport)  Leader  Janet Tel 01223 356889.  Check train times with leader.

Saturday 17 Feb. 2001
FRW 4th SECTION –  Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Littleport, or meet Littleport Sta 9.54 am.  Return from Downham Market Station.  Leader Roger  Tel 01223 356889  13 miles (or you can do less -see below). Note: It may be possible to arrange “car assistance” along this stretch, for anyone finding this just too far…essential to arrange in advance. Check train times with leader.

Saturday 24 Feb. 2001
FRW 5th SECTION – Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Downham Market, or meet Downham Mkt Sta 10.03 am. Return from Watlington Station Station. Leader  Janet Tel 01223 356889  8.5 miles  Check train times with leader.

Saturday 3 March. 2001
FRW 6th SECTION – Meet Cambridge Station for 9.32 train to Watlington, or meet Watlington Sta 10.09am.  Return from Kings Lynn Station.  Celebration!  Leader Roger  Tel 01223 356889  9 miles (14km) inc. historic centre. Check train times with leader

We hope to have join us members of the Fen Rivers Way Association, and have also invited members of the Kings Lynn Group of the Ramblers Association.

Trip to Kilnhill, Bassenthwaite,
9 -14 May 2001.
We have now led parties of around 12 to 16 people to the Lake District in May for 3 years running.  These trips have proved very popular, and we have been asked to repeat the venture again in 2001.  This year, there will be 5 full walking days, extending over a weekend.

As on previous holidays, we shall aim to do about 9 – 12 miles a day, with a mountain climb if the weather makes this possible.  As previously, we will not have recced the routes, but we do have a good range of maps and guidebooks, and we have visited the Lake District many times in the last 40 years.  We do not deliberately aim for screes, or places with high exposure.  Having said that, some folks have been slightly disconcerted to be using path-less routes occasionally in areas of open access, & by certain steep slopes.  The Lake District is just like that!  We will not do the same walks as previous years, but those who have come on all the holidays may find they are occasionally crossing the tracks of previous routes.

We will use OS Outdoor leisure Series NE & NW Cumbria (yellow covers).  You might also like to have OS Landranger Sheet 98, West Cumbria., showing the guest house Grid Ref. 214 326 at the N end of bassenthwaite Lake.  A metal walking pole (or two?) is highly recommended, and waterproof overtrousers are essential.

Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite is a good centre for the Northern Lakes.  In the house there are 5 double or twin rooms, and 2 singles.  In the annex there is one double and 1 twin.  Rates at 2000 were ca. £32 per night bb/em.  The very pleasant site overlooks fields down to the lake, and behind looms the bulk of the Skiddaw massif.  Mr. & Mrs Armstrong run a small farm, with free-range chicken, sheep and calves.  Parking is in a clean, cobbled yard.  The accommodation is good quality, with some rooms en-suite, all with central heating, and tea-making facilities.There is a hall pay-phone & TV lounge.  The dining room is in the upper floor of the very fine barn… and the food is varied and very good.

For evenings, there are attractive local walks from the house.  Paths on Mr. Armstrong’s land are well-maintained & waymarked.

Transport – By car, using M6 to Penrith, then A66 Keswick bypass and A591 to Kiln Hill Barn.  It is possible to arrive by public transport.

Interested?  Then please make your own booking: Ken & Heather Armstrong, Kiln Hill Barn, Bassenthwaite, Keswick, Cumbria, CA12 4RG.
Tel. 017687 76454

And please let us know you have done so!

Janet & Roger Moreton

Quotation – William Wordsworth
I wandered lonely as a cloud
That floats on high o’er vales and hills
When all at once I saw a crowd,
A host, of golden daffodils;
Beside the lake, beneath the trees,
Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

Composed 1804 at Dove Cottage;
Published 1807

Saga – Yorkshire Wolds
Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, 8 August 2001
The company, SAGA, which specialises in holidays and services for the 50-plus age group, runs holidays in University College accommodation during the Summer.  We have used two such centres, at Writtle near Chelmsford, and at Bicton in Devon.  Both were excellent, with comfortable accommodation and good food.

In August 2001, we plan to go to Bishop Burton College, near Beverley, to spend a week rambling in the Yorkshire Wolds.  We have walked in the area about 15 years ago, and know there is pleasant walking in undulating hilly country.  We invite our friends to make their own booking with SAGA, and join us for some pleasant 10 – 12 mile walks.

SAGA also lays on daily coach tours, which are popular with the majority of their guests, (but not compulsory!)  These cost around an extra £12 – £16 per day, and could be an alternative option for an inclement day, or for a non-walking partner.  Two tours, to Castle Howard, and to Burton Constable Hall, are included in the price.

We advise you to use SAGA’s Freefone 0800 300 456 to order their Great British Holiday Brochure, and make your own booking.  Please liaise with us, so we know how many people are coming….  The Beverley and the Yorkshire Wolds Holiday costs £219. for bb/em.  We have been told the food is very good!  There is no supplement for single rooms, but there is a supplement for en-suite facilities…

And, if you are not yet 50, we hope to research b/b accommodation in the vicinity for anyone else who would like to join the walks…

Local Literature
Series of books, “100 Walks in”
Cambridgeshire and Bedfordshire-compiled by Katherine Appleton & Bob & Celia Wallace. 1998.
Essex-compiled by Anita Totham. 1995.
-compiled by Robert H Stoner. 1996.

This is part of a series published by Crowood Press, covering most of the counties of England.  Each book has just what it says…100 walks, each with a minimal sketch map, and a route description.  Many walks tend to be on the short side for active ramblers, being in the range 3 – 10 miles, with a majority at ca. 5 miles. It would, in general, not be possible to combine 2 walks to give a longer circuit, as the routes tend to be distributed all over the county. The descriptions also give required maps, and are strong on historical notes and points of interest.  Pubs and parking places are suggested.

We have test-walked some of the routes in each of these, and in general would not fault the descriptions. We find it a little puzzling, though, that the authors, (or perhaps the publishers) could not conceive 100 walks in each of Cambs. and Beds., without having to find only 100 walks between them! Still in print, the standard price is £8.99, and thus not expensive if one plans to explore every walk.

More Watery Ways…
July’s issue described The Nar Valley Way, The Iceni Way and The Angles Way.  This month it is the turn of The Nene Way.

A pack of leaflets is available from Northamptonshire County Council (at 9, Guildhall Road, Northampton, NN1 1DP) describing the 70 mile section from Badby to Wansford. Cambs. County Council (Shire Hall, Castle Hill, Cambridge, CB3 0AP) has issued a single leaflet, with maps and notes on the 30 mile section from Wansford to Long Sutton, and The Wash at Guy’s Head.  We used also Landranger Maps 131, 141, 142, 143, 152 and 153, although now one would prefer the new Explorer series.

Four of us walked the Nene Way (pronounced “Nen” in Northants!) in sections between May & December 1993.  We started by staying for a weekend at Babdy in Northants, quite the prettiest part of the route. Here, we have a photograph of Roger spanning the infant river, with one foot on each bank!  Doing 12 mile days, and the two-car trick, we progressed through Upper Wheedon, and taking in part of  The Grand Union Canal, and on to Flore and Kislingbury.  It was interesting to walk through industrial Northampton along the river bank, and on to Cogenhoe.  The worst part of this section was having to cross the (then) A45 road, without bridge, underpass, or lights.  Elsewhere on the route, it was written into the guide to cross several very busy roads, probably the main defect of the route. Subsequently, using two cars, and in single days out, we passed through Earls Barton and Wellingborough. Earls Barton is famous for a magnificent church, with a huge Saxon tower. Spring turned to Summer.  In July, we found time to walk a 14 mile stretch from Irchester, via little Addington to Woodford.  Irchester Country park has a narrow gauge railway museum, and we enjoyed watching steam-up on an old, well-polished locomotive on the private tracks.  The diary records showers on the next occasion, taking us 12 miles to Barnwell.  En route, we particularly enjoyed the quiet section through Titmarsh nature reserve.  By now the River Nene was a very substantial watercourse, sometimes split into more than one channel.  In late August, walking Barnwell to Nassington, we made a highly recommended detour into Oundle.  The section from Nassington to Ferry Meadows, Peterborough, starts to have paths in common with the Hereward Way, and in places dual waymarking. In September, the four of us spent a week on the Isle of Wight, and not until 3 October did we tread the route onwards past Dog-in-a-Doublet to Whittlesea, using a convenient train for this section.  A dour day at the end of October, we made it along the south bank of Moreton’s Leam to Ring’s End and Guyhirn and Cold Harbour Corner.  Here the physical high-point of the route was the trig point on the bank at Moreton’s Leam. A bitter November day took us 9 miles from Cold Harbour through Wisbech to Foul Anchor, enjoying the bleak atmosphere of the low lands, and the dignity of Peckover House and the buildings fronting Wisbech’s North Brink. Had we timed it better, we could have toured the brewery here! On 11 December, there is a photo in the album of 3 bundled figures by the footpath sign in a strong wind bearing flakes of snow at Guy’s Head, having made it past the unsmiling Security Officers along the right of way through Sutton Port.  We had walked a total distance of 125 miles with detours, on this very worthwhile route.

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, 10p 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 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


© Janet Moreton, 2000

CANTAB02 July 2000

CANTAB02 July 2000 published on


This is a privately produced news-sheet for our rambling friends, with an emphasis on the walking scene in Cambridgeshire.  We aim to give away copies, but if you would like to have regular issues, a donation of 10p per copy would cover our costs!
Janet & Roger Moreton
(01223 356889)

In Little Wilbraham parish, down at Six Mile Bottom, Footpath 10 has now been officially diverted to run from the Social Club Car Park, alongside the railway (rather than taking a diagonal route across the field).  The latter route had been impossible for some time, being obstructed by a 6 foot high chain-link fence.  The route between the fence and the railway hedge/fence should be two metres (2m) wide, so we hope it will now be better maintained.

On the 11 July, the 2-volume, 1000pp survey of the paths in South Cambs. was presented to Councellor Shona Johnstone, chairman of the Environment & Transport Committee. The survey, which is intended as an archival description of the path network  in 1998 – 2000, had been made by 30 volunteers from Cambridge Group.

The ceremony took place on the steps of Shire Hall, and was attended by about 20 ramblers, several County Council staff, inc. Brian Smith, head of Environment & Transport, Kate Day, leader of the Access Team (the recipient of all our complaints letters!), and Karen Champion (who checks out on the ground  the complaints in South Cambs. District).  Janet Davis came from RA London Office to lend support.

In introducing the report, Roger emphasised the improvements which had taken place in the local path network since the last full survey in 1982/3.  Presently, about 85% of South Cambs. paths are in reasonable condition in the Summer.  This falls to 75% in Winter, when farmers fail to reinstate cross-field paths.  Other problems relate to overgrown or cultivated field-edge paths; damaged stiles or gates; missing or damaged signposts; misleading notices; difficult animals ; buildings and other obstructions; erosion; electric fences; and definitive map problems.  Despite improvements over the last 10 years, we remain only too aware that without continued vigilance, the paths could easily deteriorate.  The continuing inadequate County Council budget for path work also got a mention.

Grateful thanks are offered to all those who helped with the survey, and who turned out for the presentation, which was organised for the RA by John Ratcliff.



Presenting the Millennium Survey to Councillor Shona Johnstone, on behalf of RA Cambridge Group, 11 July 2000.

Copies of the survey will be available for public inspection in the Archives Dept. at Shire Hall, and in Lion Yard Library.  Copies have also been purchased by South Cambs. D.C. , The National Trust,  The Cambridge Preservation Society, and by 3 Cambridge Colleges and two individuals.

N.B. A few copies are available for sale at cost (£40 each!).

Roger & Janet Moreton


Availability of Explorer Series Locally
The whole of East Anglia is now covered by the new OS Explorer (1:25 000 series), price £5.25. You will know that Heffers Map Shop in Sidney Street  moved to the main Trinity Street shop in late Autumn, 1999. The space for maps & walking books is, sadly, much reduced.  Heffers have been taken over by Blackwells, the Oxford Bookshop.

Watery Walks Circuits
Lovers of Fenland waterways may appreciate suggestions for further circular walks when they have completed the Fen Rivers Way with Roger & Janet (six walks on the RA programme Jan-Mar 2001).

Other riverside circuits can be found in “Walks in East Cambridgeshire” published by the RA Cambridge Group, available at £4.50 from B. Hawes, 52 Maids Causeway, Cambridge CB5 8DD (cheques payable to the Ramblers’ Assoc. Cambridge Group, please), or from the Tourist Office and some bookshops in Cambridge. Of the 30 walks, 14 have a riverside section!

More LDPs follow East Anglian Waterways
The Iceni Way, The Nar Valley Way, and The Angles Way all have the theme of East Anglian Watercourses, and are reviewed here.  The more northerly Hereward Way and Nene Way, and the Stour Valley Walk following the Essex Stour will be discussed in future issues.

The Ramblers Association has produced a guide to the 80 mile long “Iceni Way”, running from Knettishall Heath to the coast at Heacham, and following sections of the Little Ouse & Great Ouse.  This useful and attractive guidebook, containing accommodation list, and historical and nature notes, as well as helpful route notes and sketch maps, is obtainable from Ms S.Smith, Caldcleugh, Cake Street, Old Buckenham, Attleborough, NR17 1RU, £2.10 plus p/p.  This is the most recently compiled of the “watery routes”, and comments from those who have completed the path would be welcomed.

In November 1999, three members of the RA Cambridge Group followed the Nar Valley Way from Kings Lynn to its terminus near Gressinghall.  This was probably later in the year than we had ever previously taken a walking holiday!  But in spite of cold, intermittent strong winds, rain, and even a few flakes of snow, we much enjoyed this 34 mile walk over 3 days of limited daylight.  The waymarked route starts on the historic waterfront at Kings Lynn, and follows the River Nar to Setchey Bridge, before taking a pleasant detour through Shouldham Warren.  It passes the splendid gatehouse at Pentney Abbey (where the adjacent farm incorporates remains of an Augustinian priory), and a few miles upstream it encounters the remains of an old bone mill. This stretch of river is very lovely.  At Narborough, we stayed overnight in a guesthouse with a roaring fire and a warm welcome.  Both West Acre and Castle Acre are places to linger, with remains of two more priories, a castle, and attractive cottages, pubs and places to stay.  We passed both East & West Lexham’s ancient churches with round towers. The church of St. Andrew, East Lexham is reputed to have the oldest round tower in Britain, dated c. 900A.D.  The church is on a slight mound in a circular yard, surrounded by a ditch, suggesting a site for pagan worship converted to Christian activities in the C7th.  In the dim light of a November day we sought to people this quiet place with some of these early East Anglians.  Following the river to Litcham, we first photographed the amusing village sign, showing the red-coated figure of the master tanner, before seeking shelter from an icy shower in Litcham All Saints Church.  The next section of the route, which included a section of long straight road, and then some slightly difficult-to-find paths, was the least satisfactory of the walk, but, coming to Mileham, we enjoyed viewing the earthworks of the castle, dating from Norman times.  Our last view of the River Nar was by Wyken House, where a wooden footbridge spans the tiny stream.  The source is inaccessible, about half-a-mile away.  Beyond, we pressed on in the declining daylight to pause at the tiny C12th church (sadly, locked) of St Peter & St Paul, Bittering Parva, opposite the site of an abandoned medieval village.  The main route finishes at Gressinghall (where there is a Union House museum), but it is possible to extend the walk into East Dereham.

Norfolk County Council produces a free leaflet, “The Nar Valley Way“, but we also found a guidebook, “An Introduction to The Nar Valley Way” by Carol Andrews & Dennis Dear (Pathway Publishing, Kings Lynn, 1995) helpful & informative.

Janet & Roger Moreton,
Norman Jenkins.

The Angles Way
This 80 mile LDP runs from the Norfolk Broads at Great Yarmouth to the Suffolk Brecks at Knettishall, following the Waveney Valley.  It is another fairly “watery walk”, following first the shore of Breydon Water, then Oulton Broad and the rivers Waveney and Little Ouse.  However, the later parts of the route necessarily follow mostly farmland paths, and through woods and commons.  Lopham & Redgrave Fen ( source of both the Waveney and the Little Ouse rivers, home of the great raft spider, and many species of lovely wildflowers) is a highlight of the route, but take insect repellant!  Enthusiasts will appreciate the traction engine museum at Bressingham.  At Knettishall Heath  we reach the junction with the Peddars Way, Icknield Way, Iceni Way, and Hereward Way, allowing the keen walker to keep on going…

Four members of RA Cambridge Group walked the Angles Way in Spring 1995 using 2 cars.  The path was well-waymarked, and there were no serious problems, although overgrowth is known to be a difficulty on some sections later in the year.

A guidebook to the Angles Way is available from Ms S.Smith, Caldcleugh, Cake Street, Old Buckenham, Attleborough, Norfolk, NR17 1RU at £2.15 including p/p (cheques payable to the Ramblers’ Association, Norfolk Area).

Janet Moreton

Did you see . . . ?
Did you see the brief paragraph in “Rambler” (Summer, 2000, page 11) on the achievement of Janet Pake of Willingham, in walking ALL the 1376 public paths in South Cambs, in time for the Millennium?  A longer congratulatory piece was contributed, noting that Janet was bitten by a dog in course of her explorations, and describing her wading through Bourn Brook in Toft, on bridleway 8, where there is no bridge.  These more colourful details, and the photo of Janet waving an OS map, never saw the light of day.  However, we send our congratulations to Janet on her achievement, and also thanks for all her input into the Millennium Survey. Another rambler, Judy Stoneley, also put in many days investigating with us the more difficult paths of South Cambs, and to Judy too, we owe a great debt.

Local Literature

Dry Drayton
Villagers have researched a book, “Gallows Piece to Bee Garden” looking at the origins of Dry Drayton from ca. 1000 years ago, and following its history through to modern times. The book (£9.95) is edited by Rosemary Gardiner, and a parish map, also available at £3.95, was drawn by Michael Bienias. Copies may be obtained from Heffers bookshop in Cambridge, and from Tescos, Bar Hill.  OR ring:  01954-781036;

We have received from Janet Herridge, 7 Woodhall Lane, Balsham, Cambs, CB1 6DT a copy of her very attractive guide to short local walks around Balsham, with charming illustrations. The guidebook is good value at £1. For further info, tel:  01223-893947,

Swavesey PC have produced an illustrated  walks leaflet, available at 50 pence from village shops. It provides local information, and gives suggested circuits & nature notes.

The Quotation . . .
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began,
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow if I can,
Persuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet,
And whither then?  I cannot say.


Village of the Month -Castle Camps
– Pathfinder Sheet 1028 (Haverhill & Clare); Explorer Sheets 209 & 210.

The village sign stands at the crossroads near the war memorial, TL 633 432.  It shows a castle built by Aubrey de Vere in the 11th century.  Cross the road, and take a signed footpath across the fields towards the church, approaching the churchyard past an area of moats.  There is a display board near the church giving the history of the village.

Further circuits of various lengths are possible on a very dense path network, in gently rolling countryside on the border with Essex.  This is a very active “P3” (parish paths partnership) parish, with 56 paths well maintained by two devoted workers, Jack Rixon & Alan Hardy.

©2000 R.B.& J.Moreton

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