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CANTAB49 December 2008

CANTAB49 December 2008 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


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

Janet Moreton

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(b)The Kings Head, Dullingham has reopened.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cantab Rambler (49) by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 20p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and a 20p stamp.

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


Price 20 pence where sold

© Janet Moreton, 2008

CANTAB48 October 2008

CANTAB48 October 2008 published on

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


Do you hate barbed wire?

A Daily Telegraph article of 10 October reported the case of an allotment owner who sought to protect his crops from thieves by erecting a single-strand fence of barbed wire around his patch.  The local council directed that the barbed wire should be removed, on Health and Safety grounds.  Any injured intruder might sue the Council!

Can this argument be extended to landowners who fence property with barbed wire alongside public rights of way?  So narrow are some paths that walkers do not need to attempt to cross a barbed wire fence in order to become entangled in it. Just passing a pedestrian going in the other direction might be sufficient to press ones clothes against the wire, and with waterproof jackets at £150 plus, this is just not funny.  Then there are hands and ankles caught on rusty points.  Do you have your anti-tetanus injection up-to-date?  I believed that landowners were required to confine barbed wire to the field-side of any posts adjacent to a path, although I can think of some places in Cambridgeshire where this is not so.  How does this situation stand up to current Health and Safety requirements?

Janet Moreton

East Suffolk Line – Station to Station Walks
Roger and Sheila Wolfe wrote asking me to promote this initiative. Contact:
for a free download, or write to ESCRIP, 12 Kemps Lane, Beccles, NR 34 9XA for a free booklet.

Parish of the Month – Linton
In a stack of pamphlets about local points of interest, I found a delightful booklet, “Linton, The Story of a Market Town“.  Dated 1982, and published by the Parish Council, it sold at 50 pence.  As it is now, doubtless, out of print I take the liberty,  with grateful acknowledgement, of summarising some of the fascinating information in its pages, to give an historical background to the walking opportunities in and around the parish.  I have also drawn on  “Archaeology of Cambridgeshire”, Vol. 2, by Alison Taylor (publ. 1998, Cambs.C.C.), as an invaluable source.

Ancient times in Linton
An early iron age dwelling was found in 1948, containing pottery, bone tools and a spear-head, whilst work was being carried out in an old chalk pit, S of the bypass. Traces of Roman occupation were found beneath the Village College, and on the river slopes at a villa towards Hadstock.  A huge Anglo-Saxon burial mound was excavated  by R.C. Neville in 1883 on what was then Linton Heath beyond Borley Wood, finding 104 burials of C5th & C6th date, and including grave goods of beads, jewelry, weapons and coins. A much poorer cemetery of a similar date has been encountered under the centre of Linton., N of High Street. A C6th hut-site was found at Barham Cross (where the Bartlow Road leaves the A1307), with remains of a wall of clay-daub and a hearth, decorated pottery, bone comb and awl.

(Will some future archaeologist treasure the pins, fuses, broken hacksaw blades, and hair clips under the floor of our Victorian house?)

Medieval Linton
Linton parish today derived from four Medieval Manors within the Chilford Hundred: Great and Little Barham (near Barham Hall Farm); Great Linton (close to the river crossing in the town); and Little Linton Manorial Close. Robert de Furneaux endowed a small friary, Barham Priory in the late C13th, dissolved 1539.  The name “Linton” is Saxon in origin, meaning “flax town”, but it was cereal that was the basis of the first commercial development, and tanning was an important village industry.

Linton developed from the manorial sites into a substantial trading settlement by late C13th. William de Say, of Great Linton obtained a grant for a weekly market in 1246,  at the junction of High Street & Church Lane. Simon de Furneaux of Barham Manor, later acquired a grant to hold a market & fair in 1282, setting up a rectangular market place. at Green Lane.  A third site S of the river near Granta Vale was set up in 1282, and was still in use when a map of the parish was made in 1600. In 1633, 41 shops & 10 stalls were recorded. The town remained an important commercial centre into the C19th and early C20th., although today Linton is generally referred to as a village.

The parish covers 1600 ha, and was quite heavily wooded in 1086 and into medieval times, the trees being mostly felled in the C18th & C19th. With only 61 inhabitants at Domesday, the population reached a peak of 1858 in the census of 1851, only to fall in the 1920s.  By 1996, numbers were 4310, and are still rising.

Around the village centre
History is most interesting when there are reminders on the ground, and about Linton, there are many such. First, take a walk around the centre of the village, before exploring some of the 30 public paths which lead around and out of the parish.  Start down Church Lane, visit the church, go through the churchyard, over the river, turning left along the riverside, to return over a bridge, visiting the Mill and  High Street. Take a street atlas (eg Philips’), as well as OS Explorer 209.

In Church Lane
The Guildhall (no.4) is timber-framed and plastered: it has two unequal gabled roofs of  1510 – 1530. It served as the Town House until the 1600s, then as housing for the poor.

St Mary The Virgin’s site was originally a priory belonging to the abbey of St Jacut de la Mer in Brittany from ca 1100 until 1416, when “alien priories” were suppressed by Henry V, the property passing to Pembroke College, Cambridge.  The original Norman style church of the C13th can be glimpsed from the round and octagonal columns of the S arcade, and the lower part of the tower.  Over centuries, the S aisle was widened and extended; a N aisle created; chapels added to contain the memorials of local families, and the walls of the nave raised.  By the C16th, the church achieved its present outline, but in 1643, the Cromwellian, William Dowsing, “purged” the church of 80 pictures, and other decoration, and the same year, the vicar, Roger Ashton was driven out for his loyalty to the king. C19th refurbishment banished box pews, and realigned the seating. As the church is usually open, walkers have an opportunity to view this interesting building inside and out.

The Old Watermill at the bottom of Mill Lane is on a site occupied by a mill since Domesday, and was used until the C19th., and is now attractive housing.

In the High Street
Queens House, nos. 14 &16 …ca. 1730.

Cambridge House, nos 19 & 21 ..late C18th, with  C17th timber framed building at the rear.

Linton House, no.64 … Some C17th work, altered in the late C19th.

The Bell, no 95 … a former Inn, this is a 5-bayed timber frame construction, with a continuous jetty.
Ram House, no 100 …a C17th timber-framed & plastered house, with an C18th wing with a beautiful Venetian window on the first floor.  Note the keystone with the ram’s head.  It was once an inn (called the Ship in 1738) with a schoolhouse adjacent.

Detour down Green Lane – to see:
The Old Manor House … The rear  is timber-framed and plastered, while the front and gable endwalls, and stacks are of a soft orange brick. The main part is C18th, but the gabled rear wings were rebuilt following a 1981 fire.  It was occupied by tanners before 1600, until the industry ceased ca 1830.  Tanners also occupied houses 16 &18 on Horn Lane (over a ford from the Guildhall) until 1841, when the buildings were combined to form Springfield House, once a boys’ boarding school.

On foot out of Linton
Some 31 numbered definitive paths give off-road access to the surrounding countryside.

Through Routes
The  most ancient of these is part of the Icknield Way, IW, a prehistoric route crossing southern England from Wessex towards Hunstanton, along the chalk uplands. Originally a band of communication, rather than a narrow path, in recent times its name has been given to the walkers’ Long Distance Path running from Ivinghoe Beacon in the Chilterns to Knettishall Heath in the Breckland. The pedestrian route enters Cambridgeshire from the S along the county boundary, joining Linton Br 31, which gives onto the Hadstock Road and passes Linton Zoo, en route for High Street. A route for horse-riders (and of course walkers) from Great Chesterford is through the grounds of the derelict Catley Park, down Br 7’s stony track, past the silos, towards Little Linton. Note that Catley Park was once a manor house,  bought by the Little Linton Estate in the 1770s, and largely demolished, leaving one wing as Catley Park Farm. When no longer farmed independently, the house fell into disuse and was demolished in 1978.

Both variants of the IW Path leave Linton via Rivey Hill Path (Br 20), passing the water-tower.  This imposing structure in purplish brick is 12-sided with tapering brick pilasters,  and was built in 1935. The IW route joins the B1052, passing Chilford Hall Vineyard.  (Morning coffee is sometimes available, but the driveway is a long detour).  Walkers turn off on Fp 22, crossing 2 cultivated fields, with the line of path reinstated if they are lucky. (Your local RA Footpath Secretaries have reported this route out of order on some 22 occasions). Reaching the Roman Road (Linton Byway 23 at this point), the IW Path continues N to its mid-point & commemorative stone in Balsham.

From Cambridge it is possible to make a linear walk from Great Chesterford to Balsham, using buses Citi 7,Saffron Walden terminus, and Stagecoach 16 to Balsham. There is also a Stagecoach 19, which goes direct from Linton to Balsham.

B The Roman Road
(Via Devana, or Wool Street) forms the northern parish boundary. A popular longer walk may be made by taking the half-hourly CitiPlus 13 bus from Cambridge (or Haverhill) to Linton, and gaining the Roman Road from Linton Cemetery by the Rivey Hill Br 20, or the parallel path Br21 which starts from Back Lane near the telephone exchange.  Alternatively, use the attractive Br 25, from Horseheath Road, to pass the corner of Borley Wood, and meet the Roman Road at Marks Grave. Once on the old byway, in either case, turn left, and keep on walking! On reaching Worts Causeway on the Cambridge City boundary, walk down the hill, passing the Beechwoods reserve. Just beyond the reserve, it is possible to walk on a pleasant path behind the hedge, continuing beyond the cross-roads, down Worts Causeway to Red Cross, and the bus-station at Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

Longer Circuits from Linton
Linton – Roman Road – Hildersham – Little Linton
Gain the Roman Road by any of the 3 routes described in B. Turn off on the bridleway to Hildersham village  Go S along the main street passing the church & Pear Tree pub. Use one of several paths (well-waymarked)  E across meadows, to join the path passing the sewage works and entering Linton parish along Fp 2, which leads to the recreation ground. (7 or 8 miles).

D Linton – Roman Road – Hildersham – Abington – Land Settlement – Hildersham Wood – Linton
Gain Hildersham by the route described in C. By the road-bridge over the Cam in the village, take the path across meadows to the A1307.  Cross to the Kennels, and turn half right on the road to Great Abington. In the village turn left on the road, to a T-junction.  Enter the former Land Settlement estate along Chalky Road, which follow S out of the housing, uphill towards Abington Park Farm.  At a T-junction, near the top of the hill, turn left, E on a path passing Hildersham Wood. Zig-zag round a hedge corner and continue in the same direction, on what becomes Linton Fp 11. Cross the track from Catley Park to Little Linton, to continue across arable fields (Linton Fp 9). The route passes through a gap in the hedge, and becomes a grassy strip between fields, going behind Linton Zoo, from which unusual sounds and scents may emanate. Pass through a paddock via two high metal stiles, and down a passageway to emerge on the A1307, with a convenient pedestrian crossing for Linton High Street. (10 miles)

Shorter walks from Linton
Several short walks are available, any two of which may be combined to make a village-based figure-of-eight, and perhaps lunching at The Crown or Dog & Duck, or taking a drink at The Waggon & Horses. North’s Bakery in the village supplies sandwiches and cakes.

E To Hadstock
Use the pedestrian crossing over the A1307 at the top of High Street and start up Hadstock Road towards the Zoo, but turn off almost immediately left along Long Lane, to the stump of a windmill. Use the bridge over the track of the former railway, and continue on the grassy “Chalky Road”, which joins the road into Hadstock.  After visiting the church, and perhaps the pub, return to Hadstock recreation ground, which is reached up Bilberry End.  At the rear of the large grass space, take the path going SSW over Hawes Hill, later by a hedge, descending to the lane by the old windmill.(The route in use is not as shown on OS Sheets).  On the return, turn off right to cross the A1307 cautiously, to reach Mill Lane. Here, on the right, is a track leading to Linton’s Pocket Park. This is a delightful place for wild flowers in high Summer, but in Winter rubber boots might be advisable on the soggy ground.  (3 miles)

Alternatively, once in Hadstock, continue through the village to descend by a new footpath not shown on OS Sheets.  “Len’s Path” runs high above Hadstock Road, which it joins just before the Zoo.

F Kingfisher Walk and Little Linton
From Linton rec, cross the grass N towards the footbridge over the R.Granta.  Immediately turn off left beside the river, on a made path in front of some new houses. Continue some way along this charming pathway, with attractive new amenity planting and grassy spaces, until it is possible to go no further!  Turn back a few houses to the next bona-fide exit path towards Back Lane, but follow the residential road round towards garages. A waymarked gap gives permissive access to the continuing riverside. (If this is not found, continue to Back Lane, and walk W on the lane until the start of Fp 1 is reached).  On meeting a crossing track (Fp 1) leading down to a bridge over the river, follow this, and pass beside a paddock to reach Fp 2 leading E back to Little Linton and thence to the rec.  (2 miles)

Less advisable destinations!
No paths lead direct to Bartlow, although Fps 6, 27, cross between roads near the former Barham Cross.  Narrow Bartlow Road has no footway.

Whilst Horseheath can be reached easily and attractively along the Roman Road, if attempting to approach via Br 28, which leaves the A1307 at TL 582 467, do not be surprised to find no trace on the ground, as it has not been seen to be defined in 40years!

In this “Parish of the Month” it has not been possible to discuss all the parish paths.  Most not mentioned will be found within the village envelope, and will repay study.

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 20p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and a 20p stamp.

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


Price 20 pence where sold

© Janet Moreton, 2008.

CANTAB47 August 2008

CANTAB47 August 2008 published on

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


No, Cantab is not dead, only having a rather prolonged Summer break!  Meanwhile, material has been building up in the input folder, and there has been the occasional enquiry…So, here is the usual mix of information and comment hopefully of interest to ramblers in Cambridge and around East Anglia.
Janet Moreton

Have you a network of local paths?
As local Footpath Secretaries within the Ramblers’ Association for parishes in South Cambridgeshire, various complaints and enquiries are received.  One type comes from  walkers living in a village, who have problems with their local network. Most often, the problem relates to the condition of the paths – perhaps overgrown, muddy, or even obstructed.  But there are some villages in Cambridgeshire where it is quite difficult to make a local circuit using off-road routes, as the path network is too fragmented, or just plainly inadequate.

Until a few years ago, Landbeach was one such parish, with only the byway, a Roman Road, Akeman Street (Mere Way) running into Milton, and a few fragments of paths elsewhere. Then Cambridgeshire County Council planted a largish area of County Farms Estate with new forestry, and followed this up with a permissive path route off the Roman Road. The result is a very attractive 5 mile circuit, used by both local walkers, and by other ramblers who have spotted the discreet waymarks (TL 466639, TL 472652).

However, Little Shelford, a parish with a much larger population, has been considerably less fortunate.  Someone seeking a circular ramble would either have to walk quite a lot of road, or drive somewhere else. Below is a history of the situation, succinctly summarised by a local resident.

Countryside walks in Little Shelford
by Peter Dean
Do you like to take walks in the countryside?  Do you think it is important that there should be paths in and around villages where you might be able to do this?   The government thinks so:  its Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW 2000) was intended in substantial part to promote this.  It called on County Councils and other local authorities to identify the paths within their areas and register those not already on their Definitive Map.   Parish Councils, as they had been in the past in response to such calls in the ‘50s and ‘70s, had the duty of carrying out the work of identifying and registering (making claims for addition to the Definitive Map) of any such paths in their local area not thus included.

Little Shelford has no countryside (i.e. circular) walks.  In this respect it is the poorest village in South Cambridgeshire.  The average number in South Cambs villages is 13.   In the experience of many people who walked them, Little Shelford, up to about 11 years ago now, used to have at least two:

Path 1:  Garden Fields to Bradmere Lane (Claypits Lane) along the Parish Ditch
Path 2:  Cow Walk to Wale Recreation Ground to join  the Riverside Walk.
These were closed off with barbed wire in 1997.

Little Shelford Footpaths Group, a sub-committee of the Parish Council which had been alerted by the 2000 Act and by queries from parishioners, began collecting data from witnesses able & willing to testify that they had walked the footpaths in question over a period of years. These paths had not been registered following the previous calls.

When collected, this evidence was submitted to Cambs.C.C. The County Definitive Map Officer  recommended approval of the Path 1 application, but approval of only a part (Cow Walk itself) of the Path 2.  The Assistant Director Environment did not accept these recommendations and ordered a newly-appointed Map Officer to undertake a new review of the evidence and provide a report on each of the paths, not a single report covering both paths.  Little Shelford Parish Council (LSPC) meanwhile collected and submitted further signed user-witness statements.

The new Map Officer’s recommendation in his two reports, for which not many witnesses were interviewed, was that neither path application should be approved.  Insufficient evidence was given as reason.  No explanation was offered about the reversal of the previous officer’s recommendations, despite the submission of additional user-witness statements.  His recommendations were accepted by his senior officer and the applications refused.

As the only step left at this point to LSPC, an appeal was made directly to the Department for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs.  This was examined by an inspector who did not visit the village nor consult LSPC.  His report concurred with the County Council finding that an order could not be made on grounds of insufficiency of evidence.  DEFRA accepted his findings and notified LSPC to that effect in December 2006.

Despite these rebuffs LSPC has decided to continue to work for the recognition of these paths.  Advice has been sought from and given by the Ramblers Association and the Open Spaces Society, two organisations specialising in responsible access to the countryside, the latter of which LSPC is now a subscribing member and which has expressed strong support for the application after reviewing all relevant documents.

(Extracted with permission from Little Shelford Parish newsletter)

On 23 September, Little Shelford Parish Council meets to discuss this situation. We wish them success.

A welcome notice
In May, I had been walking along the towpath of the Grand Union Canal in Northants.  I turned off to walk back to Welford along the Jurassic Way, when I came across this notice posted at each end of a cross-field path (OS Explorer 223, SP 633 795 – for those who like references): “POLITE NOTICE.  Apologies for any inconvenience caused during our repairing of the footpath, we hope to have it rolled and seeded soonest, weather permitting. Thank you.” (sic)
Bernard Hawes

Bernard wonders whether any readers have come across similar notices ever.  This is the first he has seen in many years of walking, and it makes a welcome change from barbed wire stiles and 6 inch wide token restorations.

Parish of the Month – Boxworth
See: Explorer 225.
The parish of Boxworth occupies more than 1000 ha (2600 acres) of mostly heavy clay land, located between Conington to the north, Elsworth to the west, Lolworth to the east, and Knapwell and Childerley to the south.  All these parishes except Elsworth have small populations, and remain very rural, in spite of their being sandwiched between the A14 and the A428, and of their close proximity to Bar Hill and Cambourne, and provide a good tract of pleasant walking on generally reasonable paths.

Historical Notes
I am indebted to a leaflet on Boxworth, by Christopher Parish, 1990, available from the parish church. Both he, and Alison Taylor in “Archaeology of Cambridgeshire”, Vol.1 (Publ. Cambs CC, 1997), agree that there is little trace of early settlement, apart from the discovery of a Roman gold coin, featuring Vespasian of the first century AD.

Landowners of Boxworth (including Ramsey Abbey) are ennumerated in the Doomsday Book. Overhall Grove was the site of an important medieval manor, held until the C14th by the “de Bokesworth” family.  The site was decayed by the C17th, but badgers still dig out medieval pottery in the nature reserve.

Huntingfields Manor  was owned by the Knevitt family until 1516, when it was sold to Thomas Hutton, and the moat existed until 1960 near the south end of Footpath 3, when it was filled in. In the C17th the manor house was moved to its present site (adjacent to bridleway 2), the property subsequently undergoing C18th remodelling.

The third Boxworth Manor was Segrave, held by the monks of Tilty Abbey, and located off Battlegate Road, opposite the start of Footpath 5. The Explorer sheet 225 shows “medieval earthworks” in Grange Wood, and the OS First Series 1:25 000 indicates a moat, but, Christopher Parish assures us that “badgers and several setts are the only occupants nowadays”.

The church of St Peter has a C12th nave;  the south aisle is C14th; and the vestry & chancel C17th .  Extensive restoration was carried out in 1868.  The old school, on High Street, was opened in 1839.

The population at Doomsday was 33. By 1801, the village held 220 souls; 350 in 1871; and back to 200 in 1951. Today, the village remains small.

Enclosure of the open fields under an Act of 1837 was completed by 1843. Some 129 acres went to the rector, and the remainder to the Thornhill Family, all common rights having been extinguished.  Dating from before enclosure, School Lane and Manor Lane, part of High Street to the north of Manor Lane, and the old road to Lolworth through Alice Grove are old hollow ways.  Old foundations of houses can been seen in fields either side of Manor Lane. The NW half of Farm Close shows ridge & furrow marks, which may also be seen at the NE end of the old cricket field.

New Barn Drift is “recent”, not being present on the 1650 map, nor the 1836 OS sheet. An older access to the church ran parallel to Church Lane, and N through the site of the sewage pumping station and wood.

In 1650, High Street opposite Church Farm did not exist., nor did the road to the A14. The road to Elsworth is “recent” (i.e. not on the 1650 map), cutting through the boundary hedge of Lapp Close.  The old route to Elsworth is thought to have gone S along the present Footpath 5 to Overhall.  An alternative way to Elsworth from Main Street went from near West Close to the Short Hedges Road.  A road existed on the SW side of Grape Vine Cottages leading round Farm Close , and NW of rectory land  to Short Hedges.  Part of this road behind Grape Vine is still visible.  Wander down the village, and see if you can spot some of these remnants.

An anomaly may be seen on the Explorer map. Lolworth Footpath 3 fails to pass beyond the parish boundary, having mysteriously vanished in Boxworth, although having apparently survived Enclosure.  The continuing route in Boxworth on old maps meets High Street, at or near a point where there is a large, handsome brick-built barn, perhaps some.100 years old, and  almost certainly present in 1952, when the  Definitive Map for Cambridgeshire was drawn up.

The present path network
Boxworth still has a good network of some 14 paths, all generally in fair order, with signposts indicating the start of paths, and gates or reasonable stiles.

Bridleway 1 leaves High Street at TL 349646, starts NW up a hard roadway, and continues as an earth track between arable fields, joining Conington bp 4, and continuing to the outskirts of Conington village.

Bridleway 2 has a sign at TL 349646 pointing across High Street to Manor Lane, again starting as a hard “no through road”.  It  passes the Manor House, crosses an attractive fenced causeway between lakes and trees, and continues as a field-edge path. Beyond a culvert bridge, it continues into Lolworth parish on Lolworth bp 1.

Footpath 3 is a pleasant inner-village path, turning off Manor Lane at TL 352645, crossing a pasture field, and passing through a small wood, before emerging  on High Street at TL 349643.  Dog owners should note the pasture occasionally contains cows.

Similarly, Footpath 4 runs across a field, sometimes with cattle, leaving High Street at TL 346642, and reaching School Lane at a kissing gate, TL 348644, opposite the rear entrance to the churchyard.

Footpath 5 is the through route to Knapwell, leaving Battlegate Road (not far from the smart “Golden Ball” Inn) at TL 345639, running generally SW to emerge on Knapwell fp 1, near the Overhall Grove nature reserve.  Footpath 6 is the start of the path actually in the nature reserve, continuing as a permissive route (part of Boxworth parish, although close to Knapwell village).

Footpath 7 is a gravel / grass track  starting E at TL348 627 along Battle Gate Road to join the network of paths in Childerley hamlet.

Byway 8, Thorofare Lane, joins Battlegate Road at TL 345623 with the road to the South of Knapwell. From the same point, the track running east towards Childerley is designated Footpath 10.

Footpath 9 is a short path branching off Thorofare Lane at TL 335624, going N towards Overhall Grove reserve, while Footpath 11 turns south along grassy field edges, then SE towards Birds Pastures Farm. Note a slightly awkward stile at TL 343 613, between 2 fields.

Bridleways 12, 13, 14 form a triangle south of Battle Gate near Birds Pastures Farm, giving access to the network of Childerley paths to the east.  Bridleway 12 joins Knapwell byway 7 running SW to the old A428. The presence of a road-bridge here over the new dual carriageway A428, gives useful access to Cambourne. Bridleway 13 follows the hard farm road.  Bridleway 14 goes across an arable field between TL 344 616, opposite a ruined house, to a gate at a field corner, TL 347 614, and in recent years has usually been reinstated.

Walking Routes
From the above notes on the path network, it is clear that it is possible to make a variety of circuits, involving Boxworth, Conington, Elsworth, Knapwell, Childerley, Lolworth, and Cambourne. Roughly speaking, a 3-parish circuit gives a route of 6 – 7 miles, and a 4-parish circuit some 10 – 12 miles, perhaps more if including Cambourne.
N.B. Two parishes in this locality have been featured before in “Cantab Rambler”.
See Cantab 17, Jan 2003 for Elsworth.
And Cantab 41, April 2007 for Conington

Overhall Grove, TL 337 633
Some 17 ha of land, an SSSI,  are owned by the Wildlife Trust. Nearest access from a road is best made from the path beside Knapwell Church. The Grove consists of a poorly drained woodland, mostly small-leaved elm, which has suffered Dutch Elm disease. Spring flowers include bluebells, oxlips and wood anemones. Autumn visitors will appreciate a good display of fungi, as well as seasonal foliage colours. Note the display boards. The “Red Well” may be visited.

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 20p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and a 20p stamp.

Offers of brief articles will be gratefully received.

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


Cantab 47 – Price 20 pence where sold  © Janet Moreton, 2008

CANTAB46 April 2008

CANTAB46 April 2008 published on

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


Editorial –
Parish of the Month – Barrington
For those living in and around Cambridge, the paths of Barrington are very popular. One can park opposite the church, at a corner of the huge village green, and take a number of routes around and out of the village, giving access to Orwell, Harlton, Haslingfield, Harston, Foxton, and Shepreth.

Barrington has a long and well-documented history, and in particular, is said to be one of the most outstanding localities in England for the study of Anglo-Saxon burials. The green is the largest in South Cambridgeshire, and several old buildings delight the visitor. But before going on to outline Barrington’s past, for the present, do you know  the local paths?

Can you number the Barrington paths?
All public rights of way in the country have an official  number, generally by parish. This number is recorded on the “Definitive Map” held at the County Council. Barrington has 12 such public rights of way.  Also note some extra access.

Footpath 1 starts from  Orwell Road at TL 384501, along the drive to Dumpling Cottages. A grassy track beyond a stile leads beside new woodland, to a bridge, from which path continues to Orwell.  One is also invited to wander about in the new woodland.

From Orwell Road at TL 383505, Byway 2 (The Whole Way), runs uphill as a rutted track, continuing into Harlton, reaching the road at the W end of the village.  From the same point, the farm track, Footpath 9, goes E to Wilsmere Down Farm, where it joins Footpath 3.

The start of Footpath 3 is off Back Lane  (Bridleway 8), behind The Green. Footpath 3 runs NW beside hedges to Wilsmere Down Farm, then uphill, to the crest of Chapel Hill, TL 386516, where it joins two paths at a T-junction.  To the left  is Footpath 12, running due W to join the Whole Way. To the right is Footpath 11, continuing E along the ridge above the chalk-pit, to reach the road above Haslingfield.

Footpath 10 starts from The Green, near the pavilion at TL 391497, going N, alongside hedges and across an arable field to join Footpath 9.

Return to the church carpark, and cross to the other side of the road.  Go forward, and turn left, beyond a large children’s playarea, entering Glebe Road.  At the end of  the road, at TL 404500, Footpath 4 runs NE along a gravel farm track, between open arable fields.  Later, the path becomes a pleasant riverside route, passing into Harston, to emerge by the river bridge.

On the edge of Barrington Green at TL 395497, a sign, “Public Footpath to Shepreth 1, Foxton 1¼” points SSE across High Street, and along Boot Lane.  At the far end, TL 395496, is the start of Footpath 5, through a wide wooden kissing-gate  The path runs SSE downhill in a  lane, passing an attractive old graveyard on the right  At TL 396495, the R.Cam or Rhee is crossed on an iron bridge, and a second channel is crossed on a further bridge.  The path continues in fields, dividing to give a branch to the Foxton Road, and across a large arable field by a line of electricity poles en route to a railway crossing in Shepreth. Note that a nature reserve is accessible from Footpath 5, just beyond the bridge over the Cam.  Enter a meadow through a kissing-gate. and continue through the meadow to a wild area of scrub, attractive in Spring for a display of butterburr.

Footpaths 6 and 7 also leave this side of the Green –  From High Street at TL 394496, Footpath 6 follows Mill Lane residential road S to TL 394495, where a  “Public Footpath” sign points ENE along an alley.  The path winds behind gardens, passing the junction to Footpath 7 at TL 395495.  The  alley continues ENE to reach Boot Lane and the junction with Footpath 5 at TL 395496.

On the N side of High Street at TL 394497, a sign, points across the road to indicate Footpath 7 going SSE along a mossy path between walls, joining Footpath 6 at the end.

There is also County Council access land at Five Fools Meadow, by the bridge over the R.Rhee off the road to Shepreth. There is a small carpark here. Formerly there was a permissive path from the end of the field, through a strip of woodland, to join the Malton Road, just outside Meldreth. Sadly this connecting path is no longer available “for the forseeable future”, due to danger of falling branches in the woodland.

History of Barrington
The parish of Barrington covers 914 ha, of which The Green occupies 9 ha, the largest in South Cambridgeshire. To the NW, the chalk escarpment topped by clay reaches ca 70 m. The line of the hill is being rapidly eroded by the workings of the cement works, recently spared an even greater increase in activity from a threatened new plant.

Over the centuries, populations have  ranged from an estimated 85 in 1086; rising to 535 in 1279; 364 in 1563 (a decrease due to plagues?); 348 in 1801 (the first reliable figure); rising to 727 in the C19th, when a sudden rise in population was due to imported labourers digging for copralites. By 1996, 990 people lived in the parish.

But let us go back to the beginning of occupation…In the past the Rhee often flooded, and was marshy across about half a mile, so fordable sites made the village attractive in Anglo Saxon and earlier times.  In the parish were found weapons from early man including 2 Neolithic axes, Bronze Age axes, and a Bronze Age arrow-head stuck in the skull of a wolf! A small Bronze Age burial mound was found during excavations of an Anglo-Saxon Cemetery on Edix Hill.  Gold coins, an iron currency bar, and an imported “Arrentine” cup, indicated some prosperity during the Iron Age period, when there was an extensive settlement, with traces of enclosure ditches, buildings, trackways, and pottery dating from 150BC to 50AD. Similarly, there are relics of a Roman settlement.

Around the C5th the Saxons came – the name Barrington is said to be derived from Barra’s tun, or place. Two major Anglo Saxon cemeteries were discovered in the C19th, and carefully noted by the scholars of the time.  Hoopers Field W of the village contained 114 burials, and some cremations. An Anglo Saxon burial ground shown on the 1:25000 OS sheet of 1956 at TL 388 497, W of the Whole Way. Typically, the female skeletons wore bronze broaches fastening clothes at shoulders, and wrist clasps fastening long sleeves. Necklaces of amber or glass beads were common. The male sheletons were buried with spears, or sometimes a sword, or with their shield. The burials dated from the late C5th to the early C7th. (Note that the first, wooden, church in Barrington dated from ca. 650ad, when grave goods would no longer have accompanied the now Christian burial) The second of these, Edix Hill, close to the border with Orwell, and on a high point of the chalk escarpment, has recently been more fully excavated. Grave goods were similar to those of Hoopers Field.

Modern excavations started 1989.  In three years, over 149 skeletons were found.  Women’s jewellery  included Baltic amber, ivory and garnets perhaps from India, and crystal from Europe.  The skeletons were generally quite tall for the period, the  men being on average 5ft 8 inches.

From the Middle Ages, Barrington has surviving moated sites.  One is Lancasters Manor House, S of the village, near the river  (ca. TL393 494 ), inhabited C10th – C14th. Some 4000 potsherds and iron tools were dredged from the river here. A moat in the grounds of Barrington Hall, TL 396 501, was the site of the Bendyshe Manor house, replaced by the present hall in C17th, and occupied by the Bendyshe family until 1937. (The house can be glimpsed through the trees from the rear of the church carpark, or from Fp 3. The old Guildhall (off High Street, opposite Mill Lane) dates from the Tudor period. The Royal Oak pub is C15th.

The first church was wooden, on the present site, erected ca 650, and probably burned by the Danish invaders following the Battle of Ringmere, 1010AD. The present church was started in the C12th, the only remains of which are at the base of the tower arch.  The main part of the church dates from the C13th, built of locally quarried clunch and stones from the fields.The W half of the chancel’s N wall, the nave arcades and parts of the S aisle are from the C13th. The rest of the building, including the tower, were finished in the C14th, and bells have rung there since the construction. The C19th saw the restoration of the church which had become much decayed. Within, notable are: C13th font; C14th nave roof; C15th wall painting (“three living & three dead”); 4 sets of medieval pews; the C16th parish chest ; the Bendyshe chapel; and a carved C17th pulpit.

The sign on The Green was erected in 1983, in memory of William Warren, (who died 1979, formerly a parish councillor for 26 years). Both sides of the sign show the village pond, with ducks in the foreground.   In the centre is the tall chimney of the Portland Cement Works. On one side of the sign are illustrated a thatched cottage and the church, whilst on the other is a house and the pub. Beneath the village name are geese, reminiscent of the arms of the local Bendyshe family.  Today, the cement works (opened 1918) remains the largest local employer.  However, the habit of digging into the hill goes back many centuries, the old clunch workings having provided the white stone for the church, and for the Gate of Honour at Caius College, Cambridge in the 1570s.

An example of Victorian industry is retained in Bulbeck Watermill, TL 395494.  This is a substantial late C19th 3-storey brick mill, with iron framed windows, which can best be seen across the river, from the nature reserve.

Monthly parishes
Persistent readers will have noted that “Cantab” often, but not invariably, contains a “Parish of the Month” . Between Dec 2000, and the present time, the following parishes have been featured – Soham; Grantchester; Shepreth; Elsworth; Chishill; Paston (Norfolk); Toft; Gt Shelford; West Stow (Suffolk); Gt Chesterford (Essex); Balsham; Elmdon (Essex); Fulbourn; The Wilbrahams; Gamlingay; Bassingbourn;  Sawtry; Saffron Walden (Essex); Foxton; Ickleton; Conington; Shudy Camps; Graveley; Hardwick; Meldreth; and Hinxton.

A straw poll a couple of years ago established that the “Parish” articles were the most appreciated item. Most have been in South Cambs., the area of the Editor’s greatest on-site knowledge, but an attempt has been made to range over East Anglia. If anyone would like to suggest a parish for one of the next issues, ideas are welcome, but no promises are made, as more information is available on some parishes than others.        JM

Local Access Forum in Cambridgeshire
The Local Access Forum [LAF] is a statutory body which meets to discuss & formulate policy regarding access to the countryside. drawing its membership from a wide range of interested parties. LAF is concerned to recruit people with an active interest in such matters, and the RA is an obvious source of people.

We have been asked by Anneline Wilson of Cambridgeshire County Council to publicise this opportunity, and we give below the contact detail if you are interested .

We are looking to encourage people from all areas and walks of  life who have an interest in the rights of way network and access to the countryside to get involved with the local forum & make a difference.

For more information, please phone the access team or view the website:
01223 717445 or

Quotation of the Month
Here lies John Crossfield, rambler past,
Who walked the footpaths, ‘til at last
One muddy day, it is related,
He was himself, “not reinstated”


Suffolk Surrender!
Some ten years ago, our old friend, John Andrews of Suffolk, wrote a piece about the many cases where rights of way cease abruptly at the county border. At the time, as well as jolly quips about border guards, there was a serious discussion about registration of rights of way, and parish-to-parish continuity.

And now, within the space of one week in February, Roger and I came upon two such cases of improvement. In the first case,  the lack of a right of way on the Suffolk side has been ameliorated by the provision of a permissive link, and publicised by the Parish Council. In the second case , a package of path Orders has established legal links with the path network.  My examples are both to be found on Explorer 210, “Newmarket and Haverhill”.

From Dalham, in East Cambs.,  a road climbs quite steeply W out of the village, passing an attractive windmill. Shortly, taking the left road at a junction, one comes to the start of a signed byway, at TL 718 615.  The map shows “The Old Suffolk Road (track)“. It is a pleasant grassy track, first between hedges, and then affording good views of farmland. With a name like that, one would think it would run for miles, but it doesn’t – it stops in a knot of trees and scrub at the county boundary with Suffolk, TL 718 603.  The map shows no continuation in Suffolk, but we had been there before, and had sneaked out, doing no harm, along one field boundary or another. On this occasion, there was a clear headland track beside a ditch running E to the B1085 at TL 722 604.  Here there was a wooden post.  It didn’t actually have a waymark upon it, but looked as though it might once have done so!. We turned along the road back to Dalham, and came upon a display board, with a parish map. And lo, here was the permissive path shown on the map, and the legend suggested the little circuit we had just completed, as one of a series of options. Good.  But how much better if this had been made a public right of way; added to the Suffolk Definitive Map; and, in due course, shown on OS Sheet 210.

Then, just two days later, we started a walk in Kirtling, East Cambs, on the report from a friend that a new bridge had been seen to go up in an unexpected place. We left the road near Mill Cottage, at TL 695 566, and, for the first time, took a path reinstated across an arable field, generally SE to a stream at TL 703 559. This used to be a dead-end, but here, indeed, was a fine new bridge with handrail, and a posted Confirmation Order showing the revised path network on the Suffolk side. All was laid out clearly on a map, and legal explanations appended. There were even some waymarks. The new footpath allowed us to continue for the first time, beside the stream, to emerge on the minor road called “The Thrift” at TL 697 554. This gives a good footpath continuation opposite to Sharps Green, and thence back to Kirtling.

We were a bit premature to use this path, as there were two pleasant contractors still building the bridge!  However, we followed the alternative option, a new path mostly along field edges, to the Bradley Road at TL 707 548, near Dowels Farm (replacing one which had run mostly across fields, and had tangled with horse-paddocks at Banstead’s Farm). The paperwork suggested some other dead-end paths had been closed as part of the package, but this looked like a fair bargain.

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 20p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and a 20p 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


Price 20 pence where sold

Cantab 46 © Janet Moreton, 2008.

CANTAB45 February 2008

CANTAB45 February 2008 published on

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


Somewhere to sit down?
It’s getting a bit late to wish you “Happy New Year”, so I shall say, “Welcome Spring”, albeit a little prematurely.

This has been the season not only for brisk Winter walks, but also a good deal of armchair walking, and planning strategies for the longer days. I visualise maps, the guide books, diary, perhaps holiday catalogues, a beverage to hand, and most important, a comfortable chair, with good lumbar support.

When out-of-doors, how often do you sit down? On most walks, one takes a mid-morning break, sometimes a brief afternoon teatime stop, and indeed, the lunchbreak may well be taken as a picnic. Sitting on the ground is not much fun in Winter. Where do you sit down?

Cambridge City riverside and open spaces serve its residents and tourists quite well in this respect.  Some Cambs villages, such as Thriplow, Coton, Whittlesford and Toft are well-blessed with seats on public open spaces and near road junctions. Generally the recreation ground in a village will have a bench or so, and perhaps a sheltered seat under a pavillion (but don’t count on it!).  In cold, wind or rain, try the sanctuary of a bus shelter, or a church porch.

For the less able, or someone recovering from an injury, the need to sit down at regular intervals becomes a necessity. The best options are then country parks and the like.  Top of this list is Magog Down, with a memorial seat every 100m!  Wandlebury does fairly well, but the seats become sparser towards the Roman Road. Milton Country Park has a good supply of rather austere benches.  Of our local National Trust properties, Anglesey Abbey is well supplied with resting places, but Wimpole has very few away from the vicinity of the house, other than a couple of benches near the lake.  Why are there no seats up by the viewpoint in front of the folly? I once led an elderly relative up there, only to have to prop her, panting, against a tree!

Perhaps walks organisers should consider the need to sit down, amongst the many factors pertinent to a well-planned walk. Fallen or felled trunks or stout branches in the countryside are an obvious solution, so long as the tree from which they derived is not waiting to drop a further limb on unwary travellers.  Then there might be a section of wall – mind it doesn’t collapse! For those who don’t sit comfortably on flat ground, what about the edge of a ditch or a bank, “I know a bank whereon the wild thyme blows...”

Finally, one can carry one’s own seat, of which various commercial versions are available.  The snag with all is they add weight and bulk to the rucksac. Think about it.  So are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin…

Janet Moreton

A ‘Missing Link’ path in Willingham – can anyone help?
In 1995, Willingham Parish Council was successful in having a new Public Footpath added to the Definitive Map, on the basis that people had used the path “as of right” over a 20-year period, so that it could now be deemed to be a public right of way.  The path runs west from the corner of the Rampton Road at TL 408 695, to the southern end of Mill Road at TL 404 695.  Unfortunately although Mill Road itself is recorded as a public road for most of its length, there is a short section of the unmade road over which no public rights seem to have been recorded.  Historically, the road was used during the WWII for the transport of fruit;  but since then there have been arguments as to whether it was intended to be public, and now there is a gate across its southern end which is often locked so that people have to squeeze round the gate-posts in order to reach the public footpath on the other side.

Willingham Parish Council is seeking to redress the situation by claiming Public Footpath rights along the unregistered stretch of Mill Road, again on the basis that people have walked it freely for many years.  If anyone can help with evidence of their own usage (during any period, but obviously the longer, the better!), you are invited to contact the Parish Clerk at The Parish Office, Ploughman Hall, West Fen Road, Willingham CB24 5LP, or by e-mail to .

Roger Moreton

Duxford / Hinxton rail crossing opened at last!
In 1981, when preparing a total survey of path problems in South Cambridgeshire, one of our first complaints to Cambs.C.C. was that of missing stiles to cross the Cambridge-Liverpool Street railway line at TL 491451. Duxford Footpath 8 should have been accessible across the line from Hinxton Footpath 4.  Over the years, in our capacity as RA Footpath Secretaries for South Cambridgeshire, we complained again and again…and again. Promises were made and nothing happened.  Then last year, Cambs.C.C. approached the Rail Regulator, who decreed that Network Rail must open the public right of way, and erect stiles over the railside fences.

The immediate outcome was that, around Christmas, Network Rail put up notices at the site “Walkers using footpath 8 Duxford, 4 Hinxton are requested to use the route shown in green on the map below.  Network Rail is in process of applying for a formal modification of the definitive map”.

Users were directed along a grass track adjacent to the railway, emerging beside a roadside level crossing at TL 494445.  As an alternative route to Hinxton, this could hardly have been longer. A similar notice had been erected here, and alongside, was an indignant hand-printed notice “The instructions of Network Rail to use this land as a footpath have been placed without the consent of any of the landowners, who have not been consulted regarding these proposed changes.”.  We reported the on-site notices to Cambs C.C., and returned two weeks later, having been told the stiles were in position at the proper place.

Yes, we found that you can cross the line here: the stiles in the railway fence are good, and there are boards over the railway lines for safe pedestrian use. A few hazards remain.  On the Duxford side of the line, there is a double fence, and no stile over the farmer’s rabbit-netting, supported by a single low wire, that is not too difficult to step over.  On the Hinxton side, one soon encounters a crossing fence in the grass field. We found a single delicate plank stile here with a crack in it – very dangerous!  Preferably circumnavigate this, to proceed through scrub, which has grown up in the years when the crossing was unusable.  Beyond the junction with Hinxton Footpath 1 & 3, at TL 493448 a clear path goes ahead to the level crossing at TL 494445, or one can turn left across the field to Hinxton Mill. Naturally, we have reported the above remaining problems, and hope to have them resolved soon. Meanwhile, please do use this path, for which we have fought hard for very many years.  If there are still problems, then do report to Cambs.C.C.

Janet Moreton

Parish of the Month – Hinxton
After the exciting developments with the long-lost path over the railway, I could not but choose Hinxton as “Parish of the Month”, although there are reservations, as noted below.

The little village is sited on a chalky rise by the floodplain of the River Cam or Granta and 2 out of 4 of its footpaths cross the low-lying fields, becoming occasionally impassable in a wet Winter or Spring. The other two lead to the A1301, one behind the church, the other near the Stump Cross junction, which is reached from Mill Lane at Ickleton.  The remainder of the parish, extending the other side of the A1301, has not a single right of way.  However, as well as the rights-of-way from village to floodplain, there are in addition, a permissive path along the river bank, and others elsewhere, including in the grounds of the old Hinxton Hall, the Genome Campus, a vast new development which has put Hinxton on the map. Some of the permissive paths are labelled for use of local residents only, to the disgust of other ramblers. In particular, that along the raised river bank (marked for villagers only) is sometimes the only feasible route, when the fields are underwater.

But do visit Hinxton – the attractive C17th restored Watermill is in the hands of the Cambridge Preservation Society, and is open some Summer Sundays, when teas are provided. Generally, floods permitting, it is possible to walk across the fields to Ickleton, or in the other direction from the Mill towards Duxford.  Cyclists have been considered recently, by construction of a tarmac cycleway / footway beside the A1301 towards the MacDonalds at the major Sawston roundabout. It would be possible to walk to Sawston this way, but really not very pleasant.

The village is picturesque, with attractive thatched cottages, and some fine timbered structures. The church, dating from the C14th, is set back in Church Green behind the war memorial.  There is a Norman doorway (now blocked) to the North, and within the South porch, a moulded C15th doorway with traceried oak door.  The graceful tapered leaded spire can be seen to best effect across the meadows.  The Red Lion Hostelry is housed in one of the fine timbered buildings. There is no shop. A bus service runs once an hour from Cambridge via Sawston.

A three mile circuit from Hinxton
Map – Explorer 209
Park considerately in the wide main street. Walk N, admiring the old properties on the right, noticing the former front doors are 2 feet from the ground, a flood precaution.  Turn left down the lane to the Mill. Footpath 1 is signed passing behind the Mill Buildings, and crossing a bridge over the sluice. Shortly the path divides. The raised path along the river bank is signed for villagers only: the hoi-poli turn half-right, off the river bank. There is a permissive path which goes along in the field, fenced beside the river bank, which will take you to the side of the railway at TL 493448. The right of way goes diagonally across the pasture directly to this point.  Continue SSE beside the railway, to emerge on the road at a level crossing. Cross the railway and turn left immediately through a kissing gate into a grass field, which cross diagonally,  cutting off a corner of the road, rejoined at TL 494443. Cross the road, turn right, and  soon enter a field by a sign. Go forward to use a footbridge on the left. Follow the worn path through the pasture, to emerge up a charming sunken lane and through a tall iron gate into Butchers Lane, Ickleton. Turn right, and find the signpost for a narrow walled lane leading towards the church, famed for its wall-paintings. Emerge by a pleasant green, where there is a circular seat.  (Turn right for the shop and recreation ground.) Turn left for the church and to circle the old part of the village, returning to Butchers Lane, and the sunken path from which you had emerged. Retrace as far as the footbridge, but now continue forward in the fields, noting a cemetery chapel away to the right. Pass a junction in a sunken lane at TL 491444. Continue ahead, first between hedges and fences, then across open fields, passing into Duxford parish.  Go through a hedge at a T-junction, and turn right on a good grass path.  Shortly, another junction is reached at TL 488452. The left branch leads past a rubbish heap to a stile giving onto the road to Duxford. The right branch leads to the newly constructed stiles over the railway.  Cross with care. Once back in Hinxton, continue in the field beside the railway and reach the ricketty stile (hopefully mended). Cross or avoid to the left, and pass through an overgrown area. Reach a kissing-gate at a junction of paths, and return to Hinxton Mill – perhaps for variety along the permissive path fenced at the foot of the flood bank?

Extensions (making 8 to 12 miles in all depending how much Strethall is explored)
Use the above circuit as a core route,  continuing the walk through Great Chesterford, via the Icknield Way path towards Strethall and returning to Ickleton down the quiet road over Coploe Hill.

Linton – Great Chesterford Ridge:
Wind Turbine Threat
Many local people are very concerned about the proposed development of an enormous wind farm on land between Linton, Hadstock, The Abingtons and Great Chesterford.  The area contains many attractive paths, some of which will be very close to the proposed turbines.  People who walk & ride in this area are worried that the rural tranquility will be lost and outstanding views ruined by these industrial structures.

A planning application is expected soon.
For more information, contact the Action Group at

(Information provided by an Essex member of The Action Group)

Cantab Rambler 45 by E-Mail & Post
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This is a privately produced magazine, and the views expressed are solely those of the editor, or of the author of an individual item. Janet Moreton 01223 356889


Price 20 pence where sold  © Janet Moreton, 2008