Skip to content

Document Header

Content Header

CANTAB35 March 2006

CANTAB35 March 2006 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


With Spring advancing, we will all be more  willing to revisit walks on the heavy clay lands. Parish of the Month – Croydon cum Clopton, has some excellent walking, but also some heavy cross-field paths which are only recommended when the surface has dried.  Most of the paths are in good order, but two or three have a reputation for tardy cross-field reinstatement, so should you find these out of order, please report your findings (with date of observation) to Kate Day, Head of Countryside Access Team, Cambridgeshire County Council, or just send an e-mail to me.

Janet Moreton

Croydon cum Clopton
Landranger Sheet 153 (Bedford & Hunts.) Pathfinder Sheets 1026 (Royston), 1003. Explorer Sheet 208 (Bedford & St Neots)

There were originally 2 medieval parishes, which were united in 1561.  Enclosure of the open field system was complete by 1600. Evidence exists of prehistoric settlement, and more abundant traces of Roman occupation. Valley Farm excavations found Roman seal-ring, broach, and pottery. Signs of a small riverside Roman villa  amounted to not only bricks & roof tiles but also a sandstone pillar, painted wall-plaster, and mosaic fragments.

The sad story of Clopton
Excavations of the deserted village at Clopton also found traces of Roman occupation, followed by early and late Anglo-Saxon settlements. Pocot, the Norman Sherrif, cultivated his garden here in 1086. The village expanded in the C12th, and by the C13th growth was such that the hill above the site was terraced to allow for expansion. The road to Croydon was improved with side-drainage, and the High Street cobbled and re-aligned round the church.

One Manor House, Clopton Bury, owned by Robert Hoo in late C13th, is now only visible as an approximately circular moat in the NE of the site. From the late C14th, Bury Manor passed to owners outside the village.    The other manor, Rowses, (located S of Rowses Wood) was held by the Bishop of Winchester until the mid-C12th, when it passed to the Crown. Both manors were held by the Haselden family in the C14th, and passed to the Cloptons in the C15th.

Clopton reached its peak of importance in the C14th.  There was a Friday market from the C13th, and a new church dated from 1352.  About 1490, the land was bought by the Fisher family, who converted the ridge and furrow agriculture to sheep-pasture.  By use of lawsuits of dubious legality, they forced their neighbours, including the rector, from their land.  In 1525, only 5 labourers remained in Clopton, and in 1561, when only 2 houses remained and the church lay in ruins, the village was declared extinct, and the parish combined with Croydon.

Tailboys Manor, well documented before C16th, may have stood S of the village, between moats which were destroyed in 1968.  Frances Manor was sold in C16th to Anthony Cage of Longstowe.  His son built Croydon Wilds (named on some old maps), but this house with a brick tower was demolished in the 1950s.  In all there are 5 deserted moated sites. Croydon shrank in the C15th, and earthworks of house-platforms can be seen SW of the church. The church itself, of the decorated period,  stands up the lane leading to Manor Farm. The interior arcades & walls all lean outwards. The Norman font and Jacobean pulpit remain.  Red-brick rebuilding of the chancel and part of the south transept are attributal to Sir George Downing (buried here in 1684). By this period, Croydon had become part of the estate of the Downing family, so interesting maps and records survive in Downing College, Cambridge.

In 1996, the population of the combined parish was about 200 people.

Walking the paths
Walking is on clay 25m above sea level by the R.Cam or Rhee, but going up to 75 m on the steep chalk slope above the village. The parish has 23 rights of way, a majority in good order.

The Clopton Way, named after the deserted village, runs for 11 miles between Gamlingay and Wimpole.  It enters the parish from the E along fp 7 from Arrington, turns briefly S down the lane from Manor Farm, and follows Croydon High Street, past the “Queen Adelaide” public house.  Crossing Larkins Road, the route continues along bp 13, to visit the medieval site of Clopton (which has an information panel at the entrance to the site).  The path continues W, with good views of the Rhee Valley, and of the high land in Hertfordshire to the S.  The path crosses a drive (to Top Farm and the B1042), soon leaving Croydon parish, before continuing to New England Farm, Cockayne Hatley, Potton Wood, and Gamlingay.

Recommended circuits from Croydon.
There is a small carpark at the junction of High Street with Larkins Road, otherwise  suggested parking  (not Sundays) is on the verge near the church.  Very limited space exists along the narrow street in the village.  For some circuits, parking at Wimpole or Hatley may be preferred.

(1) Old moats.  1.5 miles
From Croydon, go SSE on fp 21 from the village noticeboard on High Street, at TL 313493 to the B1042, where turn right (W), and return on fp 20 to the High Street.
Fp 21, starts down a field edge, but soon launches out across a large arable field, continuing through 2 more  little fields to the road. (This route is best in dry conditions!) The return fp 20 follows field edges, giving good views of old moats, and returns to the village up an old wooded lane, emerging beside a garden.  Time to visit the pub!

(2) Croydon, Wendy, Wimpole, Arrington  ca. 7 miles
From Croydon High Street, take the signed fp 20 down the wooded lane, then following field edges to the B1042. Turn left along the road verge to find the signed fp 18 going SSE along a grass baulk towards the R Rhee. It continues across a short stretch of field to the river bank, where the path turns right, crossing a footbridge over a side-stream, and then a second bridge over the river.  It enters a paddock behind the Church Farm complex, Wendy. Follow waymarks past the farmyard & out down the drive. You have now left Croydon behind, since the river forms the parish boundary, but walk left (E) along the road. Beyond the church, find a signpost for a path on the right crossing a short piece of arable, before zig-zagging round grass headlands to the edge of Road Farm, on the Old North Road. Turn N up the verge, and cross with care to use the bridleway E along the North Road farm-drive.  Beyond the farm, turn left (N) up the Avenue, skirting an overgrown lake, and continuing to cross the A603 near the transport café. Continue over a stile opposite, and through kissing-gates to the Wimpole drive. Turn left (W) along the drive. Cross Old North Road, and walk through Arrington to the Church.  Turn right up Church Lane, and follow the Clopton Way markers up steps into & through a pasture, joining a route running along by a belt of trees. This skirts a modern (fortified?) farmhouse, and becomes fp 7 in Croydon. At TL 313499, the path does a sharp turn SE by a tall hedge, and leads down past the church back to Croydon.

(3) Hill climbing!
Three paths fps 8, 10, and 12 lead from High street onto the ridge, and give access to some fine walking towards Hatley.

Fp 8 starts up the drive beside the Queen Adelaide pub, and goes up steeply through paddocks, crossing 2 stiles. It skirts the garden of a house on the hill and continues N in a narrow hedged way, to join bp 6 from Manor Farm, at the corner of farm buildings.

Fp 10 starts up the side of a house, signed on High Street, crosses a stile, and goes a little less steeply up a grassy field. Fp 12 goes over a stile beyond the last house in the village, again up the field.  All join the ridge-route, fp 9,  at the top, leading to Croydon Hill Road. (Note fp 11, nominally joining fps 8 & 10 is blocked by an electricity sub-station, at ca. TL 312 494).

(4) Three options N from Croydon –  an easy circuit; or towards Hatley; or Old North Road: 3.5 miles; 10 miles plus; or 8 miles.

From High Street, take one of the routes described in Section (3) up the hill, and emerge on Croydon Hill Road at TL 305494. Turn right on the road, and soon right again to join Croydon fp 5, which follows a field-edge by a decayed belt of trees to TL 299508.* Here turn right following the track by the hedge, and right again at TL 303510.**  Follow bp 6 back through Manor farmyard, past the church to the village.  This bridleway is lined with daffodils in March.

For a longer circuit, from *, turn left through a gate, and follow the bp back to the road.

Turn right, and soon you pass into Hatley parish. Visit East Hatley Church, whose structure has recently been wonderfully restored. Take  good bridleways to the N of the Hatleys over to Hayley Wood, returning to **,  thence back to Croydon via Manor Farm.

A third option, turns left at **, and takes bridleways along firm farmtracks (bps 3, 2) to the site of Croydon Wilds at TL 304515. Continue to TL 300 522, to turn right, NE along the attractive, wooded Croydon Old Lane (br 1). This continues in the parish of Longstowe, to meet the Old North Road. Walk S down the verge, turning back towards Croydon on a path starting just beyond the woodland at TL 322522. This path becomes Croydon bp 3, and joins bp 6, leading back to Manor Farm.  (Of the little stub of path, Croydon fp 23, at TL 307 515, there is no trace on the ground.  At one time, this joined the dead-end path in Arrington, but the centre portion was extinguished, thus depriving walkers of a valuable circuit).

(5) A circuit W and S of Croydon. 6 miles.
Warning! This route is not for the faint-hearted! The routes of the rights of way in Shingay are not easy to find, and may be in long vegetation.

Walk W along High Street, to find fp 19, at TL 311 492, with its sign pointing S across an arable field, the path often not reinstated. Go diagonally across the field to a footbridge, and then an easy field edge, and lane lead to Larkins Road. Go S and cross the B1042, to find fp 17 signed over a stile. Cross a grass field, looking for a bridge over a ditch hidden in the hedge opposite. Cross the next field, to a high bridge over the Rhee.  A path continues in Shingay, sometimes nettly, beside the moats of the site of the medieval Knights Templar hospice. Emerge onto the minor road; turn right (W) and re-enter the field adjacent to the Manor Farm drive.  The route of the bridleway crosses the river on a wide bridge , becoming bp 16 in Croydon.  This continues pleasantly in the river meadows, emerging through a gate  onto the B1042 by a large house (formerly the Downing Arms pub, then known as the “scratching cat”). Walk W along the road verge, cross, and go up the drive towards Top Farm, turning right at the path junction to return to Croydon on the Clopton Way, bp 13.

Further reading
Archaeology of Cambridgeshire – Vol 1.
SW Cambridgeshire by Alison Taylor
Cambs. C.C. 1997.  pp. 36 – 37.
ISBN 1 870724 84 4
Cambridgeshire, a Shell Guide by Norman Scarfe   Faber & Faber, 1983. p.118
ISBN 0 571 09817 7
Clopton Way – leaflet publ. by Cambs.CC (undated) 40p.

A bit of Culture?
Until 1 July this year, the University Library has a (free) exhibition, entitled, “Visible Language” It celebrates ways in which the poet Dante (1265 – 1321) has been interpreted in text & image over seven centuries.

On a damp day, we took a walk along The Backs, and looked for snowdrops in Burrell’s Walk, before  seeking shelter in the exhibition. Here was an unexpected feast for the eyes..

I noted a suitable quotation, too:
“In the midway of this our mortal life, I found me in a gloomy wood, astray. Gone from the path direct…”
Inferno, 1 -3, trans. H.F.Cary

More about Bassingbourn Barracks – Letter to the Editor…
“As you know I walked thru BB with the RR (Royston Ramblers) on Sunday 15th Jan.

Just to let you know outcome.  I called into G Room on Sat to remind them we were coming. A kindly guard gave me his mobile no. in case the ‘phones were down again.

There were 26 of us on Sunday…Gulp. I rang ahead, 10 mins notice but no-one was at the gate. After 5 mins I rang again-somebody on way. Another delay & a member of the gp noticed a soldier gesticulating from a gate further N. I waved back but told gp we were not to use incorrect gate & called GR again.  Apparently the wrong entrance had been listed in the ‘daily orders’ that  reminded  GR we were coming [!]

A very nice Sgt walked us through, gave us copies of 1945 aerial photo of site & talked about Memphis Belle. Said they always welcomed visitors ??[visitors????]

At one point path has been encroached on by a fence & is only 12 to 18 in wide. Probably why I was told on another occasion that path was built on & impassable as that soldier was rather portly. We squeezed through.

So we did it but it didn’t feel like an everyday ramble on a public R o W.
Regards Sue

From Sue Hedges

Unrecorded Public paths
The Summer 2004 issue of “Open Space” contained a thoughtful article by Chris Beney on how unrecorded rights of way in town and countryside may be lost. Noting the “slow-motion” action in registering some “Lost Ways” by Cambs.C.C., I am disposed to ponder the issue afresh.  The Countryside & Rights of Way Act 2000 imposed a cut-off date of January 2026, when all footpaths and bridleways that existed in England and Wales prior to 1949, but were not on the definitive map, would be extinguished, and have public rights removed. The Act went on to note exceptions, but, generally, we should assume that action needs to be taken now to collect evidence of such unrecorded paths, and to have them processed by Highway Authorities, and added to the County’s Definitive Map by means of a legal Order. The Act will not affect fresh dedications of paths based on evidence of a recent 20 year periods of unchallenged public usage.

The Countryside Agency and DEFRA are working with other organisations to record “Lost Ways”, and Cambs. C.C. has a “Lost Ways” project, looking at a few dozen candidates within the county. The legal searches seem to take a very long time for each path, and only a very few paths seem to be added to the Definitive Map annually.  We are concerned that many of those paths for which evidence has been collected will not have been processed by 2026, both in Cambridgeshire and elsewhere.  DEFRA has indicated the government’s intention to amend the law by Statutory Instrument to exempt paths for which claims had been registered, but not processed by 2026.  But we would be unwise to rely on this, as governments and their attitudes can change (several times!) in the intervening years.

Chris Beney lists categories of paths he considers most at risk: (a) alleyways & short links between other ways; (b) farmtracks, paths & lanes, perhaps unsurfaced, which may or may not be on the County’s “list of streets”; (c) short cuts across corners; and (d) the numerous errors on the definitive map, where the path stops just short of its destination. Chris Beney gives the example that a locked gate across a track on 2 Jan 2026 could destroy the through route!

Action?  Local knowledge is vital. E.G.
Residents of Little Shelford have recently claimed two “Lost Ways” for which Cambs.C.C. is considering the evidence (slowly). Can you help?  Think about it.

Janet Moreton

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post:  Issue 35.
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 10p 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


Issue 35; Price 10 pence where sold

© Janet Moreton, 2006.

CANTAB30 May 2005

CANTAB30 May 2005 published on

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


Following the November 2004 issue of “Cantab“, which was given over almost entirely to Balsham, as parish of the month, I received a modest amount of feedback.  Some folk said that, while they had enjoyed reading of the history of Balsham, and suggestions for less obvious walks, they would have liked the usual additional “snippets” of local walking information.

One other comment was to the effect that a comprehensive discourse on a parish was appreciated, but enlarging the magazine would allow for other topics to be covered!  For reasons of time and economy of paper, there are no plans to increase the size of “Cantab” at present, so I resolved to keep the popular “Parish of the Month” series within bounds. However, in this issue, there seemed much to say about Gamlingay, so the resolve has, once again, been stretched.  So I hope you will find something of interest in the discussion of South Camb’s most outlying parish!

Janet Moreton

Parish of the Month – Gamlingay
(OS Landranger Sheet 153, Explorer 208)
Normally, I would chose the month’s parish for its paths – either a dense network allowing a wide variety of walks, or at least a set or well-maintained or interesting paths which allow circuits.  Gamlingay has neither of these things!  It has 13 rights of way, but these constitute a rather fragmentary network. Note, however, that waymarks on local paths were recently renewed by Ramblers’ Association volunteers from Cambridge Group.  The parish does have mostly a dry sandy soil, giving good walking in damp weather; it lies at the ends of two long distance paths; and it has three nature reserves, of which one, Gamlingay Wood, allows particularly pleasant walking.

Buildings and history (1, 2)
Gamlingay is an interesting place, with the atmosphere of a little town.  Although just within South Cambs. District, its red-brick buildings in the old quarter have more the atmosphere of Bedfordshire and the Midlands.

Gamlingay, “the land of Gamlea’s people”, grew up on the N side of the valley of the Millbridge Brook. Domesday records give the name as Gamelinge or Gamelingei. From medieval times, it was always the largest settlement in the locality, and retained its traders and craftsmen after the loss of its market, following a devastating fire in 1600. The parish church of St Mary the Virgin is in the Decorated & Perpendicular style, the interior containing some C15th woodwork.  The almshouses in Church Street were built 65 years after the fire.

Merton Manor Farm had connections with Merton College, Oxford, from 1268, when Walter de Merton bought the estate, and passed it to his house of scholars. Parts of the present farm date from the C15th.

A manor house belonging to the Avenel family is recorded from the C12th to the C14th at Dutter End.  The house is gone but the hedged bank of its deer park is still visible in places. In 1712, Sir George Downing bought the old deer park, and used material from his manor house in East Hatley to build a mansion in formal gardens.  Sadly, this house was demolished only 50 years after its building, following family feuds, after Sir George Downing’s fortune went to the founding of Downing College, Cambridge in 1800.

Natural History
Gamlingay is a very large parish, at a height of 25 – 75 m,  mostly on the greensand, but with patches of clay in the far north & south of the parish, and also to the east of the village itself. Very poor drainage in some places has created acidic bogs.

The Wildlife Trust guide (3) describes 3 nature reserves within the parish.

Gamlingay Meadow, TL 222 510, is approached from the road to Gamlingay Great Heath & Sandy.  After 1.5 miles a track leads to the reserve accessible through a kissing-gate, and one is advised to park on the verge.  The meadow is a residual fragment of the heath on acidic greensand which once covered this area. It is adjacent to an attractive wood of birch and beech (inaccessible).  The meadow comprises an area where the sand is thin, and the underlying gault clay produces boggy grassland. Plants noted in season are marsh willowherb, and marsh birds-foot trefoil.

The other end of the meadow lies on Footpath 4,an earlier turning off the same road, and which is part of a through route to Potton, and can be incorporated into a wider walk.

Gamlingay Cinques, TL 226 529, is a small area of gorse, rough grass and trees.  It was once quarried for sand, creating hollows which expose the underlying neutral gault clay, thus creating unique botanical habitats. At suitable seasons expect heather, heath bedstraw, ladies smocks and slender St John’s wort.
Adjacent to the reserve is a most useful car park, regularly frequenterd by walkers on the Clopton Way (4), and the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge walks (5).

Gamlingay Wood an SSSI, has car-parking at TL 241 537, off the B1040 to Waresley.  It consists of 120 acres of ancient mixed wood-land, parts of which belonged to Merton College, Oxford from 1268 to 1959, and is one of the best documented woods in the UK. The ancient wood grows on a mixture of soils, and is especially good for wildflowers in April and May, with oxlip, dog’s mercury, bluebell, yellow archangel, violets and wood anemone. A circuit of the woodland, making about 2 miles, is highly recommended. There are clear paths, punctuated with benches, and  several rides cross the wood.

More recently has been added a substantial area (Sugley “Wood”) to the east, which is being allowed to revert to scrub and natural woodland, encouraged by deliberate seeding from the adjacent old trees.

Do not attempt to walk to the wood along the B1040 from either Gamlingay or Waresley – there is no footway and the road is busy.  Instead, take Footpath 1 from Dutter End at TL 246 525.  Where the right of way turns left on a track at TL 244 527, instead turn right on a permitted path, courtesy of Merton College, Oxford.  At ca. TL 245 530, turn left on a newly planted avenue, and walk up to the rear of the wood, where a kissing-gate gives access at TL 243 533.

Walking opportunities
The Clopton Way(4)  is an 11 mile linear walk to Wimpole, starting from Gamlingay Cinques carpark. It traverses Potton Wood, and visits the interesting church at Cockayne Hatley, Beds.  Passing back into Cambs. at Hatley Gate, the path runs along the ridge above the B1042, going through the site of Clopton medieval village. The route continues through Croydon (perhaps with a refreshment break at The Queen Adelaide?), before using paths into Arrington, and finishes in style down the driveway to Wimpole Hall.

The Clopton Way is covered by OS Landranger Sheets 153, 154.  A leaflet is available from Cambridgeshire County Council (tel.01223 717450).  Note that waymarks along the route are presently rather faded or decayed, but there should be no route-finding problems.

The Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge Walk(5) is a 40 mile linear route, which starts over the Cambs. border at Gamlingay Cinques carpark. It follows a prominent line of hills across Bedfordshire, in attractive scenery, and on mostly dry soils of the lower greensand geological deposit.  From Gamlingay, the well-waymarked route runs SW very pleasantly through parkland, passing Woodbury Hall, to Everton, where there is a pub. The line continues on a bridleway through the RSPB reserve at Sandy Warren, and descends to lower ground through Beeston, and Northill.  Trending S, then W, the route passes through Haynes, then makes for Clophill. The path passes Houghton House (John Bunyan’s “Palace Beautiful”), and reaches its half-way mark in Ampthill. The walk goes through Eversholt and Woburn, and finishes in Leighton Buzzard.

A leaflet is available from Bedfordshire Leisure Services Tourist Info Office, Bedford, 10 St Pauls Square, MK40 1SL, 01234 215226,  Landranger Sheets 153 and 165 cover the route.

Local walks round Gamlingay
The shortage of paths in the wider locality (and especially in the adjacent Waresley parish) makes it difficult to arrange longer circular routes based on Gamlingay, but the following short circuit of 3.5miles within the village gives an impression of the area.  If combined with a visit to Gamlingay Cinques reserve and there-and-back visits to Gamlingay Wood from Dutter End, and Gamlingay meadow from Dennis Green, the route could be extended to up to 9 miles.

From the church, walk E up Church End to Dutter End.  At TL 246 526, turn NW on Footpath 1 on a track between fields. At TL 244 528, optionally  turn right for Gamlingay Wood, but to continue the circuit, turn left here, trending W to exit on Arenells Way.  Turn left, and walk to Church Street. (Note the almshouses on the left). Turn right to the cross-roads in the village. Continue ahead to Green End, to find a “Public Footpath ” sign in front of the Wale Group Building.  Footpath 10 wends its way, mostly in a fenced defile, between industry and housing onto Gamlingay Cinques Road.  Turn left to walk down the road to Gamlingay Cinques carpark. (Visit the reserve, if desired, via a kissing gate at rear of car-park). To continue the circuit turn left in front of the carpark, across rough grass, and onto a grassy access track between houses.  The track (Footpath 9) passes between properties, and continues between fenced paddocks.  At TL 226 526, turn left onto Footpath 8.  This goes SE as a grass/earth track between fences and hedges, emerging on a gravel access drive onto Heath Road at TL 231 520. (Optionally, turn right on the road for an out-and-back visit Gamlingay Meadow, turning left at the sign, TL 227 517). Otherwise, turn left along the road, then turn right (S) down Dennis Green, which veers E, and leads you back towards the village.Emerging from West Road, turn left on Mill Street.

Next to house 19A, cycle barriers control access to Footpath 3,  a passage running E between garden boundaries onto Stocks Lane.  Continue in the same direction along what becomes Station Road, passing the Village College on the right, and Merton Manor House and its dovecote on the left.. Footpath 2 turns off NE at TL 244 521, signed up a tarmac drive, at the end of which the RoW turns left, to continue as a well-used path in grass.  A bridge crosses a stream and the path continues WNW across a small grass field to exit into St Mary’s Road, near the church.

Other Paths
Of the other rights of way in the parish, Footpath 4 to Potton via Potton Bridleway 11.  Presently two of its stiles are in poor condition – take care!
Footpath 5 runs from Potton Road to Potton Wood, continuing as a permissive path in Potton Wood.
Footpath 7 is a somewhat obscure path between Potton Road (where it starts through the gate of Alicattery of Everton) and emerging through the garden of ‘Bladen’, house no. 25, Everton Road.
Footpath 13 is a short cut in the village between Stocks Lane and Mill Street.
Bridleway 11, off Long Lane, (TL 267 531 – 270 523) is well-used, being part of a route between Hatley St George & Little Gransden.  Bridleway 6 needs good nerves, and careful observation of approaching aircraft, as it crosses the Fullers Hill airfield.
Bridleway 12 is an extension of this path, at TL 263 540 joining Bridleway 6 in Little Gransden.

Janet Moreton

Further Reading

1. South Cambridgeshire Official Guide, Publ. South Cambridgeshire District Council.

2. Archaeology of Cambridgeshire, Vol. 1, South West Cambridgeshire, by Alison Taylor
Publ. Cambridgeshire County Council, 1997. ISBN 1 870724 84 4. pp. 51 – 52.

3. Your Guide to Nature Reserves in Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire.
Ed. Sarah Wroot, Publ. The Wildlife Trust, Bedfordshire and Cambridgeshire, 1993. ISBN 0 9520788 0 5. pp. 80 – 85.

4. Clopton Way – Gamlingay to Wimpole.
Folded, illustrated leaflet, with sketch map. Publ. Cambridgeshire County Council, Rural Management Division, undated.  40p.

5. The Greensand Ridge Walk.
A3 folded, illustrated leaflet, with sketch map. Publ. Beds. Leisure Services Dept. (see page 2).

Quotation of the Month
“Landscape is silent until you unlock the codes.  The English landscape with its fields and hedges is just an agreeable and apparently arbitrary patchwork of shape and colour until you know something of its private language.  But when these undulations become ridge and furrow, when that die-straight hedgerow is an enclosure boundary, when those lumps and bumps are a deserted medieval village, then the whole place speaks…”

Penelope Lively, “A house unlocked”. Penguin 2002

Preserving our interests – Some Outdoor Charities
The Open Spaces Society
This Society, formally The Commons, Open Spaces and Footpaths Preservation Society, was founded in 1865, and is Britain’s oldest national conservation body. It campaigns to protect common land, village greens, open spaces and public paths, and the public’s right to enjoy them. It advises local authorities and the public, and manages and preserves open spaces acquired by gift or purchase. A registered charity (214753), it relies on voluntary support from subscriptions, donations and legacies. Local problems are handled via voluntary “local correspondents”. There is a small paid staff at its office:
25A Bell Street, Henley on Thames, Oxon, RG9 2BA. Tel 01491 573535
e-mail   web:

Whilst nearly everyone will have heard of the RSPB, which of you knows of the charity specifically to save our wildflowers?

Plantlife was set up as a registered charity  (No.1959557) in 1989 to protect and save wild plants in their natural habitats. Plantlife now owns 22 nature reserves covering 5000 acres. By purchasing some of the most endangered habitats to create protected reserves, a proportion of the most vulnerable species have been saved. Founded by botanists, a key aspect has been assembling and analysing data on plants at risk.  Reports & recommendations are published regularly. Members (who are invited to name their own subscription) may become local Flora Guardians, support the management of reserves, or help with conservation work in important habitats. Others take part in the Annual Common Plants Survey, or campaign for change through writing letters to policy-makers and the Government.

For more details, contact: Plantlife, The Wild Plant Conservation Charity, 21, Elizabeth Street, London SW1W 9RP.

Information on temporary path works in Cambridgeshire
From time to time, Cambridgeshire County felling, or repairs to a bridge.  Details are published in the local paper (both the Cambridge Evening News, and the Cambridge Weekly News), but it is easy to miss these announcements. You can also find this information on the web at:
(Traffic Delays and Streetworks Information – Current Temporary Road Closures and other Orders).

For example between 21 April and 23 May this year, Godmanchester Footpath No.3 will be closed for weir repairs, affecting access to Portholme.  It is not the intention to report such closures in “Cantab” as they are usually of fairly short duration, and the date could be past before an issue comes into circulation!

Roger Moreton

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 10p 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


Issue 30; Price 10 pence where sold

© Janet Moreton, 2005.