Skip to content

Document Header

Content Header

CANTAB82 August 2015

CANTAB82 August 2015 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


Old Man River…
Roger & I met recently with Karen Champion, to celebrate the installation of new self-closing and kissing gates along the bank of the Old West River between High Bridge Aldreth and the Haddenham pumping engine and an almost stile-free route on both sides of the river between The Lazy Otter and the Newmarket Road, Stretham. Sadly, there is one stile left on the village side of the river close to Bridge House due to lack of space for a kissing gate. Although a self-closing gate would have fitted, the cattle owner was nervous of the gate being propped open to accommodate fishing gear.

Karen is Cambridgeshire County Council’s Public Rights of Way Officer for the whole of East Cambs District, and this project involved much work liaising with several different landowners along the route. Seen on a fine May morning, with clouds scudding across the landscape, the extensive views from the well-mown river bank were a compelling invitation for a good walk, and the Lazy Otter” on the river bank near Stretham is a good place to appease the appetite so engendered.

We talked about the huge density of paths (over a hundred) in Soham, where a group of volunteers have, over the years, installed very many new bridges and gates. Sadly, this group of volunteers has now disbanded as they have become physically less active.

Karen also deals with path matters in the “paddock belt” of East Cambs, and described recent surface improvements and hedge trimming on Gypsy Lane (byway 10) and bridleway 13 in Dullingham. Other path improvements are in Brinkley, and over the District border in Carlton, South Cambs, in association with Karen’s South Cambs colleague, Peter Gaskin.

Why not take a fresh look at East Cambridgeshire? Cambridge Group’s books, “Walks in East Cambs” and “The Fen Rivers Way” are still in print, and available from Lisa Woodburn, tel 01223 245566.

Karen is keen that walkers report East Cambs faults, using either CCC’s call centre 0345 045 5212, or on-line

I must admit I find filling in these forms on-line time-consuming and tedious, especially with several problems in one parish, repeating details common to all, but do give it a try, as the Highways Department refuses to accept complaints by other written means. This must surely reduce the number of complaints going into the system.

Parish of the Month, Stretham
Explorer 226
This parish, South of Ely, is centred on the crossroads of the A1123 and the A10, the latter generally following the line of the Roman Akeman Street north from Cambridge. The fenland sections of this Roman road are thought to have been submerged from the C4th to the C17th. Its successor, turnpiked in 1763, entered the parish at what is now a layby beside the bridge over the Old West River.

The centre of Stretham, The Market Place, has a little triangle, graced by a stone market cross, which, amazingly, has survived since the early C15th. Many of Stretham’s ancient buildings were destroyed in a disastrous fire of 1844. Dates of rebuilding after the fire can be observed from the dates of houses along Top St. A survivor of the fire, the large red-brick house dated 1770 at Plantation Gate, may give an impression of the type of many properties that were destroyed.

What did survive is the church, dating from ca 1400, with a perpendicular stone spire. The spire & tower are relics of the original structure, following major Victorian renovation Parts of the adjacent rectory date from the C14th.

A converted windmill, with a 4-storey tarred brick tower, at the north end of Stretham, TL 512749, is a local landmark.

Stretham’s rarest feature is the Beam Engine, housed in a pump house on the banks of the Old West River, reached via Green End, and used for fen drainage. Built 1831, the engine powered a 37ft diameter scoop wheel, which lifted water at 124 tons per minute. It was last worked in 1941. There is a typical 3-part engine house, the engine (built by Butterley Co.) placed between the boiler-house and the scoopwheel house. Double piston valves were installed in 1909. This impressive engineering construction is open to the public at advertised times.

Stretham has a good selection of public paths, connecting with Ely, Little Thetford, and Wilburton, and allowing shorter strolls around the village.

Stretham lies on the route of two long distance paths. One of these is:
The Fen Rivers Way, running from Cambridge to Kings Lynn, ca 80 km.
Details are available in a small handbook of the same title, available from RA Cambridge Group (tel 01223 245566).

Other walks in the locality are described in “Walks in East Cambridgeshire”, also available from RA Cambridge Group.

The other long-distance path is:
The Black Fen Waterways Trail
This is a circular walk of 105km, passing Stretham Old Engine, and going through Ely, Littleport, Downham Market, Outwell, March, Chattris, Sutton, and back to Stretham. A leaflet was available in 2001 from The Fens Tourism Group, Spalding tel 01775 762715

(Note that the Black Fen Waterways Trail is not to be confused with the Brown Fen Waterways Trail, a circuit of 107 km, passing through Boston, Fosdyke, Surfleet, Spalding, Croyland, Donnington, and Swyneshead.. Yes, I know these places are in Lincolnshire!)

Back in Stretham, the village has excellent facilities, including a bus service to Ely and Cambridge. In the village, the Red Lion and a fish & chip shop are available to sustain the inner man. Along the riverside, are the Fish & Duck, by Holt Fen Bridge, and The Lazy Otter on the Old West River, just off the A10.

Various short walks are available from the village.

(a) From Chapel St, cross the A1123, go down Green End, turn right towards Fieldside, but turn off left (S) onto Fp 20.
Meet Everitts Drove. Turn left, then right onto Green End, and continue to Stretham Old Engine on Old West River. Return to the village along Green End. (2 miles). Alternatively, continue SW on the N bank of the Old West, to lunch at the Lazy Otter, returning on the other bank to Stretham Old Engine. Cross the river, and walk up Green End, (total 6 miles).

(b) Follow route (a) to Everitts Drove.
Turn SW to the Fruit & Vegetable shop on the A10. Go carefully SW on the A10. Cross with great care to join fp 18 past Red Hill farm to the A1123. Turn right, cross over with care, and turn left onto byway 13. Turn right along Mill Drove, and cross the A10 to re-enter the village near the windmill. (total 5 miles)

(c) From the church, take Chapel St, left into Chapel Lane, left onto Reads St, right into Goose Lane, left on Brook Lane, and right onto Plantation Gate. You should now be at TL 516 746, and the start of Fp4, which will lead you into Little Thetford parish. Detour on the branch path S at TL 529 750 to visit Holt Fen Bridge, (built as a result of much campaigning), or continue into Little Thetford. Return on The Burying Way, signed in Little Thetford.. This track was once used to carry coffins from Little Thetford to Stretham for burial. Little Thetford has its own church these days. (5 miles)

Permissive Paths
I recently received some enquiries about permissive or “permitted” paths, and how to find out about them.

There is no simple answer to this. Cambridgeshire County Council does keep a register of those permissive paths where they have been notified by the landowner, but this does not include all paths not on the Definitive Map, nor is the information readily available, although one may enquire about specific paths.

Some of these paths are registered under Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, and information on these is available on the Internet.

Other paths are quite informal, and are perhaps better called “customary” paths. Some, such as several at Longstowe, are signed “Estate Paths”. Some paths are described in local leaflets put out by a parish council, or perhaps a park owner, and may be available in a local shop, or the erstwhile phone box, as at Guilden Morden. Some parishes have useful and attractive path display boards, which may include information on permissive paths. Indeed, several permissive paths in Cambridgeshire have individual display boards showing routes and path availability, but this degree of information is unusual.

Generally, permissive paths, other than those contracted via the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme for a finite length of time, can be closed to the public at any time, at the whim of the landowner.

A route on the riverside meadows near Fen Ditton was recently closed without notice by Gonville & Caius college, having been available without question for many years.

Some paths, (e.g. Part of the Bedfordshire Greensand Ridge Walk near Northill, or part of The Nature Trail at Lackford, Suffolk) are only open at certain times of year.

Ordnance Survey Explorer sheets do in theory have a category (brown dots) for permissive paths, but very few are indicated on the sheets covering Cambridgeshire.

I sympathise with the gentleman who prompted my putting these thoughts together and agree that one can see waymarks for the start of an unfamiliar permissive path, and have no idea where they may be leading….

Janet Moreton

The Cambridgeshire RA Walking Programme
Going back at least to 1993, Cambs RA has enjoyed a printed walking programme containing the walks of the constituent groups. Over the years, many people have been involved in making this possible, including those who lead walks, the programme secretaries of each Group, the programme co-ordinator, and those getting the material checked and printed, and posted to each group member. Many Groups will remember happy evenings stuffing envelopes when it was their turn to send out the programme, often to the accompaniment of coffee and cake, or perhaps a glass of wine.

Sadly, it seems likely this is to cease. With the exception of East Cambs Group, the groups are continuing to produce their walking programmes, and these will be available on line, as they have been for the last few years. But there will be no co-ordinated printed programme this Autumn.

The reason goes back to the Cambs Area AGM held last Spring, where no-one came forward to be Area Chairman. RA Headquarters have taken the view that without a Chairman, there is no Area organisation, and therefore they will not fund or support a Cambs Area printed programme.

Lisa Woodburn of Cambridge Group has been willing to co-ordinate the set of group programmes, but in absence of funds for posting, it seems very unlikely that the usual booklet of county walks will go out.

It is hoped that RA HQ will pay the groups to circulate their own programmes. Yes, it is possible to view the programmes on the websites, but not everyone has a computer, and if they have a computer, they may not have a printer. The booklet of walks in something received by each member, part of the “togetherness” of the group, giving a more real feeling of community than the membership of the Ramblers’ Association as a whole, valuable as this is. We have sat companionably over our lunch on a Saturday walk, with our programmes open, discussing who will be able to come next Saturday, and who is the new leader in a few weeks’ time… I have a shelf full of old programmes, which have been used on at least two occasions when giving evidence of usage of a disputed path at a public inquiry.

My personal feeling is that RA HQ have treated us shabbily in this matter. Comments are invited.
Janet Moreton

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab now appears four times a year. 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. 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
Cantab82 © Janet Moreton, 2015.

CANTAB51 April 2009

CANTAB51 April 2009 published on

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


As the mud dries out on the field paths, lingering only amongst the violets and dog’s mercury in the woods, we look out our sunhats, and seek new venues, or at least paths which have been impassable all Winter.  In this issue, find reports of three new bridges which allow some interesting circuits, and consider some “Watery Ways” in the parish of Wicken or along the Fen Rivers Way.
Janet Moreton

New Bridges

Path Creation at Rampton
See OS Explorer 225
A new bridge and a new bridlepath (Br8)  have been provided at Rampton. A substantial bridge now crosses Reynolds Ditch at  TL 415674, and the new path, with a fine rubble surface, runs approximately N to join an old hedged lane, which meets the main road between Rampton and Willingham, at TL 415685. Thus it becomes possible to make a short circuit from Rampton, eg down Cuckoo Drove, Reynolds Drove, N up the new bridleway, and back along the main road. This is not recommended, as the latter is busy, and has no footway. However, a longer circuit, N again via Haven Drove into Willingham parish, returning along Iram Drove, Rampton Bp 7 to Irams Farm on Great North Fen Drove, and back on New Cut bank from Great North Fen Bridge to Giants Hill, Rampton makes some 7 or 8 miles, depending on the route through Rampton.  This circuit makes a dryshod route in Winter, but lacks shade and detail for a Summer saunter.

Abington Pigotts / Litlington boundary culvert bridge replacement
See OS Explorer 209
At TL 306 435, a former crumbling culvert bridge near the parish boundary between Abington Pigotts Fp 5, and Litlington Fp 2 has been replaced with a safe footbridge. This is an important and attractive link for a number of possible walks linking Bassingbourn, Litlington, Steeple Morden and Abington Pigotts.  Note that the cross-field paths either side of the bridge have been more frequently reinstated in recent seasons. Please report any problems here.

New Bridge at Great Gransden opens path unavailable for 50 years.
See OS Explorer 208
With the construction of a substantial footbridge over a deep ditch on Great Gransden Fp 2, a section of path has been made available after many years of complaint.  The bridge, near the junction with Fp 1 at ca. TL 265 556,  is indicated by a yellow waymark on a stile in the lane section of Fp 1. Descend the steep bank, and cross the bridge over the ditch. Continue diagonally across a rough, uncultivated field, towards the bank of a stream, which is reached in a garden, well away from the house.  Continue by the stream-side, emerging between stream and a new tall fence on the road, not far from the Crown and Cushion Inn. This path can be used as part of a circuit involving Great Gransden, Dick & Dolls Lane, Waresley Wood Nature reserve, Vicarage Farm, Wareseley, tea at the garden centre, and the minor road towards Abbotsley, perhaps turning off E on byway & bridleway to return to Great Gransden on Fp 2.  This circuit, of ca. 7 miles, can be augmented by visiting Little Gransden Church and windmill.

Fen Rivers Way
Since the last issue of Cantab, three intrepid walkers have now completed the Fen Rivers Way up-river from Kings Lynn to Byron’s Pool, above Cambridge.  Readers will recall in the February issue, we had walked as far as Downham Market by 16 January.  Since then, we have made a further 4 walks, completing the route on 24 March 2009.  Our “new completer” Joan Hillier, now has a certificate commemorating her passage along the route.   I wonder how many others have walked the route (for the first time, or again) since the organised series of walks in 2001?

Features of the walks were the consistent dry weather, on days selected in advance using the Met Office’s East Anglian website, and backed up early morning by BBC Cambridge’s “half-hour weather forecast”.  We travelled by train, fast, reliable, but quite expensive, even with Senior rail-cards.

Looking back on the different days, we were very pleased to find more to attract walkers on the section from Downham Market to Littleport.  At Denver Sluice, there are display boards “Riding and Walking in the Norfolk Fens”, and a display promoting nearby Hilgay.  Further on, we were pleased to find a new seat at Ten Mile Bank, and another at Black Horse Drove.  We noted that the old pumping house at Ten Mile Bank has been made into a large, attractive residence.

Around Littleport, one of the paths of the route near the station, is oddly signed “Field Footpath”. The Black Horse pub beside the route is still in business. We were rather irritated in places to find the Fen Rivers Waymarks had been overmounted by the “Black Fen Waterways Trail” markers.

There is a now a charming seat beyond Littleport, above the caravan site, inscribed, “In Loving Memory of George Glee 1917 – 2006 – A gentleman walked this way“.

Approaching Ely on 27 February, the paths behind the former beet slurry area near Queen Adelaide were all-but flooded, so we were glad of wellington boots. There were no problems around Ely, where the tourist office reports considerable continuing interest in the route.

On 17 March, we walked on as far as Waterbeach, using the east bank as far as Bottisham Lock.  We would have preferred to use the west bank for the splendid new bridge over Braham Dock (completed last year, and already inspected), but reports suggested that the Washes north of Waterbeach were flooded.  So we walked the cycleway on top of the bank from Ely to the turning to Barway, new since the FRW route was first completed.  The scars on the sides of the bank adjacent to the tarmac are healing over.  There are seats (one rather strange) and a sculpture along the route.  We were glad when the bank top resumed as grass, to lead us dry-footed past the Kingfisher Bridge Reserve.  Since our last visit a couple of years ago, there are now bird hides accessible from the river bank path, and interpretive boards. For a future visit, there is a carpark reached from the road near Wicken. I quote from the handout:
“Since 1995, the Kingfisher Bridge Project has transformed 150 acres of arable farmland into a mosaic of wildlife habitats…The project, started by private initiative, has many special features… reedbed, fen, mere, ditches, ponds, have all been created.  Since 1995 over 300 plant taxa have been recorded, most of which have colonised naturally...”

After a very pleasant interlude, came the snag.  The drove  from the A1123 to Commissioners’ Pit was flooded, so we were obliged to walk down the road to Upware.  Here the “Five Miles from Anywhere, no Hurry” is still in good order, and we resumed the flood bank towards Bottisham Lock.  The Environment Agency had been consolidating the surface of the bank, so we were walking on bare earth for about a mile – fortunately dry underfoot on this occasion, although below, and to our right, the floods were still out across the Washes. We crossed Bottisham lock  and made for Waterbeach station just in time to miss a train. But it was a good day.

Finally, on 24 March,  we walked from Waterbeach station, through Cow Hollow Wood, where the willows are being pollarded, and down the tow-path to Baits Bite Lock. Across the lock, we continued on the other side of the river to Fen Ditton, where we were pleased to find the rare black poplars behind the churchyard just beginning to display red catkins. On through Cambridge, where our boots and rustic clothing seemed somewhat out of place, over Silver Street bridge, to find muddy ways again beside the river in Paradise, by Newnham Village. The riverside path to Grantchester was nicely dried out, and the tree works at Byron’s Pool, which have continued through the Winter, are now nearly complete.  We solemnly shook hands above the weir, at the end of the path, before seeking a Citi7 bus in Trumpington. Another pleasant day, and a very good route.

Note that the Fen Rivers Way Association disbanded itself in 2003, and care of the route was taken over by Ramblers’ Cambridge Group.

Obtain the guide from David Elsom,  Ramblers’  Cambridge Group, 91, Cambridge Road, Gt Shelford, Cambridge, CB22 5JJ.  £3.50 inc.p/p

Wicken Parish and Wicken Fen
See OS Explorer 226
Wicken parish has some 35 public rights of way, consisting of a good density of paths in and around the immediate vicinity of the village; going over towards the river Cam and to Burwell and Soham parishes.  “Cantab” of Dec 2000 touched on the paths of Soham, but in a limited space could only give a flavour of its well-over 100 paths.  Similarly, the aim is to give an impression of the Wicken network, and the range of walking available. The highest point in the parish I can find on the map is 8 m, so paths are all flat (unless you count those which climb a couple of metres onto the dykes), and follow droveways, watercourses, or routes between housing in the village.  A few cross fields.

Wicken Fp1 along the River Cam E bank enters the parish from the N, to continue past Kingfisher Reserve to High Fen Farm.  Here it joins Bp 2, one end of which goes S passing the chalk pit, to Dimmocks Cote Road (A1123) and the other end runs E to join Shaws Drove (Bp 3) , and the track called High Fen Road (Bp 4).  Bp 4 runs S to A1123 at Red Barn Farm, from whence Docking Lane (Bp5) branches off NE to Grey Farm.  Here is an interesting network, muddy in Winter,  connecting farms, and only joined to Wicken village by the minor road, Lower Drove.

Wicken Fp7 continues S from the A1123 on the W floodbank of the R.Cam, generally a 2m wide path of short grass, and continuing into the parish of Waterbeach, having descended to the riverside.  Below on the floodplain, Explorer 226 shows the official W river-edge route of the Fen Rivers Way (Fp8), which, as the preceeding article relates, should be avoided during periods of flood. Fp9 is an obscure route marked on the map opposite Upware, probably recalling a former loop of the river.

Meanwhile, there is no riverside route close to the E bank of the Cam from the A1123 to Upware. Instead, the rutted Fodder Fen Drove (By 10) is followed to Commissioners’ Pit. The latter is an interesting Educational Reserve, where Jurassic fossils may be found in the Corallian limestone sides of the pit.

Beyond the pit, the route continues S as Fp11, leading to Upware, and the “Five Miles from Anywhere, No Hurry” pub. From the pub, the short Fp32 leads to the sluice at Upware. 

Just before Commissioners’ Pit, it is possible to turn E on Fp12 (generally reinstated across a field) to reach Upware Road, and continue opposite E along Spinney Drove (Fp14) which skirts Wicken Fen Reserve to the N.  From Upware Sluice, Fp13 takes the N bank of Reach Lode as a gravel track beside moorings, continuing in the parish of Swaffham Prior.

Between Spinney Drove and Wicken Lode is the “core” part of the National Trust’s holdings, which have recently expanded to include much of the farmland hereabouts.

An entry fee is levied to visit the core section of Wicken Fen, but what is not advertised, is that there are two public rights of way entering this part of the Fen.   From the entrance in front of the Visitor Centre at the bottom of Lode Lane, Fp19 (small yellow arrow!) enters the NT property over a bridge, and runs alongside the watercourse as far as the junction with Monk’s Lode.  Alternatively, from the carpark, go NW along Breed Fen Drove (By 16), and turn off into Wicken Fen on Sedge Fen Drove (Bp 15).  The RoW ends at a T-junction with an NT path at TL 553705, in front of a dyke. Of course, on both of these routes, one must reverse to return, unless an NT member. By 16 also leads to Fp14, and thence to Commissioners’ Pit, or N on By 17 to the A1123 at Afterway Houses.

Within the village envelope, N of the A1123 (here called Wicken Road) are no fewer than 9 interconnecting paths.  Cross-field Fp27 and the track, Drove Lane (By 23, 34) both lead to Bracks Drove in Soham Parish.

From Lode Lane around village, 2 miles
A promoted circuit from the NT carpark uses Fp20 on the E side of Wicken Lode, crossing a bridge to follow the S side of Monks Lode (in Burwell parish) to TL 571702, to the junction with New River. Cross a footbridge, and either turn right (E) along the N bank of New River (Fp31) to Burwell, or go N on the surfaced Fp30 to the village. At the rear of houses, turn left (W) along a back path (Fp29, then Fp35), which leads to Lode Lane, and thence to the car-park..

Walks to the S of Wicken Fen
A new National Trust leaflet, “Viridor Credits Walk around Hurdle Hall and Burwell Fen”, in fact offers 6 and 7 mile walks from Wicken Visitor Centre, but these are largely in Burwell parish. Most of the paths used are established rights of way shown on Explorer 226 except for a short length, Moore’s Drove on Baker’s Fen (where there are bird hides) and along Hurdlehall Drove.  An “envelope ” route, using both of the shorter circuits makes about 10 miles, taking in Monks Lode; Priory Farm; Cock-up Bridge; Burwell Farm; Hightown Drove; Hurdle Hall; Reach Lode; Pout Hall; Burwell Lode; Cock-up Bridge; Harrisons Drove; and Moore’s Drove.  Burwell Fen is very low-lying, and seasonal use of wellington boots may be essential.

The village
Cross Green in the centre of the village was the site of a market, granted 1331 for the fair of St Lawrence, whose church is sited at the far E end of the village, beside the A1123.  Fen shrinkage has necessitated heavy buttressing of the N aisle, and replacement of the original perpendicular-style roof. The old smock grain mill, seen from Fp35, running behind the main street, was  renovated recently. The reed-thatched Maids Head pub provides lunches. The village sign illustrates the swallow-tail butterfly. James Wentworth Day, author of the classic “History of the Fens” dwelt in 43 Chapel Lane.  There is some free parking near the village hall.

The National Trust Properties
The National Trust has recently bought up several of the surrounding farms, and is presently consolidating its holdings. There is a charge of £2 for parking off Lode Lane (NT members free).  The WCs are free. The free Visitor Centre emphasises the reserve’s importance for wildlife. The “core” reserve  is open 10 – 5 most of the year, on payment of an entry charge. The reserve’s very small mill ca. 1910, the last survivor of thousands of drainage pumps, was re-assembled here from Adventurers’ Fen in 1956. The exterior of the C19th “Fen Cottage” can be seen well from Lode Lane.  The interior is open Sun 2 – 5, May – Oct.  Presumably it was somewhat less damp when permanently occupied ! An excellent café is adjacent to the Visitor Centre.

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 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 51 © Janet Moreton, 2009

Note Fp- footpath; Bp Bridleway; By – byway.

CANTAB50 February 2009

CANTAB50 February 2009 published on

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


Thank you for all the Christmas messages from Cantab readers, and welcome to the 50th edition.  The first one appeared in November 1999. Since then, the format has swollen, and shrunk again to a regular 4 sides of A4. Contents have varied, but the most popular item by far seems to be “Parish of the Month”  Most of these have been in South Cambs,  which I know best, but a few have been as far away as Paston in Norfolk, Elmdon in Essex, and West Stow in Suffolk.

I aim to bring you information on walking in East Anglia, and especially data on any changes in the path network that come to my knowledge.  No one is more surprised than myself to find that Cantab is still going strong after 10 years.  I have much enjoyed producing it, although there have been some occasions, when there has been a 3 month gap between editions, rather than the usual two, mostly due to pressure of other things. Sometimes “copy” runs rather low, and I can’t emphasise  enough how much I appreciate feedback and short articles from readers.

Thank you for your continuing loyalty – it’s been fun researching the facts, and arranging them on the page, and I have enjoyed making many new friends along the way.

Janet Moreton

Parish of the Month – Whittlesford

As with most Cambridgeshire parishes, evidence exists of prehistoric, Roman, and Saxon occupation, but generally leaving little on the ground to note in passing during a walk.

In the case of Whittlesford, once there were spectacular evidences of Roman occupation.

Slight ring-ditches close to Great and Little Nine Wells Springs include remains of the Chronicle Hills, which were 3 prominent

Roman Burial mounds, deliberately levelled in 1818 for convenience of cultivation. (Some four skeletons were found; the largest mound was 8 ft high and 27 ft dia.) The barrows were part of an important Roman site, including a large villa & associated buildings.

At Domesday, Whittlesford (with 33 residents) gave its name to the Hundred which encompassed the lands of Whittlesford, Sawston, Hinxton, Ickleton and Duxford. At that time, Ickleton and Duxford were the richest places, and Sawston a poor relation! In Domesday Book, Whittlesford is Witelsforda or Witel’s Ford.

The original village lay at a crossing place of the Cam near the point where two separate routes running E from Thriplow converged before reaching the ford. The village consisted then of Church Lane, with the Manor House and church at the east end. Gradual expansion of the village through the C13th & C14th led to first an extension into High Street, and then west to West End, with sites of various village greens being progressively built over.  In 1306, the Lord of The Manor obtained permission to hold a market, and laid out a new green at West End.

The parish boundary with Little Shelford was not fixed until Enclosure in 1815.  The southern parish boundary is now the A505, a line of the Icknield Way that crosses the Cam at Whittlesford bridge.

Whittlesford today has over 1500 residents, most of whom work outside the parish.  In the C19th (with a population of 891 in 1891) there was some industry, such as Maynards Agricultural Machinery Factory, vinegar brewing, and artificial manure works.

The parish has nine public paths, leading round the village, and over the Cam to Sawston, and towards Thriplow and Duxford.  It is hoped that the following notes on points of interest round the village will enhance the reader’s enjoyment of the path network.

Sites of Interest
The parish church of St Andrew has a C14th tower and nave, some Norman windows, an ancient font, Jacobean panelling, medieval chest, and paintings on oak panels of the church as it was in C11th & C12th.

The stonework round the Norman S tower is carved with primitive half-human figures, perhaps Saxon.  The  attractive rustic timbered porch, was given by Henry Cyprian c. 1350. The S chapel was dedicated to St John the Baptist, whose C14th guild raised money for the church, and for the jettied, early tudor Guildhall at the village cross-roads.

Whittlesford Guildhall at the junction of North Road and West End, was built cooperatively by villagers, to provide charitable, religious and social services.  In later years, it served as poor house and school room.  Its roof is supported by a crown post from a tree felled in 1489.

The village sign, on North Road, made by Harry Carter of Swaffham, was erected to commemorate the Silver Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II in 1977. The centre panel depicts travellers from early times using the ford.  Archaeological finds confirmed the Icknield Way crossing was used by stone-age man, and the crossing near Moat House yielded Roman artefacts.  The medieval bridge emphasises Whittlesford’s important position on the R.Cam.  The left hand figure on the sign depicts Nicholas Swallow, a local benefactor, and the right hand figure shows a charity schoolgirl, reminding of the gift of William Wesley, a Cambridge grocer, whose land provided funds for schooling Whittlesford children.  The shield forms part of the armorial bearing of the Lord of the Manor. The motto is “Stick to the trothe”

Rayners Farm, at the junction of Middlemoor and North Road,  was built  in 1472, from the evidence of tree rings in the floor joists.

Duxford Chapel (reached over the footbridge from Whittlesford railway station) used to lie in the parish, but is now in Duxford. Originally a hospital of St John, founded before 1230, it was run by a prior and monks, to give medical assistance to the poor, and provide hospitality to travellers on the Icknield Way.  In C14th it was rebuilt as a chapel, in use until after the Dissolution.   Later used as a barn, it was restored in 1947.

Since then, the functions of hospitality have been maintained by the half-timbered Red Lion Inn (which keeps a key to the chapel).  One room has richly carved beams, early Tudor.

Features of the land
The parish lies on chalk, excepting alluvium along the river valley of the Cam. The parish is low-lying, being generally 20-30m above sea-level. The most low-lying areas of poor soil in the parish were kept as common grazing, and known as The Moor (now skirted by Footpath 6, and part used as a landing strip).  Old moats exist N of the church, and on the W side of North Rd, and traces of a third lie in West End.

Stanmoor Hall Farm, now cut off from most of the parish by the M11, has a Countryside  Stewardship permissive footpath waymarked alongside the M11 fence, then veering towards Little and Great Nine Wells.  A Display board at the road bridge  proclaims the enhanced wildlife habitat, including a beetle bank, and some attractive young tree planting.  Thriplow Peat Holes, an SSSI on Hoffer Brook shown on the Display Board, as being not far from Great Nine Wells, is in fact inaccessible from the permissive path.

The Path Network: see Explorer 209
Whittlesford has 9 public rights of way. The following three routes using these paths simply take the reader around and out of the parish – clearly, they may be used as parts of longer walks. In all cases, it is suggested that parking is available near the recreation ground, eg in laybys off Mill Lane.

Circuit 1.  To Sawston and back, 3 miles
Cross the rec diagonally towards the road junction, where admire The Guildhall. Go  down Church Lane, and turn off left down a passage (Fp 9) between high walls. This leads into the church drive (Fp1).  After visiting the Church, follow Fp 1 between fences, going N, then NE at a spinney. Beyond an avenue, the hard path goes over cultivated land, and crosses the Cam on a high bridge. Here it joins Sawston Fp 15, which follow across a railway crossing, and the Sawston Bypass. The shortest route into Sawston is down a long passage between fences, starting at the junction of New Road & Mill Lane. Having visited the various amenities of Sawston, continue S through the village, passing Church Lane, and finding a narrow passage beside Kingfisher Close.  Sawston Fp 9 leads back to the bypass, and over the railway, and river.  Here it joins Whittlesford Fp 2, over a bridge.  The hard path continues over a second bridge over a tributory, and leads back to Mill Lane. Note the attractive building housing the Hamilton-Kerr Institute, an out-station of the Fitzwilliam Museum.

Circuit 2  Towards Thriplow: 5 miles
Cross the rec, towards the pavilion, and veer right along “The Lawn”, passing bungalows.  At a gap, go forward, NW, to join a path into the churchyard. Beyond the church, at a junction of signposts, take the church drive (Fp1) going W onto North Road. Turn right, and pass The Village Sign. A little further is the Bees in the Wall pub, where bees issue from a hole at first-floor level. Continue to the road-junction with Middlemoor, to admire Rayners Farm.  Turn back a few metres, to take the stile into the field for Fp 4.  This enters a pleasant open-access area, with young trees.  Continue forward (SW) to join Fp 3 into a hedged defile, emerging past quaint cottages onto Whippletree Road.(Another branch of Fp3 leads to Vicarage Lane).  Turn left (S) cautiously along the road. In early Spring, there are plants of spurge laurel and the stinking hellebore in flower. At a signpost, climb a stile into Fp 6, The Moor. This pleasant path winds through woodlands, past arable, then fenced alongside an airstrip, then near the M11, emerging by a seat not far from the bridge carrying Newton Rd over the M11. Cross the bridge, and see immediately a display board for the permissive path on land of Stanmoor Hall Farm.  Descend steps, and follow this waymarked path, first by the M11 fence, past young woodland, then turning W to reach older woodland near Little Nine Wells. Go through a waymarked gap in the hedge, and follow the path to join Whittlesford Bp7. (It is easy to turn right here, and walk into Thriplow for a longer ramble.)  To continue, turn left, and follow Bp 7 (a potholed trackway) back over the M11 to  Hill Farm Rd.  Turn left, and walk through to High Street, where the post office has a couple of tea tables. Beyond the Guildhall, make across the rec to the start.

Circuit 3. Towards Duxford.  5 miles.
Set off from the rec, and visit the Church, Village Sign, and use Fp 4 and part of Fp3 to Whippletree Rd, as in Circuit 2.  This time, turn right on Whippletree Rd, cross over, and take Fp5 left, over a bridge, and through allotment gardens. Emerging onto Newton Rd, walk left towards a seat and signpost.  Here take Fp6 to The Moor (going the opposite way round to Circuit 2).  Emerge on the road near West End, which follow back towards the village cross roads. Continue as far as Stud Farm, where a sign indicates Fp8 turning off right up a drive and through a garden.  Follow this excellent grassy path towards the A505. On reaching the major road, an old road branches off, running parallel E towards the station.  Go down Station Road West, cross the railway by steps, and visit the  Red Lion and Old Duxford Chapel.  Retrace one’s steps up Station Road West, and turn right (N) to follow the footway back to the rec.

This route may be extended to Duxford and Hinxton, by crossing the A505, which, while needing care,  is not too difficult.

Fred Matthews – an obituary
It is with sadness we record the death  on 1 January 2009 of the octogenarian Freddie Matthews, a long-time volunteer path worker for the Essex Ramblers’ Association. He was for many years Secretary to the West Essex Group of the RA, and later served in several other capacities.  At the time of his death, he was Essex Area President.

We knew Freddie first as author (either alone or with Harry Bitten) of several walks guides for his patch including: Walks with the West Essex (ca. 1973); The Three Forests Way (1977); The St Peters Way (1978). We were first in touch with him personally in the preparation of The Harcamlow Way (1980), when we were able to advise on the Cambridgeshire section of the route. These routes are now part of the “classic” walks in our region, and marked on Ordnance Survey maps.  From 1985, Freddie was the initiator and co-ordinator of the county-wide Essex 100 Mile Walks, as an annual event, which served not only to introduce more people to walking, and to draw members of the various groups together, but also, through route selection, persuaded Essex County Council to make improvements on the route of the year.

When lameness stopped Freddie walking, his work for the RA continued through postal and e-mail campaigning. “39 Steps to the Future” was a paper he produced in 2001 seeking a standard of safe road crossings for paths nation-wide.  In the period 1999-2001, he was tireless in obtaining safe crossings over the newly built A120. His last e-mail reached us in Dec.2003, and some time later we learnt he had moved to a rest home.

Physically Freddie was not a big chap, but he was a giant in the Essex path scene. We remember Freddie with affection and great respect for his tireless pursuit of improvements to walking opportunities in East Anglia, which will stand as his lasting memorial.

Freddie and his wife Kathleen dreamed of having some land for a nature reserve. His niece, Daphne Mair, 6 Harewood Gardens, Peterborough, PE3 9NF, would welcome contributions to “Essex Wildlife Trust” on Freddie’s behalf.

Fen Rivers Way revisited…
We are revisiting the whole length of the Fen Rivers Way, walking it “backwards”, from Kings Lynn to Cambridge.  In the last issue, we described changes between Kings Lynn and Watlington. On 16 January, (before the present Arctic conditions) we walked from Watlington Station to Downham Market.

Leaving the station, we did a detour along a footpath, and minor road, cutting off some of the surprisingly busy road directly towards the bridge over the Great Ouse. We set off along the east bank, finding cleanly mown turf on the bank all the way to Stowbridge. New features along the route are owl boxes, on long poles, but we saw no occupants. At Stowbridge, the pub is still open, and a display board for the FRW is in good order. A short section of wall served as a place to perch for a snack.

We continued south, finding the path in good order. Downham Market has grown considerably since 2002, with an estate of new houses visible from the flood bank. Good news is that the station has opened a delightful, characterful café, with an open fire, and railway memorabilia, highly recommended!

In the morning, while waiting on Platform 4 of Cambridge station, we had enjoyed the mural “A Fen Journey” seen across the line, on the wall behind Platform 6. This evocative panorama from Cambridge to Kings Lynn, celebrates the 150th anniversary of the Cambridge to Ely line in July 1995, and was executed by Guy Davies and fellow students at Hills Road Sixth Form College.

Quotation of the Month
In May 1900, the arrival of a car in Huntingdon, en route from London to Peterborough, was of sufficient note to warrant a substantial paragraph in the Hunts Post.  Within a very few years, the novelty had become commonplace, and the seemingly inexorable rise of road transport had begun.
(from An Atlas of Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire History. Editors, Tony Kirby & Susan Oosthuizen).

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 27p 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, 2009

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

CANTAB03 September 2000

CANTAB03 September 2000 published on


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

Janet & Roger Moreton
(01223 356889)


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And please let us know you have done so!

Janet & Roger Moreton

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

Composed 1804 at Dove Cottage;
Published 1807

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cantab Rambler by E-Mail & Post
Cantab usually appears every two months. A large number of you now receive Cantab by e-mail. By hand, 10p is appreciated towards the cost of paper and ink. If you would like to receive an issue by post, please send a large SAE, and a stamp.

Offers of brief articles will be gratefully received.

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


© Janet Moreton, 2000