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CANTAB02 July 2000

CANTAB02 July 2000 published on


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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

Roger & Janet Moreton


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Janet & Roger Moreton,
Norman Jenkins.

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

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

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

Janet Moreton

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

Local Literature

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

©2000 R.B.& J.Moreton

CANTAB01 November 1999

CANTAB01 November 1999 published on


This is a mock-up of a journal for ramblers in Cambridgeshire, having an arbitrarily chosen title to differentiate it from any other magazine of similar format. The idea is to give readers a sample of what could be achieved regularly. The aim will be to present information in an attractive and easily readable fashion, filling the two sides of an A3 sheet without any “wide open spaces” on paper, which are best kept for the Cambridgeshire landscape. A straw poll suggests that walkers want to have mostly information, as someone said “Fact rather than fiction; information rather than comment”.  Others have asked for data on developments on the ground…together with grid references! The reader response, if any, will determine if this is what is required.

In Cambourne, Crow Dene bridleway has been diverted “temporarily” to run from the new roundabout on the A428, grid ref. TL 317 604 to run on a well-marked route towards Caxton. It is at present fairly conveniently opposite Knapwell Footpath 5 from Cold Harbour Farm, on the other side of the same round-a-bout. Last Winter, the route, although tree-lined was not attractive, as very muddy, but it should be more usable this year. It provides wide views of the vast building site which is at present Cambourne, but some houses are occupied already! Eventually, Crow Dene will return to its original line, and the “temporary” bridleway will remain as Caxton Footpath 4.

Photos appeared to the local papers of the opening of a replacement bridge at Toft for Footpath 18 at grid ref. TL 359 556 on 26 August. This is one of the new “high” bridges, as required by the Environment Agency. There is another new bridge (replacing an elderly structure) at Kings Bridge, near Whaddon, grid ref TL 363 479. But at Castle Camps, we used recently a completely new bridge over a roadside ditch, which at last opened up Footpath 42, at grid ref. TL 614 422, near Camps End, and (together with another bridge further along the path) allows one to walk a new route to Castle Camps Church, avoiding a hazardous narrow road.

In Boxworth, Bridleway 14, off Battle Gate Road, was opened up and signed by Cambs. C.C. earlier this year, having been obstructed for many years. The path, from Grid ref. TL 344 616 to TL 347 613 is already popular with riders and local walkers.

New Bridleways have been created at Over & Willingham. The Order, confirmed in June 1999, added new paths between Fen Road, Over, TL 382 717, and West Fen Road, Willingham, at TL 395 724, and also an extension of the public road from near Earith locks at TL 390 742, to join Long Holme Drove, Over at TL 392 738. These creations are in connections with the proposed quarrying extensions on both sides of the River Great Ouse.

Icknield Way Association seek National Trail status
At the AGM of the IWA held at Linton on 16 Oct. 1999, the meeting resolved to continue its campaign to seek National Trail status for the Icknield Way path*, which is at present a regional route. The path runs from the end of the Ridgeway Path at Ivinghoe Beacon, to the start of the Peddars Way at Knettishall Heath, and both the paths it joins already have National trail status. The situation is complicated by the presence of an Icknield Way “Riders Route” in addition to the walkers’ route promoted by the IWA.

Before the official business, Tim-Lidstone-Scott, the Peddars Way Officer, gave an illustrated lecture on the Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path, to an audience of 23 members. Before the meeting, a 4 mile walk led by David Allard on a circuit between Linton & Hadstock was enjoyed by 16 ramblers.

*The Icknield Way runs through Cambs. from near Noons Folly Farm, east of Royston, Herts, to leave the county at Ashley, on the Suffolk border. In between, it has passed through a short section of Essex!

Availability of Explorer Series Locally
The latest OS mapping index (July 1999) shows the whole of East Anglia is now covered by the new Explorer (1:25 000 series), price £5.25. Cambridge residents may wish to note that Heffers Map Shop in Sidney Street is moving to the main Trinity Street shop in late Autumn, 1999. Heffers have been taken over by Blackwells, the Oxford Bookshop.

Quotation . . . “Can two walk together except they be agreed?”
Amos 3:3

And now… The Micromap
At the same time that the new Ordnance Survey “Explorer” series of maps is making its debut in Cambridgshire, we note another more unusual development, the “Micromap”. This is a pocket-sized system for storing, carrying and displaying information. Maps the size of credit cards slot into a magnifying viewer (rather like those for viewing slides) and the result is the same detail as full-sized maps. The available choice is said to be huge, including OS maps and street plans. The viewers are sold at £9.99 and sets of cards are £6.99 each. For more details the ‘phone number is 01273 744732/733….. but I’ll be staying with traditional maps for a while yet!

New glossy guide to National Trails
The Countryside Agency (which used to be The Countryside Commission) has produced a new guidebook to National Trail routes in England & Wales, and including some information on long distance routes in Scotland. A3 sized and lavishly illustrated in colour with sketch-maps and photographs, there is a double spread for each path. Each has a fact-file with start/finish, distance, terrain, and sources of information including the website.

The paths comprise: The Cleveland Way; North Downs Way; Offas Dyke Path; Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path; Pembrokeshire Coast Path; Pennine Way; The Ridgeway; South Downs Way; South West Coast Path; The Thames Path; The Wolds Way; The Cotswold Way; Hadrian’s Wall Path; The Pennine Bridleway; and Glyndwr’s Way; and with brief notes on The Southern Upland Way; The West Highland Way and The Speyside Way.

Get your copy from The Countryside Agency, John Dower House, Crescent Place, Cheltenham, Glos. GL50 3RA

In the next programme…. The Kingfisher Way
In a Ramblers’ gathering with walkers from adjacent counties, a copy of the co-ordinated Cambridgeshire programme was much admired. Representatives from Herts & Suffolk felt it would be of great value to their county membership, if a similar single programme were available. Let this be a reminder once again, to tell George Britton how much members appreciate his twice yearly efforts, as well as thanking the individual Programme Secretaries for assembling the walks offers.

Browsing through the smart yellow booklet, we note Huntingdon Group is to do the Kingfisher Way, a most attractive walk in Bedfordshire. For those who can’t make Wed. 5 April & Sat. 29 April, or who are “lone” walkers, note the route is available as 3 leaflets from:

The Ivel Valley Countryside Project, Biggleswade Library, Chestnut Avenue, Biggleswade, Beds. SG18 0LL, tel. 01767 601042.

The route goes from Baldock to Arlesey (6 miles); Arlesey to Biggleswade (6miles); Biggleswade to Tempsford (9miles).

Over the last two years, all parish councils in South Cambridgeshire will have received from their local Ramblers’ Association Group a copy of a survey made of their local public paths and other local walking opportunities.

This project, started early in 1998, is an attempt to record the nature of the paths in their setting in the two years leading up to 2000 A.D., and forms Cambridge Group’s Millennium effort. This survey is quite distinct from the County Council’s path survey, which aimed to look primarily at path problems, and recorded whether or not a path was “easy to use” and ran for 4 months in the Summer of 1998, and on a 20% sample of paths in 1999. However, last year, many of the observations of the RA’s survey were fed into the County Council’s database, in parishes where there was no other volunteer, or where there was no P3 involvement. This year, most of the South Cambs. P3 parishes have been surveyed by the Ramblers’ Association. We have now completed the site-work and the typing of the first draft in all 100 parishes. In several cases, however, where we have reported a problem, such as a decaying bridge or a missing signpost, this has been rectified, and we have returned to inspect again, and bring the survey up-to-date. In other cases, we have gone back to look a second time months later, and the dangerous stile is still present. We have to draw a line under our up-dating efforts at some stage in 1999, so if your parish paths still have problems then, they are likely to be recorded for posterity!

Although several volunteers have been involved documenting the state of the paths on the ground, only the two people have been typing the result. As this runs to nearly 1000 pages, it has seemed a massive job to a couple of 4-finger typists, who think too late that a typing course might have stood them in good stead in their mis-spent youth! We hope that not too many errors will slip through the net, and will be proof-reading very carefully.

We have asked our computer to list numbers and types of problems, and it will be interesting to compare the results with the County Council’s report on the 1998 survey. One thing our surveyors have reported, was where it was felt additional waymark posts were needed. Lack of reinstatement of cross-field paths remains a major problem in the District, and it is likely that the RA’s survey will give a more depressing (but probably more realistic) result than the County Council’s as the latter work was carried out in the Summer months. Many paths which are restored through crops in the Summer remain invisible across large fields all winter.

The final document is to be in two volumes. Bound copies of this are to go to the County Council’s Records Office, and also to the Cambridgeshire Collection in Lion Yard. Therefore, in future, interested parties can see what the paths were like in the two years leading up to the Millennium, in what we hope will be a useful work of reference. It is hoped also to make a limited print-run of ring-back copies of the document, but these will be available for sale only if ordered in advance. Any person or organisation interested in buying a copy should send a note to Moreton, 23 Emery Street, Cambridge, CB1 2AX, and a reply will be sent requesting confirmation when a price is available early 2000, (probably ca. £30, depending on print-run).

Janet & Roger Moreton

And what did you do in the Millennium Celebrations, Daddy?
There is the Festival of Winter Walks and other events planned, like the visit to Holme Fen Nature Reserve on 5 Jan., and Janet’s Annual “Bun” walk on 8 Jan. (Long ago, it used to be a mince pie walk, but they were inclined to crumble…)

But all of us have fought shy of leading a walk on 31.12.99 or 1.1.00 (is that how you write it?).

Perhaps we are all engaged in village celebrations. Swavesey will be on ITN on the Millennium Eve, with crowds at their “Once in a thousand years” event. But then Swavesey is building its own Millennium dome to rival the London Spectacle at Greenwich. But Swavesey stands on the Greenwich Meridian, (as marked on the new Explorer Maps)…

By 2000, we expect there to be a guide available to THE MERIDIAN WAY, which will run 260 miles from Lincolnshire, through Cambridgeshire (and, of course through Greenwich), down to the South Coast at Shoreham in Sussex. At the time of writing, decisions were being taken as to where the route is to cross the A14, and in relation to paths in Doddington & Chatteris, and problems due to a lack of bridge over the Twenty Foot River, west of March.

The initiator, David Potts of London, has obtained support for the project from The Astronomer Royal. Early publicity material suggested there was also the long-term intention to produce a route along the Meridian line through France, Spain, and on through parts of Africa…. We will seek to keep readers informed!!!

The Pathfinder Long Distance Path
Totally confined within Cambridgeshire is the recently waymarked “Pathfinder” 46 mile walk. This walk, designed by RAF personnel, is a permanent waymarked route on established rights of way, linking airfields in use by The Royal Airforce Pathfinder Force in World War II.

The route runs from RAF Wyton, through Houghton, Graveley, Elsworth, Oakington, Bluntisham, Warboys… and back to RAF Wyton.

A leaflet is available (produced in conjunction with Hunts. D.C & the RAF, and with support from Cambs. C.C.). For details, contact the County Council’s Countryside Access Team on 01223 717445.

Village of the Month –HADDENHAM – Pathfinder Sheet 961 (Ely South, Haddenham & Soham); Explorer Sheets 225/226
The pictorial village sign stands on a wide verge near the village cross roads at TL 464 755. It depicts the church and watertower, and the village’s higher ground (up to 116 ft) above the fen. In the foreground is the river, and two heavy horses ploughing the fertile fen soil. Haddenham has several miles of well-maintained, waymarked byways and footpaths, many with amenity tree planting. In Spring, the path through the orchard to Wilburton is most attractive, or take the low-lying path by Linden End and New Cut Drain to the hamlet of Aldreth.

Paths for People
This is the name of a leaflet produced by The Ramblers’ Association as a guide to the care and maintenance of local paths, and is specially directed to members of parish, town & community councils. The RA locally is making efforts to see that every parish receives a copy. Interested members could also obtain one from Central Office, so they may see what may be achieved by local councils.

The Editor – Janet Moreton 23 Emery Street, Cambridge CB1 2AX.

© Janet Moreton, November 1999