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CANTAB56 April 2010

CANTAB56 April 2010 published on

** Please note that this is an archive of the CANTAB publication and contains out-of-date information **


The theme of this month is “Past and Future”

A bad fit of countryside reminiscence has been brought on by a bout of spring-cleaning old Ramblers’ Association documents.

The countryside future, as determined by politicians, planners, landowners, climate change, environmental charities, writers, can even be influenced by walkers as evidenced by the Mass Trespass of the 1930s, and more recently by pressures bringing The Right to Roam, the South Downs National Park and hopefully soon more coastal access.

When canvassers darken your door, catch them on the hop by asking not only about Afghanistan and taxation, but what is their party doing about the countryside!

Living in the past
Turning out some old Ramblers’ Association docs (the sort that have an old-fashioned rucksac as the logo), I came upon a 1972 Catering Handbook for Southern Area,  which at that time covered Berks, Bucks, Essex, Hants, Herts, Kent, Oxon, Suffolk, Surrey and Sussex. (Cambs was part of the then Midland Area).  Priced 10p, but free to Members, it lists walkers-approved cafés and pubs, with some display adverts.  The number of inns and cafés is amazing, as are pubs willing to provide afternoon tea.

But I don’t hanker to return to those times.  We were walking regularly then, and the path network was generally poorly marked, and often obstructed, and in Cambridgeshire at least, the absence of a vital bridge along a path was not unusual.

Landscape Change in Cambridgeshire
Also in our archives, I came  across a County Council survey of landscape change in the county between the years 1970 and 1994. The survey covered areas in the small limestone belt to the North, the gravel soils, fenland, chalkland areas to the South, and the West and SE claylands. On the whole, the document makes for depressing reading, except in the matter of tree-cover in the county, which was already improving in 1994.

  • A total of 7566m of shelterbelt recorded in 1970 had been lost by 1985. Some 4000m of new shelterbelt were recorded between 1985 & 1994.
  • Some 11% of ponds recorded in 1985 had disappeared by 1994.
  • 14 copses were lost between 1985 & 1994. However 112 new copses were planted in that period (a copse having 3 to 300 trees).
  • Some 80%  of orchards were lost in the survey areas between 1970 & 1985. Landowners were often actually paid to rip them out.
  • Hedgerows were still in decline between 1985 & 1994, the survey indicating some 10 miles had become gappy in that period.
  • Cambridgeshire has the dubious reputation of being the least wooded county in Britain, with only 2% tree-cover in 1994. But the survey recorded 14% more woodland area in 1994 than in 1970, and the improvement continues, thanks to The Woodland Trust, Parish Councils, the County Council and private individuals & organisations.

Fortunately, nowadays tree-planting initiatives have been reinforced by awareness of the benefits of trees to combat global warming. Several local charities and parishes need volunteers for tree-planting days.  See particularly “Cambridge Past Present & Future” needing volunteers at Coton.

“Lies, Damned Lies, & Statistics”
Writing on ramblersnet, Roy Hunt disparages conclusions drawn from a Ramblers’ Volunteer Survey, to which just 644 members replied on-line.

As a parting shot, he says,  “Remember, more people die in bed than anywhere else – so all the time you are out walking you improve your chances of surviving another day!

“Towpath Talk”
This is a free newspaper, which is sometimes available at the office at Baits Bite LockAs the title suggests, it’s all about waterwaysIssue 52 of January 2010 has a front page article on a possible creation of a “national trust” for the waterways. 

On 17 December, British Waterways published its proposals “Setting a new course, Britain’s Waterways in the Third Sector”. The move to create a trust, rather than direct state control, has the aim of securing the future of canals and navigations in England and Wales, and has met with wide support  As a charity, British Waterways would be the 13th largest charity by income.  The waterways have been suffering from real term grant reduction since 2003, and without ongoing maintenance the 200 year-old network will once again go into decline.    The article speaks of 11 million visitors a year to the network, which doubtless includes lots of walkers as well as boaters, fishermen, birdwatchers,  and others.

The full report can be read on :

Mid-Anglia Line Station-to-Station Walks 2010
You are invited to join walks led by Ramblers’ Association volunteer Roger Wolfe on behalf of the Mid-Anglia Rail Passengers Assoc.
For more info. phone 01473 726649 or e-mail
All walks are on Saturdays; starting place and time are shown, and walk distance.

10 April Ipswich-Needham Market  Ipswich station forecourt 9.15; 11.5 miles
24 April Needham Market-Stowmarket  Needham Market sta.yard 9.30; 6.5 miles
1 May Stowmarket – Elmswell  Stowmarket sta forecourt 9.50; 7 miles
22 May Elmswell – Thurston  Elmswell station 9.45; 7.8 miles
12 June Thurston – Bury St Edmunds  Thurston station 9.50; 7.5 miles
19 June Kennett – Bury St Edmunds  Kennett sta 7.15 ; 8.5 miles; or Bury rail sta forecourt, 9.48 bus 312 to Barrow; 11.5miles
26 June Kennett to Newmarket  Kennett station 10.15; 10.8 miles
10 July Dullingham – Newmarket  Dullingham station 9.20; 7 miles
24 July Dullingham – Fulbourn  Dullingham station 9.20; 8.5 miles
31 July Fulbourn – Cambridge   Fulbourn Post Office 10.25; 8.5 miles
14 Aug Newmarket – Soham  Newmarket Rail Station 9.15; 11 miles
Aug 21 Soham – Ely  Soham memorial 10.00; 6.5 miles

Where to stop for coffee?
The following paragraphs are adapted from correspondence in ramblersnet, with acknowledgements to Malcolm Macdonnell, Brian Reader, Geoff Mullett, and others countrywide.

How does one interpret the use of a public right of way, when stopping for a coffee break? In East Sussex, 21 people on a walk were asked not to stop on a path for their coffee. The (presumed) landowner on a quad-bike spotted them from a distance & turned back especially to “challenge” their action.

Advice comes from the “Blue Book” (Rights of Way, A Guide to Law & Practice). It quotes Lord Justice Smith in his judgement in Hickman v Maisey (1900) who said “If a man, while using a highway for passage, sat down to rest himself, to call that a trespass would be unreasonable.  Similarly, if a man took a sketch from a highway, I should say that no reasonable person would treat that as an act of trespass.”

In a more recent case, DPP v Jones, The Lord Chancellor said “The public have the right to use the public highway  for such reasonable and usual activities as are consistent with the general public’s primary right to use the highway for purposes of passage and repassage”,  and went on to find a demonstration on the highway verge was legitimate usage and not a trespass.  However, he continued “On a narrow footpath, for example, the right to use the highway would be highly unlikely to extend to a right to remain, since that would almost inevitably be inconsistent with the public’s primary right to pass and repass”…

One of the authors of “The Blue Book”, John Riddall, published a detailed article for the Open Spaces Society,  reproduced in:

The John Muir Trust
As an enthusiast for the wide open spaces, coasts and mountains of Scotland, we are supporters of the John Muir Trust, which seeks to ensure that wild land is protected and  valued. See

Some  of the statistics from their 2009 Annual report are below.

  • 160 000 visitors used the path to the summit of Ben Nevis
  • 25 000 native tree seedlings were planted on Skye in 2009
  • 22 work parties contributed 520 conservation days
  • A project to control path erosion on Quinag has been completed

The huge outcry which greeted the decision to allow the Beauly-Denny electricity transmission line showed the 20 000 objectors were speaking for a much wider cohort.

Friends of St Etheldreda’s Reach
The Friends cordially invite ramblers walking in their vicinity to have tea or coffee and cakes in their hall between the church & the pub in the village centre. Toilets are also available.
Contact   phone 01638 742924

Parish of the Month – Hadstock
Although in Essex, Hadstock, 12 miles SE of Cambridge,  looks to its nearest shops and transport in nearby Linton, over the Cambridge border.

Once Hadstock had a market, and the village assumed a greater importance.  The  manor house is Elizabethan, with a central chimney having 8 octogonal shafts, and other fine thatched cottages cluster below the church.

The church is believed to be Canute’s “Fair Minster” built 1020, celebrating Danish victory over Edmund Ironside at Ashdon (“Assandune”) in 1016. The nave & north transept remain, but a C15th porch covers the original Saxon doorway, on which the old oak door was reputed once to have been covered by the skin of a Dane. (The church guide says that when the door was repaired, a piece of human skin was found under one of the hinges). The south transept was rebuilt in the C14th, and the west tower added ca. 1450.

Hadstock also has a possible association with the lost settlement of Icanho, mentioned in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle as having a monastery founded 654.   Abbot Botolph was buried in Icanho ca 680. A large early Saxon grave was found against the E wall of the south transept, and it is known that the body of St Botolph was removed in 970, and relics distributed to Ely and Thorney Abbey. However, there are other possible contenders for Icanho, and I recommend reading the display board at the rear of the churchyard, describing archaeological investigations.

On the N side of the churchyard is St Botolph’s Holy Well, feeding a small pond.  Once a source of water for the village, it was declared insanitary before WWII.

Walks from Hadstock; Explorer 209
Hadstock has a complex network of paths. The following brief notes may be of assistance in designing walks.

From Linton, there are several approaches.
(1a) Cross the A1307 to Malting Lane, pass Malting Cottages & the stump of the old mill, and continue on “Chalky Road” (muddy lane) joining the road into Hadstock.  Turn off  at TL566452 by an old red-painted wagon wheel and footpath sign on the right, to reach the recreation ground by a narrow wooded path, then a field edge.

(1b) Opposite Malting Cottages, a signed path crosses a field, and should continue SSW up the arable field, and towards Hadstock rec.  Common practice crosses the bridge over the ditch at the end of the first field, and turns E along the field edge, then S up the hedge, continuing on the field path into the rec.

(1c) Cross the A1307 near the top of High Street, and start up the B1052’s footway towards Hadstock.  Beyond Linton Zoo, an asphalt path “Lens Path” climbs parallel and just above the road into Hadstock. Beware cyclists!

(1d) From the B1052 beyond the Zoo, at the same place where the tarmac path starts, TL 558460, a bridleway branches off SW.  Follow this to a bridge over a ditch at TL553453.  This, too leads to Hadstock.

Once in the village, a network of paths leads from behind the church.
(2) Follow one of these generally S, from the carpark behind the church, keeping close to trees behind large wild gardens.  The path turns into the trees to descend steps to the B1052 towards Saffron Walden at TL 558446. Go S (cautiously) down this road to the ‘Harrison Sayer’ nature reserve, at TL 557441.  The entrance is down an earth bank, to find unimproved boulderclay grassland on the site of a wartime airbase.  Flowers include wild liquorice, bee orchid, twayblade, fairy flax, blue fleabane, wild roses.

(3)  From the steps described in (2) turn back N on the B1052 for a few metres.  Find a seat by a pond overhung by a willow. Turn down the adjacent path, between a stream and garden hedge. At the end, TL 557 446, turn right, N,  to find a path back to the N end of the village, and the start of Len’s path to Linton Zoo.

(4) From the path described in (3) at TL557446, continue W on a waymarked path past Pen Farm, and thence to join the Icknield Way LDP which leads either back to Linton or to Great Chesterford.

(5) Continue on the B1052 past the Nature reserve described in (2).  Shortly, a signed bridleway leads W to join the Icknield Way LDP just W of Burtonwood Farm. Follow either the IW footpath, or Cow Lane into Great Chesterford.

(6) Between Hadstock Church, and New Farm Cottages, S of the road to Bartlow, there is a well-waymarked network of short paths worth investigating.  En route to Bartlow, use of the road between New Farm Cottages and the Bartlow Crossroads seems unavoidable. Unfortunately, the track of the old railway is not available.

(7) From the stile behind the church carpark, go SSE on a long cross-field path to Little Bowsers.  From here, a number of possible paths lead to Ashdon.  There is some waymarking, but the route is best not attempted unless the ground is dry, and the path has been reinstated. Alternatively from Bowsers, a byway may be located running WSW to Mitchells, and thence to Butlers Farm, and thus to Saffron Walden.

For all practical purposes, Hadstock can be assumed to have no transport, so routes are best designed from Linton, through Hadstock to Chesterford, Ashdon, or Walden.

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, & 2nd class 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 56 © Janet Moreton, 2010