We’re trying a different circular walk each week. Here’s how we’re getting on – and maybe some ideas for other walkers.
9 Nov 2020 – Mepal circular walk
Walk 1 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks. 3.5 miles.
The most interesting part of this walk is the start and end, along the Hundred Foot Drain or New Bedford River), one of the great feats of the 17th century drainage of the Fens. When it turns away from the Drain, the walk circles around Mepal (which doesn’t show too much to inspire) through fields and scrubland. It was something of a muddy slog in places on the dull autumn day we did it, but a good short walk to get us started. We parked up beside the Three Pickerels Pub, which might offer refreshments were we to come back and do this outside the Covid lockdown.
16 Nov 2020 – Reach to Swaffham Prior and back via the Devil’s Dyke
Walk 7 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks. 4.5 miles.
Starting on Fair Green, home to the annual Reach Fair (held here since 1201) the walk circles through open (occasionally quite muddy) countryside out to Swaffham Prior, which features an unusual pair of twin churches, sharing the same graveyard – particularly St Mary’s (pictured below) with it’s round Saxon tower and attractive modern spire. We eyed-up the Red Lion pub, which might provide an alternative stop at another time. The return path dips briefly into the remains of the old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway and then goes back to Reach along another Saxon relic: the Devil’s Dyke earthworks.
23 Nov 2020 – Over to Swavesey and back
Walk 3 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks. 4.75 miles.
A beautiful, clear, if chilly autumn morning – across the Fen and along the Great Ouse between Over and Swavesey. It felt like a great place to be, prompting me to write a few reflections on light in difficult times . Again, muddy in places, particularly near the river, but an attractive Fen landscape and a nice walk back through old orchards having stopped for coffee beside St Andrew’s church in Swavesey.
30 Nov 2020 – St Ives to Houghton and the Hemingfords
Walk 12 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks. 6 miles.
The most interesting walk yet (although our first in wet weather) with plenty of variety. Good for winter/autumn with comparatively little mud! Starting in St Ives town, we took the sheltered (and well-surfaced) Ouse Valley Way path to Houghton. The National Trust’s Houghton Mill was closed today, but would offer a good stopping-off point about halfway round on another day, as might any of the various pubs in the attractive villages of Houghton, Hemingford Abbots, or Hemingford Grey. We stopped for a coffee and watched a heron take flight over the Great Ouse at Hemingford Grey before cutting across the meadows back to St Ives.