April walks

The gradual easing of the 2020/21 winter lockdown is becoming more noticeable as we enter April – and we may venture slightly further afield with some of our walks this month.

5 Apr – Linton, Rivey Hill and Hildersham

Walk 22 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks. 7.3 miles. From Linton, climb Rivey Hill and continue past Chilford Hall, turning onto the Via Devana Roman Road. Cut back along the bridleway to Hildersham and then return to Linton along the Granta valley.

Yesterday we sat in the garden in one layer of clothing on a glorious Easter Day. This morning, we woke up to flurries of snow! The winter walking jacket was taken down from the peg where I had thought it might now hang undisturbed for a few months, and hats and gloves were collected. During March we had stuck to the Fen Edge, so we decided to head the 20 miles or so to Linton, on the far side of Cambridge, in search of some hills.

The day brightened considerably and we ended up walking in pleasant sunshine with blue skies, though with an occasionally biting north-easterly wind. This is a very nice walk, and conditions were excellent – although, for future reference, the initial climb up Rivey Hill, where a stream runs down the middle of the path, might be something of a mudbath after any sustained wet weather. The water tower at the top of the hill dominates the landscape around here and, from there, it is an easy descent past the entrance to Chilford Hall. We remembered a family wedding held there on a baking hot June day nearly 16 years ago. Climbing again, we joined the Via Devana Roman road – which, further along, forms part of the Wandlebury walk that we did back in January. Today, the hedges on either side provided welcome shelter.

Holy Trinity, Hildersham…
…and its Victorian wall paintings

We turned off down the hill to Hildersham. Across these low chalk hills on the borders of Cambridgshire, Suffolk, and Essex, the flint is noticeable, scattered on the paths and fields. And flinty pebbles clad the walls of the tidy Holy Trinity church in Hildersham, where we stopped for a coffee. The interior walls are notable for their Victorian era wall paintings – the result of a 19th century ‘restoration’ that probably wiped out lots of the original medieval features but which, nevertheless, I rather liked! Hildersham is a pretty village, with the Pear Tree Inn looking like it could be worth a post-lockdown visit. And the end of the walk is a nice stroll along the Granta valley back into Linton.

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