July walks

Back to walking after a couple of weeks enforced absence due to Covid-19 hitting our household. Fortunately, only Martha was affected and her symptoms were not too serious. But it did result in all of us having to self isolate. So it was great to get out walking again!

We’re doing well with our project to amass 52 different circular walks (one for each week of the year) – the first July walk was number 30! See the full list so far.

2 July – Chittering – Great Ouse – Stretham

6.8 miles. From the Lazy Otter at Chittering, follow the river towards Ely until it meets the railway. Then across country by public footpaths to Stretham. Return to the river by Green End and then back to the Lazy Otter.

We set out along the Great Ouse in the direction of Ely, starting on the far bank from the Lazy Otter pub in Chittering. Here the river runs through open fen countryside, offering no shade on an unexpectedly sunny and humid afternoon. But it was a nice riverside walk, quickly leaving behind the noise of the A10. After about a mile we came to the moorings for what looks like an active community of houseboats, and then to the Stretham Old Engine – an impressive piece of industrial heritage. Built in 1831, it is the last survivor in this part of the Fens of over 100 steam-powered pumping stations. We must come back for one of its open days.

We continued along the river, crossing to the other bank by the bridge that carries the Stretham-to-Wicken road. Where the river meets the railway, just short of the confluence of the Great Ouse and the Cam, we followed paths away across fields to Stretham (the Stretham map available on the Cambridgshire section of the FootPathMap resource was useful for planning this). It was hard to get a great sense of the village on a quiet Friday afternoon when both the Red Lion pub and the church were locked up, so we picked up supplies of water in the local shop and left along the quiet Green End lane, which took us back to the Old Engine. From there we returned to the Lazy Otter along the opposite bank to our outward journey.

This is makes a good, peaceful circular walk, much of it along the river, also quite convenient to us in Cottenham – so we’ll be back to do this again.