Winter 2023/4 – Walks resumed

Our regular weekly walks fell by the wayside in 2023, but with new work arrangements now in place, we’re going to get back to it. We’ll be revisiting some of the 52 walks from our original ‘year of walks‘ walking project, and hopefully adding some more.

18 Jan – Wicken Fen to Upware

Walk 11 in Cambridgeshire Circular Walks.  Revisiting a route first walked in March 2021.

This is still a great walk, particularly on a morning like this – brilliant sunshine, a bright blue sky, temperature hovering around freezing. If you piled the layers on and wrapped youself in hats, snoods, and gloves, it was the perfect day to be out on the Fens. And the frozen ground worked in our favour. Last time we did this walk, I’d noted that the paths were pretty good. But December was so wet, that quite a lot of this walk would have been much muddier on a warmer day. There were still a few places (notably out beyond the road to Upware) that were a little watterlogged, so this is one to be a bit cautious of during/after wet weather – although there are enough alternative paths to plot a drier route.

The other main difference from 3 years ago is, of course, that the pubs are open. Unfortunately, the Maid’s Head, which would have made an ideal stop near the end of the walk wasn’t serving food today, due to a problem in the kitchen (which means we’ll just have to come back some other time!). So we had to hop in the car and drive halfway back around the walk to the romantically-named and situated eighties throwback of the riverside Five Miles from Anywhere, No Hurry Inn. An excellent walk to get us re-started.

26 Jan – Sawston to Whittlesford

5.7 miles figure of eight loop following route first walked in March 2022.

Another lovely bright winter’s morning – it was a fair bit warmer than last week and frost-free, though there was an occasional biting breeze, the remnant of the storms of the previous few days. The first time we did this walk I’d noted that it might be a good winter option, and this turned out to be the case – no real mud issues despite a lot of rain in recent weeks. It still makes for a very pleasant walk – all the more so as we were accompanied by Martha this time. Revisiting the church, we did check out the historical graffiti this time, including the Willingham archer.

We also admired a beautiful new stained glass window, installed to celebrate the church’s millennium around the time we last visited. Its inscription, ‘When you go through troubled waters, I will be with you’ (Isaiah 43:2) and its imagery of troubled times, including of the Covid pandemic, mirrored by the consolation of good times, were quite moving, especially as we started these walks as a Covid lockdown project.

The cafe we lunched in when we first walked this route seems to now be shut but we had, anyway, decided to follow a friend’s recommendation and head two miles up the road to Stapleford to try out the Greek food at the Three Horsehoes pub. This turned out to be an excellent idea – one to use again when walking in this part of the county.

23 Feb – Newnham – Trumpington – Grantchester

5.8 miles. Lammas Land car park across Sheep Fen, via Latham Rd and Newton Rd, skirting Clare College sports ground and followed paths along Hobson’s Brook until it meets the busway at Trumpington. Cut through the new housing via Byron Square to the High St, then through the new Trumpington Meadows estate then on to the Grantchester Rd and then the Grantchester Meadows path back to Newnham.

A slightly shortened version of a walk we first did almost exactly 3 years ago – see the original post for the full (6.3 mile) route. This time we were accompanied by Martha. This is a good option when it has been wet, as it’s almost all on good footpaths. The stretch of busway on the city side of Long Road was closed for works, so we did have to divert from the original walk there – but sticking to the path that tracks Hobson’s Brook worked fine. We also elected not to visit Byron’s Pool, as lunch was calling, and instead headed more directly from Trumpington to the Red Lion pub in Grantchester. This walk works well with this break and there are other pub options in Grantchester too.

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