From King’s College Chapel and university courtyards to fertile fen farmland, Cambridgeshire is a county of contrasts. Rich market towns, pretty villages and remote windpumps and waterways tell a history of settlement and farming, religion, education, innovation and rebellion. River valleys, floodplains, peat fens, ancient woodland and chalk hills attract a wealth of wildlife in easy walking country with well-connected footpaths. These 40 inspiring and varied routes have been carefully selected to avoid busy roads. Featuring city pavements and new rights of way, as well as time-worn paths and bridleways, these walks visit panoramic hilltops, watery flatlands and everything in between.
About this guide
Cambridgeshire is expanding faster than ever. Top of the game for innovation and investment in science and technology (blame Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Francis Crick, Rosalind Franklin, James Watson, Stephen Hawking...), the cluster of software, electronics and bioscience has earned it the nickname Silicon Fen. Its famous hospital and medical campus are growing too. The rate of change is so fast it’s hard to keep up. The walks in this guide include the newest footpaths, as well as untouchable ancient ways such as Devil’s Dyke in the east and the Roman Road in the south. As towns and villages are built, old rights of way are incorporated and new paths forge a way across land previously off limits. Times are a rough estimate based on average walking speed of 3.5km per hour, allowing for time to look at the guide and OS map. ‘Pasture’ and ‘commons’ refer to land used for grazing – please be alert to the presence of horses, sheep and cattle. Access is usually easy, with modern kissing gates instead of stiles. Some nature reserves have wheelchair and buggy access, but the majority of the walks in this guide are cross-country over varied terrain that often gets waterlogged.
Anticipate harvest traffic and working machinery all year round in this intensively farmed county. To ensure dogs remain welcome on nature reserves and farms, please be responsible around livestock, wildlife and fragile habitats. Café culture has reached many of the villages. Pubs change hands frequently but community ownership and weekly street food vans are very popular. Double-check on refreshment options in advance or take a packed lunch.