A surprisingly rural walk on the outskirts of Cambridge, seeing the Histon and Oakington parish churches and an ancient oak. Occasional glimpses of guided buses hurtling along.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D) From School Hil bus stop follow Park Lane, then at the junction, go right up Bell Hill.
(1) About halfway, turn left on a footpath leading through St Andrew's churchyard. Follow the path to reach St Andrew's park road. From here turn right and follow the main road (Cottenham Road) as it bends left and right.
(2) Few meters on your left after Barrowcrofts road you will find a footpath.
(3) Follow Gun's Lane and at the first junction turn left across a muddy ditch to a path through a young wood. (The ditch may be avoided by continuing along the lane and taking first left near the field edge.) This land was set-aside and is a mixture of trees, scrub, and rough grassland, with many routes in various directions. Follow the initial path until the wood opens out then bear right amongst the trees, taking the most used option whenever the path divides. Eventually, you reach a hollow, scorched, ancient oak, about 20 yards short of the edge of a large field.
If you don't find the oak, locate the path inside the wood and nearest to the field. Make for the junction of this path with a gappy line of trees across the field. Facing this, with your back to the wood, turn left along the path through the edge of the wood until you reach the ancient tree.
(4) From here return to the junction of the wood and the line of trees and follow the right-hand side of the ditch as it continues across the field beside the trees. The path eventually bends left then right and is joined by a waymarked path that crosses a sturdy bridge to the left. Keep straight on for over half a mile, going through a bridleway gate and across the pasture to reach Oakington road.
(5) Turn left on Oakington Road to the busway, continue ahead on Station road and turn right up Mill Road then left along High Street to the churchyard. Turn sharply to the left again and follow a path past the side of the church with an opportunity to visit the 'martyrs' graves (display board). Continue through to the main road where you turn left, cross the road and take the public footpath to the right. (An alternative, shorter route from the busway crossing to this point is just to follow the main road.)
(6) : Soon the footpath crosses a bridge and enters a wood. Take the path running inside the right edge of the wood until it divides where you turn right out of the wood and over Beck Brook. Keep Beck Brook always to your left following the path which bends left then right leading for over half a mile to the next road.
(7) Reaching Gatehouse road, turn right along the pavement up to a T-junction where you turn left on Oakington Road. Walk ahead until reaching a bridge over Beck Brook where there is a fenced bridleway on your left which you follow for straight almost a mile to trees and a kissing gate.
(8) At the kissing gate, cross ahead of a broad track and take the narrow path opposite into Histon Wood. Turn left after a seat then keep right until reaching 'Guided Busway Bridleway'. Cross this bridleway and go through the gap in the hedge. Turn right and walk through a gate that leads to Histon's community orchard.
(9) Aim diagonally for the gate in the left corner and then follow paths left, right, left to emerge in suburbia on Somerset Road. Take the road ahead 'Shirley road' and always keep your left. The road leads you back to the starting point. (A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 46ft - School Hil bus stop
1 : mi 0.12 - alt. 52ft - St Andrew's churchyard.
2 : mi 0.42 - alt. 43ft - Footpath
3 : mi 0.5 - alt. 39ft - Woods and rough grassland
4 : mi 0.65 - alt. 39ft - Ancient oak - Field
5 : mi 1.86 - alt. 36ft - Oakington Road - Churchyard
6 : mi 2.58 - alt. 30ft - Bridge - Wood
7 : mi 3.52 - alt. 36ft - Beck Brook - Bridge
8 : mi 4.72 - alt. 39ft - Histon Wood - Histon's community orchard
9 : mi 5 - alt. 39ft - Gate - Somerset Road
D/A : mi 5.36 - alt. 46ft
The City 8 bus provides a half-hourly service from Cambridge bus station to the start of the walk, or catch a guided bus to the Histon stop and a Citi 8 from there.
By car, follow the B1049, Histon Road, from Cambridge, or join it at the A14 junction. Turn left at Histon duckpond. Reaching Tesco, turn left down the road before The Red Lion to park or drive past the pub up the hill and turn right in front of the butchers and find a space in Narrow Lane.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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