Saturday, 18 November 2017

Granta Valley Stroll

Despite starting and ending at hostelries this is not a pub-crawl but a country walk on a fine sunny November day.
I jumped off the bus at Stapleford
which is just a couple of miles from Cambridge. I know two things about the village:

Barack Obama is a direct descendent of one Thomas Blossom who left Stapleford some time in the 16th century.
The pub has very low beams which made it impossible for anyone of average height or above to hit double 20 on the dart board. 

After a mile or so between wide arable fields which didn't provide much interest for the camera, I found myself among meadows and plantations. The helpful landowner had provided several additional footpaths to explore.

Although the sun was shining down there were still signs of the overnight frost in a few shady places. 

Here's the River Granta, such as it is. Don't worry, it will be bigger when we've travelled upstream a bit. I know that sounds wrong but, trust me, it's true. You'll notice that there's not much of a valley either, just flat like most of Cambidgeshire. Which makes you wonder if there can be any hidden beauties here. Lets go and see.

As we approach the village of Babraham the landscape takes on a pastoral feel. 

This is Babraham Hall, part of the campus of The Babraham Institute which is a research and development facility for molecular biology. The river here has been straightened as part of the landscaping of the Hall grounds. There are also weirs across the river to hold back the flow and create the wider, more scenic watercourse we see today.

There is more to tell about Babraham (and the other villages on today's route) which lack of space precludes me from writing about here. No doubt it will turn up in later posts for those who stick with me. Now lets move on to the Abingtons.

Great and Little Abington are strangely quiet villages being off the modern through-routes. Little Abington in particular is very leafy and secluded; even the modern houses appear to have sprung up between the trees rather than standing in the open.

Above is just one of the photos I took of Great Abington church. The two churches, Great and Little Abington, both dedicated to St Mary, stand less than a quarter of a mile apart on opposite sides of the Granta.

We're on our way now across grassy meadows to Hildersham where there's an interesting church which you will of course see, by and by. But for now we'll just make do with......

.....a picture of the river which was taken, not with me standing in the river or even hanging down from the bridge, but from the place where the ford crosses the stream....

....and a photo of one of the many attractive old cottages.

Then we pass between paddocks and fields on our way to Linton. This patient little Shetland pony was interested in the strange man with the camera, but not enough to come over and investigate.

And here's the pub at the end of our travels, the Dog & Duck at Linton. I'd timed my walk rather too well - the next bus was due in just eight minutes - so I didn't have time to pop in and see Sam and Julie who run the establishment and serve some wonderful food and excellent beer.

I'm informed that next time I do this walk my brother's coming with me and we're going on a Wednesday, when the Dog & Duck do a special deal on their fish and chips!

But that's not quite the end of the day. As I made my way across the football field to my house I saw this....

Walker's Log:

    Start: Stapleford, Cambridgeshire 10:20
    End: Linton, Cambridgeshire 14:50
    Distance walked: 8.5 miles (13.7 Km) 
    Notable birds: Buzzard, Green Woodpecker, Kestrel, Jay, flocks of gulls and wood pigeons feeding on fields, Meadow Pipit, Yellowhammer, Linnet. 
    Mammals: Grey Squirrel.
    Farm animals: Sheep, Cows, Horses, Pony. 
    Churches: Babraham (locked), Little Abington (locked), Great Abington, Hidersham.
    People with dogs: 3
    Dogs with people: 4
    People just enjoying a walk: a group of 12 ramblers.
    Cyclists: 0
    Horse riders: 0

Take care.


  1. Superb photographs John, ending with that stunning sunset. That Shetland has already got his winter coat on. Sensible chap if he is out and about today.

  2. Great photos, especially the last one. Another great walk, John!

  3. OH, my goodness! That last photo is stunning. I love the fall colors and the peek at the small villages in all their autumn glory.

  4. A wonderful walk John and some beautiful images that illustrate it. I like your walker's log, very cool.
    Have a wonderful Sunday.

  5. Ha ha I love the darts comment! I love little rivers

  6. What a beautiful walk. So beautifully England. (My birthplace). However the beautiful photo of the frosty ground cover is enough to make me feel lucky to be sitting here in the warmth visiting beautiful England via your log. Wasn't there a later bus so you could indulge in the delights of the Dog and Duck?

  7. What a fantastic many of your photos I loved, loved the feel know how some photos give off a mood. Love it when photos do that.

  8. That's a very furry Shetland Pony, and a spectacular sunset!

  9. That's a lovely countryside, and a beautiful church.

  10. More of your gorgeous countryside, along with that raspberry sky!

  11. You seem to have spent more time outdoors this autumn season. I like this leisurely walk down the country lane while enjoying the changing scenery. Beauties all around but seem to speak in a little muted voice. I really like the image of “signs of the overnight frost in a few shady places”, which made me imagine the grassy meadow must have been wet with dew. The awe-inspiring sunset sky is worth the finale of the day.


  12. A wonderful walk there, and that sunset! Wow, that is truly a beautiful sky.

  13. So beautiful and peaceful. Still can't believe how many places you have to walk. I love the little pony, though experience has taught me they can pack quite a punch.
    The sky! Just incredible. I did add wood pigeon to my list when I visited. A few tits, robin, too, but didn't have binoculars with us. I'm always birding.

  14. Ah, the Dog and Duck! Les took us there, and yes, the fish and chips was superb. Wish I had some now. Lovely photos, John--the river one especially.


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