Cambridge Corners 

Grantchester and the meadows

Can be done on foot or by bike. Nearly 1 mile out to the starting point and then a 3 mile walk. The alternative route back, by bike, via Byron's Pool and Trumpington makes it 4.5 miles.

Start at the junction of Barton Road and Grantchester Street on the corner of Lammas Land. A pleasant way here from the centre is via Silver Street, Sheep's Green, the Mill Pond and Lammas Land - see the Coe Fen walk.

Head down Grantchester Street and then bear right into Eltisley Avenue. I lived here in the early 1970s for a few months and narrowly avoided prosecution for some meaningless (mis)demeanor that my flatmates got done for. Ted Hughes and Sylvia Plath, both of a poetic disposition, were earlier inhabitants of this street. Follow this into Grantchester Meadows road which soon becomes more of a track than a road. At the end pass onto the cycle/footpath between hedges.

The meadows at Grantchester. Photo by Tim Roberts.

This soon comes out onto open land - the famous Grantchester Meadows. This is where the early Pink Floyd spent time 'grooving in a cave with a pict' - no cave or pict to be found these days. Must have been in the mind ... The singer, guitarist, main inspiration of the first Pink Floyd and generally wayward genius, Syd Barrett, lived in Cambridge in my street up until his death in 2006 - bless his socks!

The river is to your left across the water meadow. There are probably several romantic trysts in full swing. Keep to the main path crossing a couple of cattle grids. Where the meadow opens up on your right with houses in view beyond you can take a strictly non obligatory excursion: bear right (noticing very small ancient earthworks to your left), over a stile, turn right onto the road down to the Blue Ball pub - a quiet local. And back again of course. Otherwise follow the main path until it reaches the edge of the lovely village of Grantchester. Turn right onto a small paved road over a cattle grid and head into the Red Liom pub on your right. After pints of foaming ale or whatever return to the Meadows where you came from. Turn right and find your way onto the paved The Footpath. Pass between pleasant houses until you meet a road a little further on. Explore further down the village to the left if you wish - see the alternative return route. Otherwise turn right and have a look at the church, made famous by the poet Rupert Brooke.

Winter sunset at the back of Grantchester churchyard. The churchyard war memorial with Rupert Brooke's name listed. Photos by Tim Roberts.

Continue back to the front of what was the Green Man pub (now sadly closed) and then right into the dead end off the High Street leading back to the Red Lion pub. Continue to the end of this lane passing out into Grantchester Meadows via the gate. Make your way back to Grantchester Meadows road in Cambridge - walk across the Meadow to the river and follow this left if you want a change of scenery from the path you came on. But note that it can be difficult for bikes, especially if it is wet. Once on the road, find your way back the same way to the starting point.

Alternative return route - recommended if you've got a bike
Via Byron's Pool and Trumpington: best done by bike as a lot of it is on the road. Turn left out of The Footpath. Stop off at the very pleasant Orchard tea gardens on the left if you wish. The tea room has information about Grantchester and Rupert Brooke.
The author and daughter, Sarah, being silly in the Orchard gardens. Photo by Tim Roberts.

Follow the road around sharp bends. Fine houses in view, including one owned by Jeffrey Archer. Soon you'll be on the bridge by the old mill and mill pond. Have a walk around by the water's edge. Continue on the road, shortly coming to another bridge. Just past the first house on the right is a wide track through woodland taking you to Byron's Pool. Presumably the famous Lord swam here. Find your way back to the bridge on the road by following the river as closely as paths allow. There is a nice picnic spot in a clearing as you near the road. Back on the road towards Trumpington, continue on, passing Trumpington church on your right. Fork left just past the church into Church Lane; this takes you to the main road (High Street, Trumpington). On your left are the wrought iron gates of Trumpington Hall. Turn left down the High Street: this takes you right in to the city centre - there is a cycle path most of the way. If you need to get back to the walk's starting point, turn left just past the Brooklands Avenue junction onto the path following Vicar's Brook. See the Coe Fen walk for more detail. Avoiding right turns, cross 2 major branches of the Cam. Follow the tarmac drive (watch out for sleeping policemen) beyond the second bridge back to our starting point.

Cambridge:  Castle Hill, Coe Fen, Midsummer Common, Hobson's Conduit, Leper Chapel, Cherryhinton Hall
Outside:  Nine Wells, Baits Bite, Fulbourn, Wandlebury, Coton, Wilbraham Fen, Milton Park