Cambridge Corners 

Midsummer Common, Riverside and the Cellarer's Checker

Can be done on foot or by bike - I'd choose the bike to speed up the bits on the road. About 4 miles round trip.

Start on Magdalene Street just before the bridge. Pleasant views both ways from the bridge.

Views of Magdalene Bridge in the early hours.
Photo right Charles Penny

Walk down Quay Side which hugs the city centre side of the river. Continue to the left of the bars/restaurants onto the board walk over the river. You'll need to push your bike here. Emerge out onto Jesus Green following the path along the river.

Map thanks to Cambridge Univ. Orienteering Club. Jesus Green is the top left area.

You pass a metal footbridge shortly (on your left, not unnaturally) and a lock with watchful cottage. A little further on is an open air swimming pool hidden behind a fence: even in the height of summer it's always 'refreshing' (i.e. bl**dy cold). Stop at the children's play area if so inclined. Pass under a road and onto Midsummer Common. Soon you come to the Fort St. George pub between you and the river - stop for a pint. Continue past a footbridge and posh restaurant: the path takes you back to the river bank. You'll see some lovely college boat houses on the other side.

Soon after passing under another footbridge the path ends at a road that leads us under a large road bridge (Elizabeth Way). Take the first on the right past the bridge - Abbey Road. Turn left into Beche Road at the junction, stopping for a moment to peer at the splendid Abbey House opposite in Beche Road, behind old walls and gates. It is said to be haunted. At the next corner you'll see a charming, stone building - the 13th century Cellarer's Checker - this is the main remnant of Barnwell Priory.

The Cellarer's Checker. Photos thanks to Tim Roberts.

You used to be able to get the key from 9 Beche Road but I think you have to apply to the City Council in advance now. If you manage to get inside note the striking vaulted stone ceiling supported by a central column. There are a number of inscribed stone coffins piled up: occupants appear to have left. Turn left into Priory Road and then right, into Riverside. Soon you pass the tall chimney and pumping station of the Museum of Technology - well worth a visit. Libations usually available at the bar in the gardens of the museum. At the end of Riverside cross a cattle grid and keep on the path by the river.

You're now on Stourbridge Common where tourists rarely venture. However, the greatest dangers you're likely to meet are the plentiful cow pats. Cross over the footbridge and stop for sustenance in the Green Dragon pub in the pleasant Water Street, noticing an interesting archway and building to your left where the road bends. If you have time you could sneak a look at the 14th Century Chesterton Tower in nearby Chapel Street, which has a number of other fine houses.

Time to start making your way back. Recross the bridge and head back to Riverside - take the path that keeps some distance from the river if you want some variety. Back along Riverside, under the large road bridge and out onto Midsummer Common until you reach the first footbridge. At this point take the middle of the three paths, avoiding the river bank route that you came on. This takes you across this edge of the Common: now keep to the Common side of houses that sweep left after a while - the attractive Brunswick Walk. Just before the busy Maids Causeway, turn very sharp right up the path heading back into the Common. Avoid a cross path and make for the middle of Victoria Avenue.

Cross the road and head out onto Jesus Green on the path almost directly opposite you. Turn left at a junction of paths heading for and then following the ditch marking the edge of Jesus College grounds (where I spent three rather wasteful years). A dead body was found in this ditch a few years ago. This path takes you into a quiet road. Turn right, immediately, into Park Parade and then take the second left - St John's Road. Straight across into Thompson's lane and almost immediately right into a dead end alley and then left into Ship Lane. This lands you in a pleasant modern square. Out the other side into Quay Side and back to your starting point.

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