Best Walks in Cambridgeshire
18 Nov 2020
Famous for being home to one of the most revered educational establishments on the planet, the county of Cambridgeshire offers far more than just a world-class university.
For those looking to explore what its expansive green areas and countryside has to offer, you will enjoy impressive views that stretch for miles, thanks to the county having the lowest lying ground in Great Britain.
With charming market towns dotted amongst its delightful local woodlands and marshes, there’s a diverse and expansive collection of impressive walking routes. Take a look at 7 of the best walks in Cambridgeshire and get ready to set off on your own outdoor adventure.
Length: 8.5 miles
Time: 3.25 hours (approx)
Photo credit: greatruns.com
A great day out for the whole family, Grafham Water is one of the most popular places to go for a walk or bike ride in Cambridgeshire.
When it was created in the 1960s to supply water to the local area, it was quickly colonised by wildlife, including wild geese, grebes, and ducks, which you can often see dotted around the site today. As a result, in the 1980s, the area was designated as a biological Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).
An expansive reservoir with woodland trails, waterways and open leafy green spaces, Grafham Water is also considered one of the best dog walks in Cambridgeshire, with a long 8 mile loop for your and your furry friends to walk together.
Starting at the car park (pay on exit), turn right as you leave, following the pathway which runs along the water’s edge for the full loop. Along your way, you’ll discover plenty of little beaches to stop at, especially if you are walking a dog that loves to swim after a stick!
There’s also plenty of woodland areas where you can branch off into for further habitat exploring, as well as a cycle hire facility, the Harbour View Cafe, as well as a fishing lodge. The site offers plenty of spots to lay down a blanket and enjoy a picnic, so don’t forget to bring your lunch with you to fuel your walk.
The site is open all year round, except Christmas Day, so remember to bring your wellies in the winter, as the route certainly does get muddy! You may also want to bring allong some cash too, as in the summer time there are often ice vans available to purchase by the visitor centre and in the car park.
Houghton Mill to St Ives
Length: 5 miles
Time: 1.5 hours (approx)
Photo credit: my.viewranger.com
Take in the delightful Ouse valley landscape with this relaxing 5-mile walk. A picture-perfect stroll for a Sunday afternoon, get ready to meander along flat riverside pathways and flowery meadows, before arriving in the historic market town of St Ives.
Starting from Houghton Mill, head up Mill Street before turning right at the fingerpost onto Love Lane. Follow it all the way to the end before turning right onto the path of Thicket Lane. Continue straight along the Ouse Valley Way pedestrian and cycle path, through St Ives Thicket and along the river to St Ives, where you will eventually emerge from the historic All Saints Parish Chuch.
Take some time to explore the town’s narrow streets and boutique shops, including a trip to the inspiring riverside Norris Museum, which covers Huntingdonshire’s history from 160 milllion years ago to the present day.
Before heading back to Houghton Mill again, be sure to stop at one of the many pubs and restaurants to get you feeling refreshed and fueled for the journey ahead. There are great views of the river to be soaked up at establishments located around the Quay and St Ives Bridge. Stop at one of these for a Sunday roast or even a refreshing pint, before strolling back along the Great Ouse River again.
Cambridge City Walk
Length: 4 miles
Time: 1.25 hours (approx)
Home to one of the oldest and most renowned universities in the world, Cambridge’s cobblestone streets and Medieval buildings make it the perfect city for those looking to take a walk through history.
This loop will have you exploring its winding back streets lined with bicycles, cross historic bridges and finish along The Backs - taking in views of the university’s colleges which sit along the River Cam.
Begin your journey on Hills Road, which will lead you to Regent Street. You’ll pass the Cambridge University Botanic Gardens too, which are definitely worth a visit if you have time.
As you continue down the busy Regent Street, you’ll notice a set of metal gates on the left. Head through these to reach Peterhouse College (the oldest of the Cambridge colleges), passing lanes of red-bricked townhouses and opulent university buildings. Keep straight, walking along St William’s Street, Trumpington Street, and through to Silver Street. From here, walk across the bridge to Queen’s College and turn right, where you can then cross the river again via the world-famous and Grade II listed Mathematical Bridge.
This side of the river is known as The Backs, where some of the university’s colleges back onto the River Cam. Walk along the flat pathway, where you’ll take in views of the iconic King’s College, as well as St John’s and Trinity.
You’ll end up at Trinity Lane, which is lined with stunning buildings through the centuries, showcasing the very best architecture through the Renaissance, Neo-classical, Neo-Gothic and Modern periods.
Once you reach Magdalene College, continue through New Parks street, ending up in the expansive Jesus Green park with its lido. Take in views of Jesus College from a distance, before cutting through the green Christ’s Pieces and Parker’s Piece and ending up back at Hill’s Road.
Cambridge to Grantchester
Length: 3 miles
Time: 1 hour (approx)
Photo credit: tripadvisor.co.uk
If you’re in Cambridge but looking to escape the city, then the leafy walk from Cambridge to Grantchester offers the perfect solution. Running at 3 miles in length, this walk will lead you from the city’s historic university buildings, along the tranquil River Cam, and out to the famous Orchard Tea Garden.
You can start your walk from wherever you are in the city, but for the sake of this article, we’re going to start ours from Scudamore’s Boatyard Punt Station. Once you arrive, follow the river south, crossing the A1134 to continue your walk along the River Cam.
After a short while, you'll approach the Cambridge Canoe Club, located at Sheep’s Green. Head straight past it and turn right at the fork. Cross the footbridge up ahead before heading round the eastern side of Lammas Land Car Park loop to re-join the river and pass through Paradise Local Nature Reserve.
Eventually the path will end, where you will then discover Grantchester Meadows Road. Continue along here, through Skater’s Meadow, where you will once again meet the river. The path will be quite windy as you approach Grantchester, making it easier for you to find your bearings. Turn right as you approach the edge of Eight Acre Wood, taking you into the heart of the village.
Here, it’s recommended you take a pit stop at the Orchard Tea Garden, which is renowned for its delicious afternoon tea, served in the beautiful wildflower gardens. You can even spend some time soaking up the sunshine in one of the deckchairs which are dotted across the lawn, before heading back along the river to Cambridge.
As you can imagine, this Cambridgeshire walk is best enjoyed in the spring or early summer, where the riverside route buzzes with the excitement of students punting along the Cam or enjoying a picnic on the meadows with their friends.
If you don’t fancy going all the way to Grantchester, why not take your own picnic blanket? You too could enjoy some ‘al fresco’ dining amongst the grassy meadows and soak up the views of the beautiful Cambridge waterway.
Length: 2 miles
Time: 0.5 hours (approx)
Photo credit: greatruns.com
Sitting alongside Addenbrookes Hospital, Trumpington Meadows is an expansive area of wildlife, featuring wildflower meadows, riverside walks, woodland trails, and open parkland. For those looking for a great nature walk in Cambridgeshire, there’s a diverse collection of habitats and wildlife to discover, with different species habiting here throughout the year.
The parkland can be accessed either from Long Road or Trumpington Road, and we recommend you do the easy walking loop from the notice board (a great point of reference) which is located around halfway round the meadow.
As you leave the notice board, follow the path north, towards the Wildlife Trust ranger’s hut which sits in the meadow’s north-east corner. Once you reach it, follow the path as it curves to the left where you will pass a series of allotments on your right.
Exit the park where you see signs for Byron’s Pool car park. Turn left upon your exit and follow the woodland path south, where you’ll find yourself walking parallel to the country park. Once you reach signs for the ‘Balancing Pond,’ come back into the meadow, keeping right to loop around the water on its outer, and slightly longer path.
Once you have looped around the pond, take a right turn, heading north away from it. Continue to follow the path through the middle of the park, where you’ll find yourself back at the start of where you began your walk.
Gog Magog Hills
Length: 6 miles
Time: 2.5 hours (approx)
Photo credit: dayoutwiththekids.co.uk
If you're looking for a beautiful nature walk, we recommend heading to the area known as Gog Magog Hills. Considered one of the best areas for walks in Cambridgeshire, the Gog Magog Hills are filled with miles worth of pathways and woodland nature trails, as well as wildflower meadows and grazing fields occupied by Highland cattle.
For an historic and moderately challenging walk around the area's hills and Roman Roads from Stapleford to Wandlebury, we recommend starting your walk at Wandlebury Ring, which is located around five miles south west of Cambridge. There is ample parking available, costing just £2 for a whole day, as well as a bus stop outside of the site which travels from Cambridge’s city centre.
From here, head north as you climb Copley Hill, turning right when you see signs for Fulborn. Continue a short distance before heading back south down Mile Road, reaching the A1307. Cross the road and continue along the windy path, where you'll come across the remaining site of a Roman Building next to the River Granta.
Cross the river and then turn right here, passing a stile as you continue along the footpath down towards Bury Farm, soaking up views of the River Granta as you do. You’ll soon emerge at a traffic junction, where you want to turn right onto Haverhill Road.
Walk straight, turning right when you approach the second turning to the Magog Trust. You should know if you’re on the right track as your route will mean you pass through two kissing gates which are located close to one another. After a short walk past the woodland, you’ll be back at the A1307, which you need to cross to access the carpark of the Wandlebury Ring once again.
The route involves a lot of off-road adventuring, so we advise using this map to help guide you along your route.
It’s certainly one of the best walks in Cambridgeshire for picturesque views, as your short ascension up the hilly path will have you overlooking the local Stapleford and Wandlebury area. Definitely one to give a go at some point!
Holme Fen’s Lost Lake Discovery
Length: 1 mile
Time: 0.25 hours (approx)
Photo credit: wildlifebcn.org
For some of the best nature walks in Cambridgeshire, lose yourself in Holme Fen - the historic nature reserve which was once home to the largest lake in southern England (known as Whittlesey Mere). Sitting at an impressive three miles wide, the lake was a popular place to sail and spot wildlife, with local residents enjoying an ice skate along the frozen surface top during the winter months.
Today, Holme Fen is an expansive wildlife reserve, offering a whole variety of pathways to explore during a free afternoon. However, if you are short on time and looking for a quick walk through the area’s history, then set off on the Lost Lake Discovery trail.
Starting at Holme Post - the monument which marks the historic water levels all those centuries ago - you can choose whether to head north or south for the route. Follow the signposts which loop you around the woodland area, spotting the different marsh plants and habitats which occupy the green space. You’ll eventually end up back at Holme Post, which is conveniently located next to two parking areas.
Holme Fen offers so many opportunities for exploration, with a variety of woodland and marsh walks to choose from. There are also notices dotted around the area to educate you on its rich history. As such, it makes the perfect solution for weekends when you need to get out of the house and entertain the family.
These are just some of the best walks in Cambridgeshire that you and the family can enjoy during the school holidays and weekends. But there are so many more in the local area. From places such as Hinchingbrooke Country Park to Ferry Meadows and Milton Country Park, there’s no end to where you can explore!
If you’re looking to get out for an adventure, don’t forget we offer excursions in the local area and to some of the best sites around the UK. Take a look at our excursions page, where you will find our full list of upcoming trips and pricing.
Alternatively, should you wish to arrange a private hire trip for the coming year, please get in contact with us. Our Customer Liason Team will be happy to assist with your query, and provide an obligation-free quote for you.