There’s a walk that I’ve been looking forward to doing for several years. I found it when searching for more information about The Manor House, Hemingford Grey the location of Lucy Boston’s book “The Children of Green Knowe”. More recently, I read about Lynne’s visit to The Manor House on her blog The Dovegreyreader Scribbles. The walk appeared to have all the ingredients of a pleasant morning out in the Huntingdonshire countryside. So, as I happened to find myself here in Huntingdon this morning, I decided to try it out.
The 5 mile walk starts from the National Trust car park at Houghton Mill where there’s a Tea Shop and it’s possible to borrow a copy of the walk.
“Take the path diagonally across Houghton Mill car park and through the kissing gate and turn right into the narrow path called Love Lane.
Turn right at the end of Love Lane and follow this path.
“At the end of the path turn left and in a few yards you will come to Thicket Road. Turn right onto Thicket Road and follow it straight on until it becomes a path and cycle way.”
This long stretch was very boring. Although it says to follow the river the Great Ouse doesn’t come into sight until you’re almost in St Ives.
A Glimpse of The Great Ouse
I had expected to walk alongside flood plain/water meadows but instead it was a tarmac lane with thickets/tanglewood on both sides. And I didn’t meet the man with seven wives either. I was reciting this riddle to myself all the way along :
“As I was going to St. Ives I met a man with seven wives,
Each wife had seven sacks, each sack had seven cats,
Each cat had seven kits: kits, cats, sacks and wives,
How many were going to St. Ives?”
I’m sure you know the answer!
“Continue on this path alongside the river to St Ives to come out opposite All Saints’ Parish Church. Holt Island Nature Reserve is over the bridge to your right and the walk continues through the churchyard.”
“Walk along The Waits, past the Norris Museum into The Broadway until you get to the Victoria Memorial. Take the right branch along Merryland.”
The Old Bridge at St Ives complete with still consecrated chantry chapel.
“Take the first right hand turn down Bridge Street and go over the old bridge.”
Hemingford Meadow, looking back to St Ives. At last! A nice grassy path across an open meadow
“Turn right through The Dolphin car park and out onto Hemingford Meadow. Walk across the meadow, following the path diagonally left to a stile at the far side. Follow Meadow Lane until it bends sharply left and a track comes in from the right.”
St James Church, Hemingford Grey
Kempe Window in Hemingford Grey Church
“Turn right through The Dolphin car park and out onto Hemingford Meadow. Walk across the meadow, following the path diagonally left to a stile at the far side. Follow Meadow Lane until it bends sharply left and a track comes in from the right. Turn right towards Hemingford Grey church.”
“Turn abruptly left alongside the graveyard to follow a path along the riverbank. Follow the path keeping the river on your right to the far end of the High Street then turn right to continue along the riverbank.”
At this point I came across The Manor of Children of Green Knowe fame. I was disappointed to see a notice pinned to the gate telling that there had been a house tour at 11am this morning. I had even checked the website before leaving but tours are not always posted so I learned from Diana Boston that if I’m here in the future I should always ring in advance and a tour – even for one – can normally be arranged. Unfortunately, she was about to go out for the afternoon. It’s always possible to visit the gardens so I had a look round before completing my walk.
The rear of the house – and oldest part
“The path crosses two meadows then leads alongside a mobile home park into Hemingford Abbots. Turn right along the road until you reach the Axe and Compass pub.”
Where we are lunching with some of the wedding party tomorrow!
“Continue along Common Lane and turn right into Meadow Lane beside the post box. Follow Meadow Lane over the Black Bridge. Cross Hemingford Meadow to a lock and walk back through Houghton Mill.”
Houghton Mill which can be visited
And so back to the Tea Shop for a bite of lunch and cup of tea.