Colne, Bluntisham, Earith
Once again, I am offering exceedingly good value with three pubs on this circular walk. You can start this circular walk at any of the three pubs – I chose to start at one.
Colne, set amidst orchards between Earith and Somersham, is centered around a green on which is located the church of St. Helen, completed as recently as 1900. Nearby is the south porch which is all that remains of the old church which collapsed in 1896.
Bluntisham is bordered on the one side by the fens and on the other by what was mainly orchards but has now been turned under the plough. It is an attractive, growing village with a 'gothicised' Baptist chapel and a medieval church built of local brown cobbles.. A short distance away lies Bury Fen where, weather allowing, ice skating is the local sport and ice hockey is reputed to have originated under the name of "Bandy".
Earith is situated on the northerly banks of the Great Ouse River at the junction with the Old and New Bedford Rivers, two of the major drainage channels of the Fens, dug out in 1631 and 1651. The New Bedford, often referred to as the Hundred Foot River, was the work of the Dutch engineer Cornelius Vermuyden. Between the two rivers lie the washes which are flooded in winter and are home to a variety of water fowl. Also in this stretch of ground are the remains of ancient earthworks known as The Bullwarks which were used in the Civil War.
Distance:10 km (6.2 miles). The walk can be completed in around 3 hours allowing for stops at the two pubs on route.
Map: OS Landranger sheet 153 Bedford, Huntingdon and OS Explorer sheet 225.
How to get there:Colne lies off the A1123 road between Huntingdon and Haddenham, approximately 5 miles east of St Ives.
Parking:The Green Man has ample parking at the front and the side. The White Swan and Crown also have cars parks.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
From the front of the Green Man, turn right along East Street and turn left at the junction, walking towards Bluntisham, noting the attractive sugar pink thatched cottage opposite. This part of our walk follows the Pathfinder Long Distance Walk (LDW). At the next junction cross the road and go down the footpath to the right of the thatched Stone Grove cottage. After 200m turn right onto another footpath. This leads to the centre of Bluntisham, with the White Swan in front of you.
Leaving the White Swan, continue to the right, heading towards the A1123 main road. When you reach the main road, turn right, cross the road, and take the marked footpath. At the gate turn right, follow the tree line and after 20m turn left to follow the line of the ditch. When you reach the river, turn left taking the path on top of the bank. You have now left the Pathfinder LDW and you are following the Ouse Valley Way. Passing by a bar gate, keep alongside the river through a line of trees and passing through a kissing gate, continue towards the marina. At the marina boundary fence, turn left away from the river. Passing through another kissing gate head along the track to the road, and turn right. Continue along Earith High Street until you reach the Crown.
Departing the Crown, continue along the High Street past the post office then cross the road and take the footpath down the right side of Bridge House. The path follows the left hand bank of the Old Bedford River. Passing over a stile, turn left going down the bank away from the river, and go through a stile and two gates to join a track leading to a road. At the road, turn left. Just after the 30 mph road sign turn right on to a marked footpath. You are now passing over part of the County Farms Estate owned and run by the Cambridgeshire County Council. After passing through a second gate keep to the right side of the field and pass through a gate.
Keep to the right side of the field. At the corner of the field, ignore the path turning right and continue straight through a gate and across a footbridge. With a water meadow on your right, you will shortly reach a road - turn left here. At the cross roads, go straight across on to East Street, and after 500m you will be back at the Green Man.
< href="https://whatpub.com/pubs/STN/44/crown-earith">Crown, Earith