Abington Pigotts & Steeple Morden
Introduction: The walk starts and ends at the Pig & Abbot, Abington Pigotts and includes a visit to the Waggon & Horses, Steeple Morden.
Abington Pigotts is a small village in the most rural and remote part of Cambridgeshire. The village church of St. Michael is a small but ancient building of in the Early English and Decorated styles. Steeple Morden is thought to have originally been called South Morden, the name change commemorating when the steeple was built to replace the tower that collapsed in 1625. In WWII the village played host to the Americans of the 355th Fighter Group based at the nearby airfield, and on the road to Litlington there is a memorial.
Distance: 7 km (4.3 miles).
How to get there: Approach Abington Pigotts either (1) from the A505 Baldock to Royston road, taking the turn off through Litlington just to the south of the Royston bypass, or (2) from the A1198, passing through Bassingbourn. Parking: The Pig & Abbot has a small car park beside the pub, and there is room for parking on the road alongside the pub.
From the front of the pub, turn right and follow the lane towards Litlington. After a few hundred metres, the lane bends sharply to the left - at this point go straight forward along a drive following the marked public footpath.
After passing a series of cottages on the left, continue straight along the right hand side of a large field with a wood to your right. At the edge of this field, continue straight along a track. After 20 metres the track forks to the right, and we continue straight along a rough track, between two fields.
As you cross this wide field, enjoy the views of the rolling countryside, and look out for the church steeples of Guilden Morden (off to your right) and Steeple Morden (slightly to your left at this point). At the end of the field and track we join a tarmac track passing through a hamlet of cottages with the intriguing name of Bogs Gap. Where the track meets a lane, turn right and follow this winding lane past a series of cottages and a farm. The lane then takes a sharp left turn, crosses a brook, and takes a sharp right turn and then continues past a series of elegant period houses with large gardens.
At the end of the lane you reach a T-junction - take a right turn towards the centre of the village of Steeple Morden. Passing a mixture of buildings, some old, some new, you will arrive at a T junction with the church in front of you, and the Waggon & Horses welcoming you to the right.
After "wetting your whistle", retrace your steps, turning right opposite the church, and at the junction of Cheney Street and Brooke End, continue on the Litlington Road. After 200 metres, leave the road taking the marked footpath on the left side of the road. This path crosses a field but the line of the path is well marked. After 300 metres join a broad track turning right. After a further 200 metres leave the track following a path across a field on the left. Follow this path in a straight line descending into a shallow valley, crossing two other paths until you reach the corner of three fields. At this point take the left fork down the left edge of the field in front of you, heading towards a long line of tall trees. At the edge of the field, cross a stream and turn right following a tree lined track towards a farm.
Walk past Down Hall Farm noting the sluice gate and watermill wheel. The OS map indicates that the farm is surrounded by a moat, and further on the right you will see a very well preserved medieval gatehouse! The owner believes the gatehouse was built in 1290-1350 and was part of a fortified manor house.
Continue on the farm track to the road, there taking a left turn following the road back to Abington Pigotts and the delights of the Pig & Abbot.
Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.
CAMRA's Good Beer Guide, for more details of other pubs in this area serving excellent real ale. The Good Beer Guide can be purchased online at www.camra.org.uk, or by mail order (call 01727 867201).
Pub Walks in Cambridgeshire (by Jean and Geoff Pratt), published by Countryside Books, and available in most local bookshops. There is walk from Litlington to Steeple Morden in Pub Walks in Cambridgeshire.