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Witcham

PUBLISHED: 15:53 02 June 2006 | UPDATED: 10:56 22 October 2010

Map of walk.

Map of walk.

Charles and Joy Boldero find it heavy going on a five-mile walk around Witcham. As you drive into Witcham off the A142 turn right at the cross roads (High Street).

Last month, for the second year running, the White Horse was named Best Rural Pub by Camra.

Charles and Joy Boldero find it heavy going on a five-mile walk around Witcham.

As you drive into Witcham off the A142 turn right at the cross roads (High Street). Turn left at the junction (Headley's Lane). Turn left at top into Back Lane, here we parked on the wide grass verge on left. Witcham is situated north off the A142, five miles west of Ely.

The route is mainly along tracks, with roads connecting them. However after heavy rain on the weekend and then on the Monday when we did this walk, we found some of the tracks muddy and horse riders had used them without consideration for walkers!

But that said, there were good views of the countryside and no stiles to clamber over on this five-mile walk.

St Martin's church has a beautiful Norman font and a unique pulpit.

We walked back along Headley's Lane, passing the road on right to the T-junction. Here, we turned left along a concrete track signed 'By-way'. It became a rough one, then a long grass one.

Reaching the road we turned left along it. Ahead the village of Coveney could be seen and on the right Ely Cathedral.

At a right hand bend and at the sign 'By-way', we kept straight ahead along the grass track. At the country lane we went left, then at the right hand bend and the sign 'By-way,' we went left along the track.

Just after a kissing gate on the right we turned left along another tree-lined track. Crossing a track we kept ahead along the track going up the rise where, again on the far left, there was a good view of Ely Cathedral.

This was another long track and soon after the house on the right we came to a junction where we went right along a narrower tree-lined track.

Reaching the road, we went left and then at the cross roads right to the White Horse Inn. Retracing our steps to the cross roads, we went straight over, along the High Street and then left along Headley's Lane back to the start of the walk.

t PLACES OF INTEREST:

1. Coveney is a small village set on an 'island' which, in days past, was known as the Isle of Ely.

2. Here you are putting your footprints as others have done for the last 2,000 years. Wardy Hill Road is now a track.

3. You are assured of a friendly welcome at the White Horse Inn. It is open lunch times only on Wednesday, Saturday and Sundays and on those days lunches are served. Last month, for the second year running, the White Horse was named Best Rural Pub by Camra. As you'd expect, the pub boasts a good selection of real ales. Parties of walkers may like to ring beforehand on 01353 778298.

4. Witcham is a pretty village and an old one. 6,000 years ago Neolithic folk lived here and a few of the objects they left behind were flint and greenstone axes. Burnt trees were also found in the excavation. These folk were farming in the river valley. The Bronze Age people kept cattle and spear-headed socketed daggers and shields were discovered. Iron Age settlers built ditches and banks to defend their settlements. The Romans left coins and a magnificent helmet.

The original manor house was destroyed during the Civil War. The oldest houses date from Tudor and Stuart times. During the second world war there were camps for displaced persons and military personnel. Burnt Hill is so named as witches were burnt there. On the subject of burning, the fire engine on the village sign was used only once, to put out a fire at Smith's barn. It's now in a museum at Ely.

The Hall by the church is an 18th century building which was Gothicised early in the 19th century. It has 18th century gate piers.

St Martin's church has a beautiful Norman font and a unique pulpit. At one time the chancel was thatched. Sadly the church was locked and there was no mention on the board where a key could be obtained.

t MAP REFERENCES:

OS Landranger 143, Explorer 226:

467802, 467799, 482799, 483813, 483817, 478819, 471818, 470813, 466802, 463802, 463800, 462799 (Inn), 463800, 467801, 467802.


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