Bluntisham to Earith circular walk

This walk includes one of the most active bird breeding lakes in the area. Plenty of dragonflies, butterflies, wild grasses and flowers. Historical interest too, and a few picnic sites thrown in for good measure. One of the few spots to see Egyptian geese. You'll walk past the sporting home of Bandy. Relax with a picnic watching cabin cruisers drift by on the Great Ouse.
Cambridgeshire Walks Bluntisham to Earith
Good points of this 3 miles (6,600 steps) route are easy walking along field edges and the Great Ouse, as shown in the image above. Includes opportunities to vary the route. Lots of wildlife and wildflower interest and great locations to sit and picnic or ponder the views. In winter the first few hundred yards can be muddy.


Starting point
Park in Bluntisham High Street. Walk back down and cross over the main road and turn right. After a few yards turn left to follow the public footpath signpost.

Pass around a farm gate and follow the track as it turns right and then left. The route is now straight, following the edges of two fields.

After 500 yards you'll come to the bottom of the first field and a small wooded area on the right. In summer this is an oasis for wildlife. If lucky, you might see several mating butterflies mid-air, looking like they're attached to each other by string.

Point 1
At certain times of the year you might wonder what the commotion is, coming from a wooded area diagonally to the right. It's the bird population of Barleycroft Lake, part of the Hanson RSPB Wetland Project, Ouse Fen.

After walking 300 yards along the second field edge you'll see a signpost on your right. It's well worth having a look at Barleycroft Lake and its noisy residents. Turn right through the stile and walk a few yards and then to the left to the lake edge to get a good view. Great place to have a picnic. You can also extend your walk by a mile to walk around the lake, where there are lots more secluded spots to sit and rest. Keep an eye out for nervous terns, who might decide to have a spell of dive-bombing.

To continue the route, carry on walking along the field edge for almost 200 yards. Take the path off to the left so the river Great Ouse is on your right. You'll find yourself walking along a raised bank, separated from the river by a few yards of vegetation.

Point 2
After a third of a mile a small copse will separate you from the river view. Another couple of hundred yards and you find Bury Fen on your left. As shown above, the Fen is flooded every winter and spring.

It's also the sporting home of Bandy, an even faster version of indoor ice hockey. James Tebbutt, a Bluntisham local, was the first to set out the rules in 1891 and spread the game abroad. It is now one of the most popular winter sports in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia and the USA and may even be included in the Olympics.

The fen is home to a great variety of birdlife. Keep an eye out for Egyptian geese. Clouds of lapwings and widgeon skim over the water. You're almost certain to see herons. It's one of the few locations they nest in spring, amongst the trees on the opposite side of the fen. You also get a beautiful view of Bluntisham and St Mary's church.

Point 3
A further 500 yards will bring you to a track leading off to the left. Take this route to shorten the walk and continue from Point 5. Turn right towards the river, and after a few steps you'll find a part of the riverbank where, in summer, you can lay out a picnic blanket to sit and have lunch on this idyllic spot while cabin cruisers quietly float past, as the image below shows.

To pick up the route again, continue to follow the track, keeping the river on your right. Go through a small copse and gateway. Just beyond this you'll see the remains of supports for the railway track from Bluntisham on its way over the river towards Earith.

Walking on, you'll find an open field to your left. Sometimes there are a few cows in this area, but there's plenty of room to give them a wide berth.


Point 4
You'll find yourself approaching a caravan park. Before you turn left and head away from the river, admire the longboat beached in the corner and converted into a home. If you see a 'For Sale' sign please let Cambridgeshire Walks know!

Follow the track heading away from the river for almost 300 yards to come out on Earith High Street. Turn left and walk for a third of a mile.

Point 5
The shortened route mentioned in Point 3 comes out here. Walk along the tarmaced path with the main road on your right for almost 400 yards, heading to St Mary's Church. At the rear there's a peaceful churchyard with benches ideally placed for a picnic. The church has stood looking over the fens for centuries.

Continue walking along the road into Bluntisham. A further 350 yards on the right is Bluntisham House, a grade II listed building once occupied by author Dorothy L Sayers. The rather grand pillared doorway is from Slepe Hall in St Ives, the house of Oliver Cromwell.

Walk just under 200 yards further to arrive back at Bluntisham High Street and the start point.

Click the 'Print Friendly' button below to print out this walk to take with you. Or for more walks click the 'Return Home' button at the foot of this page. Did you enjoy the walk? Notice anything unusual? Why not add a comment below to tell fellow amblers what you liked about it?

1 comment:

  1. Just completed this walk, amazing what's on our doorstep if we know where to go. A stunning walk with lots to look at and great for photography too.

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