Hinchingbrooke Country Park

Looking for a short, varied walk with plenty of wildlife and wild flowers? How about plenty of spots to sit and admire the countryside? Add picnic & BBQ facilities, a reasonably priced cafe, great kids playground and a haunted bridge and you're talking about Hinchingbrooke Country Park. Even on a busy weekend there's a great feeling of fun and loads of space to wander.

Hinchingbrooke Country Park

Good points are easy walking through woods, meadows and lakes. The route suggested below is just over two miles, but there are lots of options shown in the Country Park leaflet. Heaps of wildflowers and insect life. Picnic and BBQ facilities provided. There's also attractive seating at the reasonably priced cafe. Kids' play area with huge slide, and apiary. Car noise on the west side from the A14. Can be muddy between the start and point 1 in winter. The route is shown below on the park map. You can also zoom in on a satellite view of the walk at Google Maps.
Start point
The park provides a carpark, charges between £1 and £2. Walk out of the carpark. After a few yards take the path to the right to head along Pine Avenue, where there are some very stately pine trees. You pass into a deciduous wood after 300 yards. Follow the route around to the left and down a slight incline.

Point 1
As you come out of the wood the path turns left to head across meadows. On the left you pass The Wash, a perfect spot for kids to peer into the pond for wildlife. A few yards further turn right. As you pass the Wildlife Lake there are hides to look for birdlife.

Point 2
Past Wildlife Lake and heading through the orchard, you arrive at a bridge. On the other side is an area of lakes and Nun's Meadows, as shown below. Lots of choices to walk around, lots of seats to enjoy the scenery and have a picnic.

To continue the walk skirt the Main Lake with Alconbury Brook on your left.

Point 3
Cross over Alconbury Brook at the footbridge by the Watersports Centre. The footpath just over the brook is lined with magnificent old chestnut trees, a remanent of the old garden of Hinchingbrooke House.

Turn right and after 300 yards walk through a gate.

Point 4
You are now at The Nun's Bridge, shown below. Traffic on Brampton Road above is unaware of the bypassed 600 year old grade II listed monument.

The bridge is said to be haunted by a nun from the convent that was on the site of Hinchingbrooke House. She and her lover, a local monk, were executed when the affair was discovered. In 2014 there was a chilling discovery. Two skeletons found at Hinchingbrooke House were initially believed to be those of Benedictine nuns. On further examination they were found to be those of a man and woman dating from over a thousand years ago. The woman was pregnant.

The spot certainly has the feel of travelling back in time. Maybe not a place to picnic, though. Retrace your steps back through the gate.

Point 5
After about 50 yards take the path on the right to skirt around a lake. Follow the path until it reaches a crossroad. Turn right, then quickly left. After about 150 yards take the path to the left taking you to a pond on your right, and a little further to the main open meadow. On warm sunny days the area echoes to the sound of happy picnicking families.

Point 6
You arrive at the cafe and toilets. Seating is available on a raised patio overlooking the meadow, shown below full of cowslips in summer. The small wildlife garden to left of the cafe building has more peaceful picnic benches. The cafe serves reasonably priced meals and snacks. The kids play area and large slide are a big attraction, visible from the cafe.

Walk away from the cafe for 150 yards with the meadow on your right.

Point 7
To your left is the entrance to the aviary. A chance to get safely close up to a number of hives, see bees whizzing back and forth with pollen and learn how amazing they are.

Return to the start point by walking back past the cafe and taking the woodland path to the right. There are lots of fallen logs carved into snake shapes and dens for kids to enjoy. After 150 yards you're back to the car park and 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?

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