Kings Ripton to Abbots Ripton Estate

One of the longest walks on the website, this is also one of the most serene. Way out in the middle of the Cambridgeshire countryside, you're unlikely to meet anyone along the route. Take a picnic and afternoon snooze half way beside an ancient wood and the route is split into two short ambles.

Walk along field edges full of wildflowers and insects. Admire the listed buildings in what must be our most peaceful and remote Anglo-Saxon village. Certainly one of the best village pubs. Watch for brown hares or red kites. Skirt the edge of ancient woodland and enjoy the environmentally-friendly management of the Abbots Ripton Estate.


Easy walking 7 miles (15,400 steps) of great variety through woodland, fields and a pleasant village. Serene, you're unlikely to meet anyone else on this walk. Quiet places to sit and rest. Wildlife friendly management of the Abbots Ripton Estate, so plenty of wildlife. There are dogs on the Abbots Ripton Estate which can become defensive when seeing strange dogs around, so not a walk to take your own pooch. In winter during wet spells it gets very muddy in certain areas. The route is shown below on the Ordnance Survey map. You can also zoom in on a satellite view of the walk at Google Maps.


Start point
Park in School Lane, Kings Ripton. Follow the footpath sign about halfway down the lane. After just over 200 yards you reach a T-junction. Turn right to walk along the field edge.

After the first field you'll find the route getting increasingly wildlife friendly. There's a stream running to your right with untended field borders, hedges and copses full of wildflowers and insects. In summer there are many butterflies, moths and dragonflies. If walking early or late in the day you may surprise a marauding fox.

Continue following the path along several field edges and through or over stiles. Finally, cross a stile and head through the middle of a field where the path is barely discernable because of trampling by sheep. After 330 yards you reach a stile on the other side of which is Bridge Road.


Point 1
Turn left and walk into Broughton, an ancient village of Anglo-Saxon origins. You're unlikely to visit a more peaceful place to live. Surrounded by countryside, access is via single track roads. With twenty-seven listed buildings, many dating from the 1600s, the village is very attractive. One of the first buildings on the left is Birds Farmhouse, red bricked, built in the 1600s and in need of some tender loving care.

With an almost five star rating on Trip AdvisorThe Crown Inn is particularly worth a visit. Food is excellent, service great, surroundings stylish and relaxing. Call first to book if you're planning to have a meal at weekend.

All Saints Church, pictured above, is very picturesque and ancient, the doorway surrounds dating from the 1200s. There are also wall paintings from the 1400s and lettering from the 1500s.

Continue by walking up School Road, leading at right angles away from the pub and past the church. After just over 200 yards follow the footpath sign off to the right. You reach a farm gate, with chickens in the garden to the left. Pass into the field beyond the gate and continue along the left-hand edge. Like blackberry pie? The field hedge is bursting with ripe fruit in summer.

On reaching the top of the field, turn and admire the view of a peaceful English village perfectly blending with its surroundings.

Point 2
Cross the stile at the top corner of the field to turn left. Follow the hedge on your left along the edges of two fields for about 250 yards. As the track turns right at the far end of the second field, you turn left to pass over a small bridge through a hedge. Beyond the bridge, cross the middle of a field and through the hedge on the opposite side. Skirting along another field edge for 300 yards brings you to a small copse as shown below. A further 400 yards of field edges and the track turns left to reach Rectory Farm.

Walk through the farm and at the very end of the farm drive take the track to the right along the field edge, following the route of the road. In the next mile or two you may see a brown hare in the fields, or red kites rising on thermals.


Point 3
On reaching the field corner, turn left to cross the road and follow the footpath sign pointing into a small copse. This is the start of the Abbots Ripton Estate. The route from this point is generally well tended and highly supportive of wildlife. Very keen to enhance the wildlife habitat and increase bird and insect populations, the Estate keeps a record of birds spotted locally.

Follow the field edges for just over half a mile. After crossing a road there's more field edge walking for a quarter of a mile.

When you reach Wood Lane, head right towards Wennington Wood, just over 200 yards away.

Point 4
Continue until you reach Wennington Wood (may be shown as Raveley Wood on your map), the remains of ancient woodland which once covered this part of Huntingdonshire. Turn left to walk along the wood edge. Unfortunately you can't enter, but as you round a corner to the right there's a much better view of the interior.

Somewhere in the next third of a mile you'll find the perfect spot to take a break and have a picnic. In summer, sometimes there's a hayrick nearby to provide shade for a snooze. One of the few spots you're almost certain of peaceful isolation.

Continue winding your way along the wood edge, passing an area for farm silage and general rubbish.


Point 5
About 80 yards beyond the silage area, head down Hall Lane, leading away from the wood. After 350 yards turn first left into Bough Lane. Almost half a mile brings you to a track to the right. Head down this, with a copse on your right.

Beyond the copse, in the field to your right you'll see a couple of amazing figures, as shown above.  At the bottom of the field turn left.

Point 6
After 150 yards the track turns left. Follow route signs straight on into woodland and more natural planting. Walk along here in spring or summer and you'll find it full of wildflowers and insects, with some very old trees.

Follow the path and stream on your right for just over three-quarters of a mile. Cross a footbridge, and Ramsey Road, then another footbridge. A further 80 yards returns you to the T junction mentioned at the beginning. Turn right to return to 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?

11 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:37 pm

    We did the walk on Sunday 29/01/12 dull day, cold but almost no wind. We didn't see a single person. We missed the turn to the Church as we were looking for one on the left.....should be turn right by church and park! Instead we drove on and walked from Broughton parking on the road outside Old Rectory.
    In winter with the newly emerged crop the track across the field wasn't obvious after the footbridge and hedge....initially we thought we went round until i remembered the photo in summer showing a track across a field with a crop growing in it.
    After leaving the road which goes to Abbot's Ripton Hall we had some more confusion with
    "and then turn right at the first opportunity after a part of the track lined with trees"
    need to make it clear it's the section with trees lining both sides of the road as before this there are tree's lining oneside and there was an earlier opportunity to turn left but as we had a full map of the area we could see we needed to go further which you might not realise if you haven't got a map.
    Great walk, though we had to do it quick as we started at 3pm due to delays and sunset was 4.40pm!

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    1. Thanks for the suggestions, text updated. John

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  2. Anonymous12:12 pm

    As a family of four with a dog, we attempted this walk on Friday 07.09.12 - but have to admit that having got lost using the directions we made up our own walk instead, which was just as lovely.

    We took the turning next to church and headed over the first field, reaching the T junction. Decided to turn right as per the instructions and reached a field whereby the farmer had put up a sign saying private land - this ended up in us turning left and having to add about an extra mile onto our walk over ploughed rough mud!

    We then decided to cross over the road and walk towards wennington woods, past the nursery along the paved track directly next to the secret garden party entrance, past the game keeper’s cottage and around the woods. Dogs must be kept on leads due to the wildlife this did not bother us as there were plenty of smells to keep the dog amused.

    However...this is not a public right of way and Lord de Ramsey has only given permission to walk this route to avoid claims of a right of way later on. And although the signs clearly say dogs must be kept on leads....this obviously does not apply to his 3 Labradors that decided to form a pack and try and attack our dog that was on a lead, resulting in us having to form a circle to protect our dog until the young girl that was walking the dogs came to collect them minutes later, and the dogs failing to respond to her. Hearing our shouts to get her dogs on leads she informed us that she didn’t have their leads with her...as "she lived here" and never uses them. Eventually she managed to get the dogs away, and rather shocked from the ordeal we decided to walk straight back to the car and go home.

    Although this area is lovely to walk in and has beautiful scenery - beware of the dogs! I do not think they would harm walkers but if you decided to take your dog please be careful. We spent a lot of money and time training our dog to get on with other dogs and within 5 minutes all that has been destroyed!

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    1. Oh dear! The encounter with the dogs must have been frightening!

      In all the times I've done this walk I've not only never met any dogs along the route, but no humans either. Sounds like you accidentally wandered off the route onto private paths, hence the encounter. Also sounds like you therefore missed one of best parts of the walk, as shown in the last couple of photos above.

      Did you take a copy of the map to guide you? I'll do the walk soon to check out about farmer's sign saying private land... I remember there were some th elast time but these were only to keep you on the right track.

      Hope you try the walk again on a more summery day.

      Thanks, John

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    2. Anonymous11:56 am

      Hi John,

      We printed this whole page with the map and instructions to help us but unfortunatly my map skills arent too great and as my dad told me when we got home, a sensible walker takes an ordanance survey map and checks the route before he leaves home. A tip for the next time we try this walk I guess.

      Having seen the pictures, I am sure we will certainly try the correct walk again sometime in the near future, perhaps when the weather improves.

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  3. Anonymous4:53 pm

    We too have encountered Lord De Ramsey's dog attacking our dog as they leave the gate open and he runs outside to the roadway and attacks dogs that are on a lead. He is a menace and they should do something about it.

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    1. Thanks for letting me know that this problem continues. I've sent an email to the estate, text as below, and until there's more certainty about the issue I've added a warning at the top of this walk. Regards, John

      EMAIL TEXT

      Hi… the circular walk described in the walk web page at the link below goes through the Abbots Ripton Estate. It's a beautiful walk, much due your environmental management of the land and the tidy upkeep of footpaths. One of my favourite walks, it's also loved by many other ramblers.

      As you can see from the comments at the link below, there have been a few unfortunate incidents when walkers' dogs have been attacked by dogs from the estate. In one worrying incident three labradors formed a pack and the walkers had to circle their dog to protect it. It appears the walkers are following your rules and keeping their dogs on leads.

      Could you give me a comment about this. If you feel the problem may continue I will put a note against the walk stating that there may be problems if walkers take their own dogs on the estate land.

      Here's the link to the walk web page : http://cambswalks.blogspot.co.uk/2010/12/kings-ripton-circular-walk-65-miles.html

      Thanks, John

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    2. Lady De Ramsey kindly responded to explain that the estate dogs act defensively when they see strangers walking past their home. She is not aware of them attacking other dogs but they do bark and appear boisterous.

      In view of this I've put an advisory note in the walk summary to suggest dogs are not taken on this walk.

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  4. Anonymous8:48 pm

    Hi John, We did this walk today, June 22nd 2014, lovely hot day, did not help my hayfever! Started out of Broughton, found it easier to park, though when we got back the place was alive with people and cars, as unknown to us there was a village garden typr ramble etc going on, so it added to an enjoyable day. Read all the comments other people had placed, so had ordnance map and your instructions to hand and set off. Basically never found anything wrong with the instructions, so any alterations you have done are now ok. It was very well way marked, and for half the walk the paths were easy to follow as the grass paths had been recently cut, so just a question of walking and enjoying the stroll. Found the walk a bit arable in places, but enjoyable. Took us just under 3 hours to complete, but had two sit down breaks in that time. Finished off with a drink in the garden of The Crown Inn at Broughton, which looked busy but can't comment about food as we never had any. Broughton itself is a gem, countless thatched roofs and well tended gardens. At Abbots Ripton close to Grange Farm, you pass some ponds to your right, and sitting right behind one pond was a huge Dog or Wolf made out of straw. Any ideas why? Done a number of walks in this area St Ives, Huntingdon all the way to St Neots. Can you recommend any other areas close by please? Many thanks for this walk, very enjoyable. Paul

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    1. Hi Paul... Glad you enjoyed the walk. Appreciate the comment and feedback.

      The 25ft straw fox was originally displayed in 2011 outside London's Royal Festival Hall to celebrate 60yrs since the first Festival of Britain.

      Not sure how you accessed this walk, but there are loads more listed at Cambridgeshire Walks (http://cambswalks.blogspot.co.uk). I'd recommend trying the Needingworth wetland nature reserve walk to Bluntisham (http://cambswalks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/12/needingworth-to-bluntisham.html), or the St Ives to Houghton via Wyton (http://cambswalks.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/st-ives-to-houghton-via-wyton-on-hill.html). But all the walks on the site are personally vetted by me and well worth trying.

      Regards, John

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  5. Anonymous8:23 pm

    Hi John
    Thank-you for the information regarding the 25ft Straw Fox, interesting. Accessed the Cambridgeshire Walks site and took this walk, also printed St Ives to Houghton, so toss of coin was used to choose!! Will look at the Needingworth walk in time. Certainly pleasant walking in this area, well worth an hour drive to get there, and we will continue to spread out more. Do love the villages as well.
    Kind Regards
    Paul

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