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.
Good points of this 4 miles (8,800 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.
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.
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.
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 thus used for fen skating when the weather is cold enough.
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 feeding on the fen. You're almost certain to see one or more herons. You also get a beautiful view of Bluntisham and St Mary's church.
A further 500 yards will bring you to a track leading off to the left. 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.
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 right and walk for a quarter of a mile. You'll pass The Crown, which gets great reviews on Trip Advisor and has a lovely riverside garden for a snack or meal. Note it's shut on Monday lunchtimes.
Turn left and walk up Chapel Lane. After 250 yards turn left into Whybrows Lane.
Follow the route as it heads behind some industrial units, then along field edges and through woodland. You'll come into Mill Lane, passing allotment gardens and playing fields.
Continue straight on when Mill Lane meets East Street. After 250 yards the street turns left and then joins the High Street. Turn left and just over 300 yards brings you back to the start point.
Here's the walk shown on the Ordnance Survey map of 1900.
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