Bridleway 18 (East Hatley)

Direction: SSW Ė NNE†† Distance: c.1,800 m.†††††††††††††††††††††††† Back to map







Bridleway 18 is an ancient track leading from East Hatley village green north-northeast to Hatley Wilds, Longstowe and Ermine Street, the Roman Road from Royston to Godmanchester. The predominantly mid-19th houses on the village street were constructed on the eastern side of the triangular village green. Its southerly apex was the manor house and St Denisí Church. Bridleway 18 starts a about 78 metres above sea level on the northern side of Hatley Road, about 100 metres east of the junction with the village street. It follows a track past Parkerís Farm, a tall red bricked farmhouse built in the late 19th century,rising to 79 metres above sea level and then follows the western side of a drainage ditch down across the fields to the northeast.


After about 700 metres it meets Footpath 7 (TL), a long path which follows the course of Millbridge Brook west into Hatley St George. Just to the west of the bridleway there is a pond (TL 293513). This is a spring at 75 metres above sea level., one of the sources of Millbridge Brook.


Bridleway 18 then ascends a gentle slope for about 250 metres and passes a small copse to the east where it veers slightly to the northwest, past Long Lane Farm which was added to Parkerís Farm in the 1860s. According to the Royal Commission of Historic Monuments :


LONG LANE FARM (Class J), two-storeyed, framed and plastered, with hipped slated roof, is 18th century. The traditional design is elaborated to include a narrow staircase by at the S. end and an outshut of indefinite extent on the E; an early 19th century addition now occupies the S. end of this side.


(19) CULTIVATION REMAINS in the former parish of East Hatley (not on O.S.). Ridge and furrow, up to 300 yds. long with ridges 7 yds. to 12 yds. wide and 9 ins. to 1 Ĺ ft. high with headlands of 9 yds. to 12 yds. survives over most of the parish though some has been ploughed since 1946, notably in the closes round the village and in the N.E. of the parish. The longest ridges are almost certainly the result of ploughing two or more former end-on furlongs as one. In the N.E. of the parish the ridge and furrow fits the rectangular field lay-out; around Long Lane Farm (Monument 10) (N.G. TL 294515) and Carterís or Holbenís Farm (Monument 9) (N.G. TL 296505) curving open field furlongs have been enclosed en bloc.

(R.C.H.M. (1968), Inventory, West Cambs. p. 150)

After a further 200 metres you meet Footpath 3 to the west which zig-zags its way . About 400 metres you meet Bridleway 20 (TL298519) at 82 metres above sea level., the highest point in the parish. From here there are panoramic views across the county as this area is also the highest in West Cambridgeshire. The land is heavy boulder clay, laid down during the last ice age which only melted about 11,000 years ago. Beneath it lies many hundreds of metres of Gault clay, deposited when this area was under the sea about 500 million years ago and about 27o south of the Equator. The whole area was covered in trees until the first settlers began clearing it.


This route takes you north-northwest towards Hayley Wood, an ancient woodland. Bridleway 18 continues for a further 300 metres, passing another plantation to the southeast. About 100 metres along the plantation you meet Bridleway 22 (TL 298521) This takes you north around the eastern side of Hatley Wilds. About 200 metres further on the bridleway ends where it meets the parish boundary between East Hatley and Longstowe. (TL 299522) along which runs Bridleway 21. The track continues north-northeast along Croydon Old Lane to meet Ermine Street, the Old Roman Road at Coombe Grove farm.There are several moats in the fields nearby. These are the remnants of deserted medieval manors referred to in the Victoria County History..


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