Bridleway 21 (East Hatley)

Direction roughly SSE – NNW   Distance: c.1,700 m.                  Back to map
















Bridleway 21 is a continuation of Bridleway 2 (Arrington) that runs roughly south-southeast to north-north-west along the parish boundary between East Hatley and Arrington. It starts where Bridleway 3 meets the parish boundary (TL 301518) at just over 80 metres above sea level. From here there are panoramic views across the county as this area is 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.


For about 300 metres it follows the edge of the field until it meets Bridleway 18, Croydon Old Lane (TL 299522). This ancient track takes you northeast on Bridleway 1 (Arrington) to meet Ermine Street, the old Roman Road between Royston and Godmanchester or southwest towards East Hatley. The parish boundary follows this track for about 800 metres before turning back towards the north-eastern corner of Hayley Wood.


About 250 metres to the east is another medieval moat. Crossing the track, Bridleway 21 turns west-northwest towards Hatley Wilds for about 200 metres when it meets Bridleway 22 (TL 299521), perhaps the shortest in the county. It’s only about 200 metres long and is a short cut from Bridleway 18.


In 1307 there was mention of ‘Wolds’ in the area north of the parish – open grassland used for grazing sheep and cattle. It is thought that the angular shape of the fields reflects the division of this  common land. The bridleway continues towards the medieval moat and manor house of Hatley Wilds (TL 297523) According to the Royal Commission of Historic Monuments


(12) HATLEY WILDS (Class J; N.G. TL 296524). of one storey with attics, partly framed and plastered, partly of brick, with tiled roof hipped at the S. end; inside some chamfered ceiling beans are exposed; first half of the 18th century.

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


Local stories tell of there being a tunnel at Hatley Wilds leading to Longstowe church. Bridleway 21 then turns east for about 150 metres where you stand 81 metres above sea level. The path then turns north-northwest and about 200 metres further you pass a triangulation pillar (TL 296525), the white concrete block on top of which the Ordnance Surveyors placed their theodolyte to determine the angles between key features on the horizon and then use trigonometry to determine their distance and altitude. What local landmarks can you see from here? Check the Ordnance Survey map to find out.


After about a further 200 metres you cross a bridge over a drainage ditch and meet Bridleway 5 and the parish boundary at the southeast corner of Hayley Wood. The bridleway then continues north-northwest for about 500 metres before ending when it reaches the corner of the parish boundary with Longstowe and Little Grandsen (TL 294533). Bridleway 6 runs east to west from here along the parish boundary. The track, known as Hayley Lane, continues north as Bridleway 15 towards Cooper Gate House on the old Cambridge to Oxford railway line and the Longstowe Road.

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