5 Open Spaces that you can Go and Explore in Cambridge
The 2019 Winter Solstice occurred on December 22nd. On this day, the North Pole is tilted the farthest away from the Sun, delivering the fewest hours of sunlight of the year. For us at Open Air, the day after the Winter Solstice is one worth celebrating as it marks the beginning of the steady march towards longer days and warmer temperatures. To us outdoor enthusiasts, it feels somewhat unjust that on the cusp of prime adventure time, that we are gripped by a global pandemic with all advice pointing to staying indoors. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which is why more than ever, fresh air and gentle exercise is likely to be of great benefit for both body and mind during this time. If you do choose to go out for a little wander it’s important to select a location that isn’t congested with preference to wide open spaces. With this in mind, our team has put together a short list of 5 destinations that you can explore and enjoy within Cambridge.
A popular riverside walk from Cambridge to the nearby village of Grantchester to the city centre’s south west. You can begin this walk at Open Air on Green Street and follow Trinity Lane and Garret Hostel Lane east until you meet the River Cam. Follow river south along the famous Cambridge Backs which offer an excellent vantage of the University Colleges to Mill Pond. From here, the greenery really commences as you encounter Coe Fen Reserve and Sheep’s Green. Sheep’s Green is a water meadow habitat and periodically floods so it could be a little muddy after rain. A clearly signposted path will take you through this lush reserve land before depositing you at the wide open expanses of Grantchester Meadows. For its proximity to the city centre, it offers a very pastoral scene as you’re likely to see sheep and cows grazing, particularly as we enter the Springtime.
Byron’s Pools, located to the south-east of Grantchester was named after poet Lord Byron who used to swim at the weir. This calm and tranquil woodland reserve offers a pleasant walk next to the River Cam through densely treed circular walk. The adjacent Trumpington Meadows offers a similar expanse of natural space to enjoy, particularly in the warmer months as the colourful wildflowers come into bloom.
The Gog Magog Hills are a ridge of low chalk hills that extend to the South East of Cambridge and is the perfect destination to relax and refresh, just a short distance from the city limits. The location also incorporates Wandlebury Country Park as well as Wandlebury Hill where an Iron Age Hill Fort once stood. The location is easily accessed via cycle paths following Babraham Road south east of Addenbrooke’s Hospital and offers ample parking at both Magog Downs and Wandlebury.
Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows
Set on the banks of the River Cam, Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows has long been a popular destination for locals to enjoy a peaceful walk, run or cycle, or to simply sit and collect thoughts. Easily accessed from the city centre, we’d recommend strolling through Jesus Green, crossing Victoria Avenue and following the river up the walking path that passed through Midsommer Common which for a very relaxing, traffic-free walk.Stourbridge Common and Ditton Meadows, there is a walking path that will take you Milton Country Park (and as far as King’s Lynn via the Fen Rivers Path if you really wanted to!). Do be aware that cattle graze these spaces from April to October and may be on the walking paths, so ensure you give them a wide berth.
Occupying nearly 100 acres of lakes, play areas and walking paths to the city centre’s north, Milton Country Park offers the outdoor enthusiast ample opportunity for activities amongst the woodlands and wetlands. With a network of made walking paths, the park is both cycle and wheelchair friendly offering ample opportunity for fresh air, exercise and to be at one with nature. The park is accessible by bike following the Cam along the Fen River Walking Path and turning left on Fen Road.
So there you have it!
If you’ve been remote working all week and are looking for a destination to stretch the legs and enjoy some R&R, why not pay these local open spaces a visit and make the most of the longer days!