I love the location of where we currently live – we can walk into Cambridge city centre in about half an hour (if Andrew goes all the way on the buggy board and we don’t get stuck behind tourists walking at ‘tourist’ pace!), the supermarkets are just 10-15 minutes walk, there are plenty of toddler groups within 20 minutes walk…. and also in just 5 minutes we can walk from home in a definite urban setting to a lovely rural environment with cows in a field next to the River Cam.
There is a round-trip walk from our flat, which goes along this river and across a common, and is perfect for an afternoon stroll with a baby and toddler – since having kids I’ve walked this route so many times that I can’t remember how many, either getting them off to sleep as babies or wearing Andrew (and soon Joel) out as a toddler. This week I took some photos to show what we see on our way round. Andrew is easy to spot with his pink buggy which he likes to push around the circuit, and I find it keeps him walking/running longer than if he doesn’t take it.
After a short walk up the road and down an alley, we come out, across a cattle grid for bikes, into a field that often has cows in (they rotate the exact bits of common that they graze on, so aren’t always in the same place). The river is at the far side, in a dip, so you can’t see it until you get closer, though if the rowers are out, we see 9 heads moving at high speed across the far end of the field! (8 rowers, 1 cox.)
Part of the fun of walking through this bit of field, down towards the river, is looking out for trains that pass along on the left side and go across a bridge over the river. As it’s the main line out of Cambridge, we regularly see several trains on one walk. As we get nearer the river, we can look down stream towards an old village called Fen Ditton, which we can also walk to if we go that way. Most of the time we carry on with the river on our right though, and head towards Cambridge centre.
After going under the railway bridge on a pedestrian and cycle boardwalk over the river, we come to an enclosed field with 2 horses in it. We usually stop and say hello to the horses, who are friendly – so much so that this week one of them decided to lick our buggy rain cover!
Navigating the cattle grids (for bikes) with a buggy can be fun, though we’re getting to the stage that Andrew can almost walk the whole route and I take Joel in the sling, so I’m looking forward to not needing wheels (except maybe Andrew’s bike) for this outing! Once we’ve got through these grids, there is another field in which the path goes right next to the river, and more cows often graze there. Other animals about include plenty of ducks and some swans, as well as several dogs being walked/run in the field.
Apart from dodging cows and dogs, if we walk there towards the end of the afternoon, particularly on a Friday as we did when I took these photos, we also have to dodge the many bikes that speed home from town along the path. It’s not really a problem as the path is so wide, but I do find I need my wits about me when walking with a lively toddler, pushing a buggy, and also when the cows are standing on or near the path.
The other mode of transport that we see lots of in this stretch of river is boats. There are house boats, canal boats and, of course, rowing boats – sometimes just single or double, and at the weekend often the 8 rowers plus cox boats (most of the college training happens early in the morning except at weekends, and although we’re up early, we don’t often make it down to the river until later in the day!)
When we get to the foot bridge over the river, we go the other way (not crossing the river) and walk towards the park, and if we have time we stop for a play. Even if Andrew is starting to flag from walking at this point, he always seems to have enough energy for the park. Then it’s just a 10 minute walk back along the road home again.
We love being able to do this walk and never get bored of it and the views that we get on the way. We’ve walked it in all seasons: snow, rain, wind and sunshine. When we eventually move from here one day, we’ll miss this walk a lot.
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