Witchford Walks - Walk 5
This walk continues from Walk 1 and has fine views across Grunty Fen to Wilburton and Haddenham from the raised bank of the Catchwater Drain; approximate distance is 2¾ miles.
A reminder of the first part of the walk; starting from the Village Inn go west along Main Street passing Witchford House on the left. At the footpath sign, turn left and go through a wooden gate keeping on the footpath which passes along the side of #97 Main Street. After a short distance there is another gate which takes you into a field belonging to Witchford House.
Continue along beside the hedge, over a footbridge and pass through a gate. Bear left and after a short distance go through another gate to walk beside a small pond, Toad Corner. Cross over a wooden sleeper bridge and carry on alongside the ditch into Holts End, also known as Old Scenes Drove. Turn right at the yellow footpath waymark into Clover Piece (aka Long Meadow); at the southern end of Long Meadow turn left along the short length of fenced pathway before entering into the Old Recreation Ground.
Continue along the northern boundary of the field until reaching the gate and exit onto the Grunty Fen Road. On entering Grunty Fen Road from the old recreation field, turn right and walk over the Catchwater drain turning right onto the far bank. Before starting your walk along the Catchwater bank look to your left across Grunty Fen road to where the Catchwater drain bridges over the Grunty Fen drain; it is rare to have a drain bridging over another drain.
The lower drain passes under Main Street and alongside Sandpit Lane. The Catchwater drain keeps to higher ground making its way to the river at Little Thetford. Note – you can walk along its bank all the way to the A10.
Returning to our walk, follow the raised bank of the Catchwater until the intersection with New Road Drove. Grunty Fen Catchwater drain runs along the northern edge of Grunty Fen, a marshy area in the middle of the Isle until it was drained in the mid-nineteenth century.The mound to the south, just before the intersection with New Road, is entirely artificial.
Turning right onto this drove takes you back to Main Street. Turn right at Main Street to return to The Village Inn. ‘New Road' was created in the early Nineteenth century in connection with the reorganisation of landholdings in the village (see Walk 3). It replaced a winding boundary between the two medieval fields, Briery and Hale Fields.