Wednesday, 25th June 2014: I have a confession to make, I am a fickle cyclist, no sooner do I find a favourite route than I cycle along it loads and then abandon it for a while. The trouble is I rather like “explorative” cycling. The type where you head out and are not quite sure just where the route goes, nor how easy it will be to cycle. The trouble is it gets harder and harder for me to find such routes around Cambridge. That’s not to say they don’t exist, it is just more difficult to find a track that can be incorporated into a pleasant and accessible loop.
So I was pleased and grateful that the Shelford and District Bridleways Group had fought the battle to get Rowley Lane upgraded to a bridleway. In case you were wondering Rowley Lane takes you from Bury Farm, Stapleford to Babraham.
So here is a Loop from Cambridge out to Stapleford (via NCN11) to Abington and then up to the Roman Road and back into Cambridge via the Wilbrahams. You could chop the Wilbrahams bit off if you wanted to shorten it a bit. Here is the Bike Route Toaster map, which reckons the route is just over 48Km/30 miles with a maximum elevation of 84m. The worst bit is crossing the A1307 at Little Abington. Also a surprising number of cars seem to take the Hildersham Road – but you don’t cycle along it for long.
I probably also ought to mention that the track between Babraham and Bourn Bridge Road seems to be a footpath, but is marked as a cycle track on the OSM map. It also gets a mention as a cycle route in various Council Documents.
Rowley Lane – newly minted Bridleway – starts as a farm track
Rowley Lane – newly minted Bridleway – becomes single-track
You get a good look at the arable agriculture on Cambridge’s doorstep. This summer there was Oil Seed Rape, Wheat and Potatoes.
Rowley Lane – newly minted Bridleway – wheat
After passing over the Granta (or through the ford) it becomes a bumpier track
Rowley Lane – newly minted Bridleway – potatoes
On reaching Babraham you turn left and then shortly right past Home Farm. Where there is some newly laid shared-use path to keep you of the farm road and out of the way of the farm vehicles I guess.
Babraham to Great Abington Cycle Route
After that brief bit of tarmac the path becomes are rather narrow line of grit.
Babraham to Great Abington Cycle Route – 3 x singletrack
Where it brings you out a small bridge over the A11. There are cycle channels along the steps on either side to assist cyclists in getting their bikes up. It doesn’t do much for prams and wheelchairs though. Check out the third picture down in this CTC ride report – quite a “traffic-jam” up the steps of the bridge.
Babraham to Great Abington Cycle Route – Bridge over the A11
There is a bit of a climb out of Abington – you cross the A1307 at 38m and then “ascend” to 77m to join the Roman Road. I never cease to be amazed how few people I see on the Roman Road – it isn’t unusual to see the odd cyclist on it though. (Perhaps that is what people say when they seem me.)
The Romand Road is a great route to cycle along, as it isn’t that difficult, but you do have to have your wits about you. You also get to see wild flowers along the way.
Vicia cracca on the Roman Road
aka Tufted Vetch on aka Worsted Street
How about that for a view of the route home – glorious – although it does seem to be a kinky roman road.
Worsted Street – heading towards Cambridge
Worsted Street – barley in the fields