SWC walk 118
18 km, 11.2 miles (with longer and shorter options)
Difficulty 2 out of 10
Once just maps but now with words as well, this walk has gone through some changes and this is the first outing in its new form. It has been rewritten, rerouted, re-vamped, re-everythinged! It explores the reclaimed land of the former “Isle" of Ely, then takes you through Ely itself, the second smallest city in England. The Great Ouse, ditches, dykes, embankments and catchwaters all help to create the special atmosphere of Fenland, where Hereward the Wake once led an insurgency against the Normans. The walk returns past Ely landmarks, including the Cathedral and Oliver Cromwell's House. Directions
We're doing the new main walk via Stretham. Options:
As well as the main walk,
- there is a very short Ely – Little Thetford – Ely walk of 11.6 km/7.2 miles (with lunch back in Ely),
- or you can pick up the old route to Witchford and its pub, either as an add-on to the main walk (an extra 7.5 km/4.7 miles) or instead of the Stretham loop (total distance: 19.1 km/11.9 miles).
- Near the end, you can add an extension through the meadows of the River Great Ouse (add 2.4 km. 1.5 miles).
: Get the 10:15
King's Lynn train to Ely from Kings Cross (arriving 11:22).
Trains return from Ely at xx:58 (fastest, direct) and xx:04 (change at Cambridge). Lunch :
For the main walk The Red Lion,
High Street, Stretham, 01353 648 132.
Or, if doing the Witchford loop, The Village Inn,
Witchford 01353 663763. (Carvery only on Sundays, vegetarians beware.) Tea:
There are many tea places in Ely - see the notes for an extensive list. I've picked out four.
, off Forehill, is open till 5. Sedate and genteel, just like us. Recommended.
Also on Forehill, an award-winning micropub, the Drayman’s Son
sells specialist locally brewed beer and a wide selection of ciders (with names like "Nun Behaving Badly" and "Monk and Disorderly"). 3 At 3 Real Ale & Craft Beer Café,
Three Cups Walk, Ely, (01353 659 916) Bottle-conditioned ales, cider, wine - and tea and coffee. The Cutter Inn,
42 Annesdale, (01353 662 713). Historic.
Dating from the 11th Century, Ely Cathedral
is open till 5:30 and, according to their website, is free to visit on a Sunday – though I’m sure they would appreciate a donation. Oliver Cromwell's House
has been done out to show how his family would have lived in the mid 17th Century, assisted by an introductory film, audio tour and lifesize animated dummies. Open 11 till 5 (last entry 4), admission £4.90
Feedback on this new version of the walk would be appreciated.