Extra Walk 31b – Huntingdon Circular (long walk, via St Ives)
Length: 24½ km (15.2 miles). Toughness: 3/10
Shorter Options: 18½ km (11.5 miles) or 15 km (9.3 miles), both 2/10. 10:22
Peterborough train from Kings Cross
(Finsbury Park 10:28) arriving Huntingdon
Trains back are at 00 & 34 minutes past (the ones on the hour are quicker).
A couple of years ago I researched an extension to this walk to take in the interesting market town of St Ives (not the town where you can surf, alas). Its first posting was predictably blighted by miserable weather and I think the two brave souls who ventured out switched to one of the shorter options, so in effect this is the Long Walk's début. Whichever walk option you take you'll find a flat landscape with plenty of water features so it should be bearable if this hot weather continues (and swimming might be a possibility, but you'll have to do your own research to see if that's advisable).
You don't have to decide which option to take until you come to the linked villages of Wyton and Houghton, after 6½ km. The Three Jolly Butchers
has always provided us with a good pub lunch but if you're doing the Long Walk you might want to carry on: you'll pass a couple more village pubs on the leg to St Ives (including a very up-market one which you'd need to book). My research didn't encompass any of the town's pubs but you won't be short of refreshment choices there either. There are frequent buses back to Huntingdon if you want to finish the walk at the halfway stage.
If you spurn St Ives for one of the shorter options you'll have time to visit the last working watermill on the River Great Ouse, the National Trust's Houghton Mill
. The return leg from St Ives rejoins the other routes here and all groups should be in time for some more refreshment at the NT tearoom by the mill. At the end of the walk the George Hotel
in Huntingdon's town centre has some comfortable armchairs if you're not in a hurry to catch a train.
You'll need to print the walk directions from the Extra Walk 31
page. Unless you're sure which option you're going to take I suggest printing the whole document. T=swc.31.b