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Hiking in Britain

Walk #8: Waterbeach to Newmarket

General Data

Date Walked 30/01/1999
County Cambridgeshire, Suffolk
Start Location Waterbeach
End Location Newmarket
Start time 07.45
End time 13.15
Distance 17.5 miles
Description This was a walk in four stages (see below), following the Devil's Dyke.
Pack My pack was of medium weight, containing my sleeping bag, some food and spare clothes.
Condition I feel quite fine. I don't think I have any new blisters, my left knee, which was hurting a fair bit when I set out, was fine after Reach until I got onto the road again at Woodditton, and my ankle was fine.
Weather The weather today was mserable. There was no actual rain, but it was very misty and I was constantly walking into it.
OS map Landranger number 154 (Cambridge & Newmarket, Saffron Walden)


This walk was quite satisfying. On the journey to Reach, the underside of my left knee was hurting as it has been for some time. This concerned me and I began to doubt whether I would finish the walk. However, after Reach when I got on the bank overlooking the Ditch, it freed up and gave little trouble.

When I got to Woodditton, I studied the train times and realised that I had 70 minutes to get back to the station to meet an earlier train than the one I expected to catch. I therefore increased my pace across the hill to Newmarket, and arrived in 55 minutes - a distance of about 3.5 miles. This was across hills, and at the end of the walk, so I am quite pleased that I managed to keep that sort of pace up.

Devil's Dyke itself is quite spectacular in places. The going was very muddy though, and I once had a struggle not to fall backwards when climbing up a slope. I will have to go back and walk it in summer and see how much better the views are.

I set off from Waterbeach at 07.45, and I made good time to get to Newmarket in the early afternoon. All in all, a great walk. And I feel (relatively) fine afterwards.

(Later notes from April 2004): For images of the dyke, have a look at http://www.burwell.co.uk/content/devilsdyke.asp, which shows a couple of good views of the Dyke. Unfortunately I did this walk before I routinely took photographs of my walks, and I may walk it again sometime to get some good shots of it. Another site, this time featuring details of a walk along the Dyke can be found at http://www.wood-ditton.org.uk/devilsditch.htm.

Map of the walk

Maps courtesy of Google Maps. Route for indicative purposes only, and may have been plotted after the walk. Please let me have comments on what you think of this new format. For a detailed table of timings for this walk, please see the table file.


Set off from Waterbeach and walk to Bottisham Lock and the river. Cross over via the bridge and follow the eastern bank of the river northwards past the entrance to Swaffham Bulbeck Lode. When you get to Commisioners Farm at TL525679, leave the river and go down a track that leads to a road at the farm. Follow a road that heads in a rough southeasterly direction, although regularly turning at right angles. It passes Lord's Ground Farm and then ends at a T-junction at TL544661. Turn left to follow the road northwards for a third of a mile.

At a crossroads turn right to follow Little Fen Drove southeastwards. After a little over a mile it turns sharply to the left and heads northeastwards to enter the village of Reach. Once in Reach, look for the village green and follow the path from the far corner which leads up onto the raised banking of the Devil's Dyke. Follow the raised banking southeastwards all the way to the B1102 road. Cross the road, and ascend the banking once more and follow the Dyke to the A14.

Cross the A14 via a bridge, and soon come to Newmarket racecourse. Cross the first run, and ascend the Dyke again. Continue along the Dyke across the full width of the racecourse until you reach a road.

Cross the road and follow the Dyke until it ends at a road (after about 7.5 miles on the dyke) in the village of Ditton Green. Turn left and follow the road eastwards for nearly half a mile. At a crossroads turn left to follow Vicarage Lane northwards for nearly three miles, passing a couple of stud farms. Cross a bridge over the railway line and then turn right down a road that heads northeastwards for a third of a mile until Newmarket station is reached on the right.


From To Distance (m)Ascent (ft) Descent (ft)
Waterbeach Reach 6.3 36 13
Reach Ditton Green 7.6 499 154
Ditton Green Newmarket 3.6 92 364

This makes a total distance of 17.5 miles, with 627 feet of ascent and 531 feet of descent.

  Profile of walk #8
For more information on profiles, ascents and descents, see this page


Please note that I take no responsibility for anything that may happen when following these directions. If you intend to follow this route, then please use the relevant maps and check the route out before you go out. As always when walking, use common sense and you should be fine.

If you find any information on any of these routes that is inaccurate, or you wish to add anything, then please email me.

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And finally, enjoy your walking!

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