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Hiking in Britain

Walk #18: Waterbeach to Ely


P20046200013	The River Cam between Clayhithe and Bottisham Lock.
P20046200016	Bottisham Lock.
P20046200013 The River Cam between Clayhithe and Bottisham Lock.
P20046200016 Bottisham Lock.

General Data

Date Walked 24/04/1999
County Cambridgeshire
Start Location Waterbeach
End Location Ely Station
Start time 10.15
End time 14.18
Distance 10.9 miles
Description This was a walk along the eastern bank of the River Cam (the Fen Rivers Way) from Waterbeach to Ely.
Pack Today I carried a full pack containing four litres of water.
Condition I feel okay after this walk, and have no problems to report.
Weather There was nice walking weather for the main walk; it was not too warm, with a light cooling breeze. It was overcast all the way, but it never threatened to rain. When walking back from Waterbeach station to my flat, however, I got caught out in a thunderstorm.
OS map Landranger number 154 (Cambridge & Newmarket, Saffron Walden) and Landranger number 143 (Ely & Wisbech, Downham Market)

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.


I have walked the western bank of the River Cam between Waterbeach and Ely on many occasions, following the Fen Rivers Way. There is another option, however, of walking along the eastern bank, and although I had done stretches of this I had yet to do the whole thing. Today I set out to rectify this. It is a surprisingly different walk to that along the other bank, with more stretches of track and more time spent away from the river.

Please note that the photographs on this page were taken on a later walk, walk 611 in 2004, which was along the western bank of the river.


P20046200037	The River Cam between Upware and Dimmock's Cote.
P20046200047	A boat on the Cam to the north of Dimmock's Cote.
P20046200037 The River Cam between Upware and Dimmock's Cote.
P20046200047 A boat on the Cam to the north of Dimmock's Cote.


From Waterbeach village head towards Bottisham Lock. Once the lock is reached turn left and go through a little gate to access the footbridge over the lock, climb over this, and then cross the sluice to gain access to the eastern bank of the river. Do not descend the slope down the bank, but turn left and start following the flood bank northwards. The rest of the walk is fairly easy; just continue following the Fen Rivers Way as it heads northwards; for most of the time this follows the top of the flood banking, but in a couple of places it drops down onto the floodplain and follows the riverbank or tracks for short distances. These places are well marked, and continuing onwards along the flood bank through many years' worth of vegetation would be difficult.

The path angles away from the river as it heads north from Upware to reach the A1123 Dimmock's Cote Road. It heads further away for half a mile, before turning sharply to the left to rejoin the flood bank along the river.

The Ely to Bury St Edmunds railway line is crossed, and then it is a short walk to the A142 road in Ely. Turn left to cross the river, and Ely Station is now a hundred yards to the left.

Note that the Fen Rivers Way follows both banks in this location, and in my hones opinion the western bank is more preferable to this eastern bank walk, since the former follows the river for a much longer period.


From To Distance (m)Ascent (ft) Descent (ft)
Waterbeach A1123 5.6 30 23
A1123 Ely station 5.3 13 23

This makes a total distance of 10.9 miles, with 43 feet of ascent and 46 feet of descent.

  Profile of walk #18
For more information on profiles, ascents and descents, see this page


There are regular (even on Sundays) trains from Ely to Waterbeach. The price of a single ticket is 3.00, and it costs 1.00 to park at Waterbeach Station at weekends, a short distance away from the start of the walk.


P20046200078	The Great Ouse in Ely.
P20046200100	Ely Cathedral.
P20046200078 The Great Ouse in Ely.
P20046200100 Ely Cathedral.


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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Although this site includes links providing convenient direct access to other Internet sites, I do not endorse, approve, certify or make warranties or representations as to the accuracy of the information on these sites.

And finally, enjoy your walking!

This walk was mentioned in the following routes:
My sectional Land's End to John O'Groats walk

Nearby walks

#TitleWalk length (miles)
579A circular walk from Leek, taking in The Roaches16.1
582A circular walk from Hartington to Hollinsclough and Earl Sterndale14.8
614A circular walk from the Cat and Fiddle Inn17.2

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