Tel. 01273 472678
Image: Vermuyden’s Drain near Chatteris in Cambridgeshire
Publishing problems resolved
All four guidebooks are now available on Amazon and can be obtained from all good bookshops. They are printed on demand so may take a few days to be delivered. These are new editions of the books and include all the changes that have occurred on the route since the first editions were published.
However, see below and in the update pages for any recent changes to the route that we are aware of.
When you go on the book pages on Amazon and Waterstones you will find the current editions available at the top and displayed underneath the now out of print first editions which are shown as not available. This is confusing but apparently it is not possible to delete the first editions being displayed which strikes us as quite odd as they are no longer available.
Because of the construction of the Boston tidal barrier there is a long, but well marked, diversion through the industrial estate next to the river. It does sound as though this will go on for some time.
Bus telephone number change in Book 4
The phone number that you ring for the local bus service to many of the villages walked through in Book 4 has changed (from 0845 ) to 0345 234 3344. Also, we have discovered that you need to register in order to use the service which you can do by ringing that number and following the options. We have been informed that vistors can become temporary members but we have not explored that option ourselves. Clearly, if you are planning to use the service a little foreward planning is required.
Abbey Mills Steps to Greenway
We have heard that the steps are now open (Book 2, page 6) which means that the note on page 21 is no longer relevant.
Any of you who saw the programmes on TV in July 2018 about the new super sewer maybe interested in this link - https://www.tideway.london/the-tunnel/construction-sites/abbey-mills-pumping-station-stratford/ which shows what is going on at Abbey Mills.
Road Works at Lewisham
We have now managed to visit Lewisham and found out where all the changes that are being made have got to. The route from the front of the DLR across the River Ravensbourne to Lewisham Road is still blocked by building works. There is a solid wooden barrier where you have to go right and then you have to walk all the way round in order to get to the railway bridge which you pass under and so on to Lewisham Hill (page 60). The map on page 61 shows a large round about which has dissappeared with the new road layout. As of July 2019, we have been informed that the hoardings are still there.
West Essex Golf Club
We have changed the route through the club slightly and have now placed some waymarks with the club's permission. Having climbed the broad path (which is more like a road at present whilst building works are going on) (Book 2, page 16, last line) you now keep ahead through a gap and follow the path right and keep going with the golf course on your left. After about 200m you turn right onto the bridleway (page 17, line 3 in older copies of the gude)
Work Depot near Cambridge Services
The extensive work continues on the A14 and contrary to our previous news update it has made a considerable change to the route. See below in Book 3 for details.
Willow Farm - Chatteris - update.
The footpath behind Willow Farm (Book 3, page 17) continues to cause considerable difficulties for walkers. We cut down the nettles in June of last year with the help of the owners of Willow Farm and cleared a good path through then. However, the nettles especially are very vigorous and we have just been informed that they have, indeed, re-grown! The problem has been reported again to the council who tell us that they can only clear the vegetation twice a year. In the meantime, wear long trousers, find yourself a large stout stick, take some secteurs with you and give yourself time to beat your way through. It is just a short section but you will remember it. Please take care climbing the steps up the bank to the road, walking across the bridge on the side of the busy road and scrambling down the bank on the other side where the steps are unusable and the easiest way is just by the buttress of the bridge.
Sand le Mere
Construction of the new defensive embankment across the Tunsatll Drain (Book 4, page 48) that has been planned for a number of years has still to start and the plans have been radically altered. Instead of the embankment being about 700 metres inland it will now be immediately next to the Withernsea Road, the best part of a kilometre from the shoreline. The structure will thus be smaller and, presumably, cheaper to build and it gets over the problem of acquiring land from unwilling farmers. During construction the path will be diverted but once completed the route of the GMT will be unaltered until such time as the sea breaches the present embankment, probably at exactly the place where the Greenwich Meridian crosses at the end of the trail. The path beside the drain will then be engulfed by the sea, but probably only intermittently as it is anticipated that sand dunes may well form and protect the land around the drain which will, however, become salty marshland. We cannot see how the present path can survive and it will, presumably, be diverted, how it is impossible to say. The latest news is that construction will begin in Autumn 2019. We shall see.
We have been informed that the path next to the Orchard (Book 2 -page 65) has been moved to opposite the church. That does sound rather strange so we will have to make enquiries. The Definitive Map on the Cambridgeshire County Council website is unaltered.
Those of you who have never walked The Downs before should be aware that sloping wet chalky-paths can be very slippery indeed. Even chalk-paths on the level should be treated with care if they are rutted and uneven. Wet chalk can make for a surface that is as slippery as black ice.
On page 5, three lines from the bottom of the page, you are directed to " Drop down to the edge of the field ago through kiss gate and down the steps to the road" Apart from noting the slight typo, you will now find that a new road has been built (to the fishing lakes) which involves you in the additional effort of opening and closing two gates in order to cross that road. Hard work indeed.
Of much more interest, on the following page at the start of the directions, you will find that the narrow and unpleasant path has been replaced with a new cycle track which is an utter delight to walk along. We think that it is part of the Egret Way, a new cycle track which will link Newhaven to Lewes when fully completed.
We would just like to remind you that the road to the old Lewes Racecourse (page 12, line 4) is a private road and the owners are in dispute with the local council about the crossing next to the old course. The owners do not object to walkers on the GMT crossing the road but do ask that you do not stray off the marked route.
Brian Offin has reminded us of something that we have known for some time. On page 66, of the old editions of the guidebook, the directions exhort you to enter the quadrangle of King’s College but that is no longer possible without purchasing a ticket to enter the chapel. We believe that it is still possible to go to evensong without paying.
We have been informed that there is reasonably priced accommodation to be found in Shepreth and that it is best to book direct. More details when we find out more.
Road works on the A14. There is a massive change being made to the junction at the Cambridge Services (Book 3, page 4) with the demolition of the bridge that the route used to take and the construction of a new bridge a little further north-west. Fortunately the directions in the guidebook still apply but you will have to walk a little further to cross the bridge over the A14 and having done so you will be turning left towards Swavesey.
Tetford now has a Meridian Marker, placed there for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee. It is just a few metres down the road by the church, on the left-hand side.
Latest updates - July 2019