The Hemingfords

Sunday 5th January 2020

Our 1st walk of 2020 started at Houghton Mill – the last surviving mill on the River Great Ouse able to produce stone–ground flour from a water–powered wheel. Due to the recent spate of rainfall we knew the going underfoot was going to be muddy, but fortunately we had Roger with us, a Houghton resident, who was able to divert us where needed.

We decided on an early coffee stop as some conveniently placed logs provided a firm seating area.

We continued alongside the river towards The Hemingfords – picturesque villages much of which are conservation areas. There are many thatched 16th and 17th century cottages and barns, and also the architecturally important buildings such as the Manor House, Old Rectory and Hemingford Park. Some of the ladies stopped to use the pub facilities, but a feeling of déjà vu swept over Alan as these ladies had been known to disappear into the bar on a previous walk [Ed – also without letting us know!].

On reaching the edge of St Ives, the flood wall and a bench provided another seating area for lunch. Our entertainment being the ducks struggling to swim against the flow.

Passing by Holt Island nature Reserve, home to a variety of birds, mammals, plants and insects, Judith was able to tell us that should you wish to walk around the reserve, a key can be obtained for you to do so.

Returning to the Mill, most of us had avoided the many chances of slipping or tripping and had kept relatively clean. Roger then very kindly invited all 12 of us, plus George the dog, back to his for tea and cake [Ed – and vey nice it was too – thank you Roger] .

Report by Sue

Walk rating – Good.

Pictures - Alan

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Houghton Mill.

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Blue seems to be the colour of choice.

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Houghton Lock.

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Boats on the River Ouse.

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Some bits were less muddy than others, but most were pretty wet.

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A flood wall provides ample seating for our lunch stop.

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St Ives from the town bridge.

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The view of Houghton Mill from our return route.

Back line