St Ives and The Hemingfords walk

Houghton Mill, Mill St, Houghton, Huntingdon, Cambs PE28 2AZ

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Houghton Mill © Houghton Mill archive

Houghton Mill

Norris Museum, St. Ives © Norris Museum

Norris Museum, St. Ives

The cattle market was held on The Broadway in St. Ives until 1886. Sheep ma © Norris Museum

The cattle market was held on The Broadway in St. Ives until 1886. Sheep ma

St. Ives Bridge © Norris Museum

St. Ives Bridge

Hemingford Grey Church © Norris Museum

Hemingford Grey Church

Hemingford Grey Manor house © Norris Museum

Hemingford Grey Manor house

Route overview

Starting  from Houghton Mill (pictured), cross the water meadows to uncover the past glories of a market town. On this walk through the delightful Ouse valley landscape you'll discover the history of the charming market town of St Ives, returning through the unspoilt villages of The Hemingfords.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

St. Ives & The Hemingfords
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Houghton Mill, grid ref: TL281720

  1. Take the path diagonally across Houghton Mill car park and through the kissing gate and turn right into the narrow path called Love Lane.

    Show/HideHoughton Mill

    The start and end point for this walk - Houghton Mill - is the last working mill on the River Great Ouse. There has been a mill on this site for over 1000 years.

    Houghton Mill © Houghton Mill archive
  2. Turn right at Thicket Road and follow it straight on until it becomes a path.

  3. Continue on this path alongside the river to St Ives to come out opposite All Saints' Parish Church. Holt Island Nature Reserve is over the bridge on your right and the Norris Museum is just ahead.

    Show/HideAll Saints' parish church and the Norris Museum

    The church marks the site of the original Saxon village of Slepe. Amongst those who later worshipped here was Oliver Cromwell, whose signature has been left in the vestry book. The Norris Museum is on your right just at the end of the quay. This is well worth a visit to discover local history. Opening times are available on the Norris Museum website or from Houghton Mill.

    Norris Museum, St. Ives © Norris Museum
  4. Walk along The Broadway to the Victoria Memorial and take the right branch along Merryland.

    Show/HideThe Broadway and Victoria's memorial

    The memorial celebrates Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee in 1897, although it wasn't actually erected until 1902. Leading off either side are two routes, Crown Street and Merryland. There is some debate over how Merryland got its name. Some think it's a reference to the Virgin Mary; others say that it derived from the fact that there used to be at least five pubs in the small area.

    The cattle market was held on The Broadway in St. Ives until 1886. Sheep ma © Norris Museum
  5. Take the first right hand turn down Bridge Street, St. Ives just before you get to Market Hill and go over the bridge.

    Show/HideThe bridge and chapel

    Built in the 1420s, St Ives bridge is one of only four bridges in this country that still have a chapel built onto them midstream. The key to the chapel is available from the Norris Museum.

    St. Ives Bridge © Norris Museum
  6. Turn right through The Dolphin car park and out onto Hemingford Meadow. Walk across the meadow, following the path diagonally left to a stile at the far side. Follow Meadow Lane until it bends sharply left and a track comes in from the right.

  7. Take a small path straight ahead that comes out on a road. Follow the path ahead until you reach another road.

    Show/HideHemingford Grey

    To visit Hemingford Grey's shops or pubs turn left to reach the High Street.

    Hemingford Grey Church © Norris Museum
  8. Turn right at the road to Hemingford Grey church.

  9. Turn abruptly left alongside the graveyard to follow a path along the riverbank. Follow the path keeping the river on your right to the far end of the High Street then turn right to continue along the riverbank.

    Show/HideHemingford Grey Manor

    On the right as you leave the village stands Hemingford Grey Manor house. Built in the 1130s, this is one of the oldest continually inhabited buildings in Britain. It's famous for being the home of the Green Knowe author Lucy Boston and for its gardens which are open to the public daily.

    Hemingford Grey Manor house © Norris Museum
  10. The path crosses two meadows then leads alongside a mobile home park into Hemingford Abbots.

  11. Turn right along the road until you reach the Axe and Compass pub.

  12. Take the next road on the right after the pub beside the post box and follow this over the Black Bridge. Cross Hemingford Meadow to a lock and follow the road back to Houghton Mill.

End: Houghton Mill, grid ref: TL281720

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Easy
  • Distance: 5 miles (8km)
  • Time: 2 hours
  • OS Map: Explorer 225; Landranger 153
  • Terrain:

    Easy riverside walk along flat terrain. Suitable for dogs on leads.

  • How to get here:

    By road: Follow brown signs from A1123

    By cycle: NCN51 between Huntingdon and St Ives

    By bus: Bus station in St Ives and the Huntingdon to St Ives service stops at Houghton

    By train: nearest station is in Huntingdon. Contact Cambridgeshire County Council's Public Transport Section for details: (01223) 717740

  • Facilities:

    • Parking : 20 yds pay and display.
    • WC's : Adjoining tea room.
    • Food and drink : Riverside NT tea room serving snacks and scones.
    • Shopping : Second-hand bookshop, freshly-ground Houghton Mill wholemeal flour available.

  • Contact us