Wimpole - Folly and woodland belt walk
Wimpole Estate, Cambridgeshire, SG8 0BWRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
An historical and wildlife walk starting at this grand stable block, exploring the diverse landscape of one of the largest estates in Cambridgeshire. Discover the rich history of the land, from the remains of medieval farming to lavish Georgian landscapes. You can also explore the unique contrasts between a historical and modern working estate.
- Bus stop
Start: Stable-block, grid ref: TL336509
Go through the black gate opposite the stable-block and follow the path until you're in front of Wimpole Hall. Remember to look at the view down the stunning South Avenue.
This grand stable-block is where you'll find most of our facilities and is the starting and finshing point to this walk.
Follow the path around the house until you reach a gate. Once through the gate, note the ridges and furrows in the field opposite - evidence of the plough pulled by oxen used on Wimpole's medieval farmland.
Turn right and through the gate, then meander to the right, following the footpath away from the hall across the field. Keep walking until you reach the ha-ha and iron bridge. Bear left ahead towards the lakes until you reach the Chinese Bridge.
Home to carp, rud, pike, tench, stickleback and the occasional eel, these lakes at the foot of Johnsons hill have been used and loved by generations. They're also suitably placed for cattle and sheep to use them as their watering hole.
Cross over the Bridge and keep going up the hill until you reach the folly. Then with the folly in front of you turn left and down the hill towards the gate at the far end.
These gothic ruins, also known as sham ruins, were made purposefully to create a spectacular view from the Hall in 1768. They are just as stunning close up and stand as a unique portrayal of 18th-century style and fashion.
Walk straight through the farmland on the grass path into the Woodland belt, the sign here is filled with wildlife information - do stop to read. Follow the path into the woods and then turn left. Keep walking and after the path has eventually meandered around to the right, a fork in the footpath will appear, take the left turning. As you walk, the fields are to your left behind the trees.
Designed by Lancelot Capability Brown as a frame for the gardens. There are a number of wildlife habitats, home to a rich variety of flora and fauna. Check out the boards placed around the belts with seasonal information.
Once youve made it round the U-turn-like bend, follow the path behind the trees and up the hill. At the top of the hill the woodland belts come to an end. Jump over the stile and, in front of you, will be the medieval mill mound. Turn right through the 1/2 avenue and head towards the gate.
After you go through the gate there are some lime trees planted in parallel lines to your left. Follow this pathway down the hill toward the hall. At the bottom bear right and go through the gate, back the way you came, where you can finish either at the stable-block or restaurant.
Following centuries of remodelling and design now stands the grand hall you see before you. Rich in history and aesthetic beauty, this stunning home was, and still is, the heart of this working estate.
End: Stable-block, grid ref: TL336509
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 3 miles (4.8km)
- Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 154
This walk is on a well-marked route and public footpath, which can get quite muddy. There are a number of slight gradients as well as areas with livestock. Dogs are welcome on the parkland, as long as kept under close control. Please remove any dog litter.
- How to get here:
By foot: Wimpole Way from Cambridge; Harcamlow Way
By bike: Cycle path to entrance from Orwell (A603)
By bus: Whippet 75 from Cambridge. Alight Arrington, then 1 mile walk; return bus from Orwell, a 2 mile (3.2km) walk. Bus subject to changes and cancellations. Please check with Whippet buses before you travel or call 01954 230011
By train: Shepreth 5 miles (8km); Royston, with taxi service, 8 miles (12.8km)
By road: 8 miles (12.8km) south-west of Cambridge (A603); 6 miles (9.6km) north of Royston (A1198)
- Parking : NT car park.
- Food and drink : Old Rectory Restaurant and Farm Café.
- Shopping : Shop selling local pottery, gifts, Wimpole rare breed meat and eggs. Plant sales.
- Contact us