Meanwhile Back at Mama's

Here centuries old oaks and ash grow and moss covered stumps and fallen boughs slowly rot into the ground, showing nature's pattern of decay and regrowth. This shady path is much favoured by speckled wood butterflies that can be seen flitting in and out of the shadows in spring and summer. Around mid April to early May the beautiful pasque flowers bloom. haven for wildlife. Course Map. Looking towards the Reach end of the Dyke Walkers energetic enough to have completed the whole of the 7 mile length of the Ditch might well appreciate some refreshments at the Dyke's End pub, set facing the green. General view of the Mile Ditches excavation, 5 March 1978 (photograph G R Burleigh © NHDC), S Bryant & G Burleigh 1995 ‘Later prehistoric dykes of the eastern Chilterns’, G Burleigh 1995 ‘A late Iron Age oppidum at Baldock, Hertfordshire’, (both the above papers are in R Holgate, see below), G Burleigh 1980 ‘The Mile Ditches, near Royston: Excavations, 1978’ in Hertfordshire’s Past no.8, O G S Crawford 1936 ‘Field Archaeology of the Royston District’ in Proceedings of the Prehistoric Society vol. Soon the path winds through a group of twisted old pines before this mile long stretch of the Ditch ends with the crossing of the Newmarket to Cambridge/London road, still busy despite through traffic using the Newmarket by-pass further to the north. The following two mile section of the Ditch runs between the A14 and the B1102 Burwell to Cambridge road. Black and White picture - Major G Allen, 1934, (© The Ashmolean Museum, Oxford). An extensive scrub clearance project commenced in the summer of 2002 along the section by the July Racecourse owned by the Jockey Club, under a partnership with the club, the Cambridgeshire County Council, the Wildlife Trust, English Nature and English Heritage. Post was not sent - check your email addresses! Soon the path enters what has become almost a tunnel formed by the dense bushes of blackthorn, In September 2001 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £305,000 for the upkeep of the Devil's Ditch, particularly the clearance of invasive scrub towards the northern end. Dunstable: The Book Castle. In an early 1900s article about steeplechasing Newmarket's course was described as 'a model of a galloping course, with fair fences of good size' . Newmarket Racecourse's new Millennium Grandstand shows up white in the distance. An extensive scrub clearance project commenced in the summer of 2002 along the section by the July Racecourse owned by the Jockey Club, under a partnership with the club, the Cambridgeshire County Council, the Wildlife Trust, English Nature and English Heritage. Here also there is a good chance of seeing two of our once common but now sadly declining birds, the linnet and the yellowhammer. There is a wooden post with waymarkers here. Stetchworth Stud Farms is a 5.8 mile loop trail located near Newmarket, Suffolk, England that offers the chance to see wildlife and is rated as moderate. www.wildlifetrust.org.uk/bcnp The next section enters the domain of horse racing, as the Ditch cuts between Newmarket's two famous courses - the Rowley Mile and the July Course. 1973 as work commenced on the A14. Soon after the start the walker climbs up to the highest section of the embankment and can look down to the fosse (ditch), some 40 feet below. These ditch systems appear to have defined territories related to hill-forts, such as Ravensburgh Castle, Wilbury Hill and Arbury Banks. What is it that makes the Devil's Ditch so precious? During 2003 the main work has been on the section between the Burwell Road and the A 41. This part of the Ditch, bordering the heathland, is also the haunt of skylarks, yellow hammers, linnets and meadow pipits. Along this section a dense plantation of larch and firs borders the right bank with Stetchworth Park and stud paddocks to the left. To the right are open views of one of the largest areas of Newmarket Heath with more than a square mile of heathland, open to walkers for most of the time. Turf - Flat. Originally the ditches had accompanying banks formed by the upcast from the ditches. From the footbridge road crossing we look down on the unceasing streams of traffic travelling between East Anglia and the Midlands. bank are carpeted with bluebells in May, patches of primroses and cowslips grow along the shady pathside in spring and the beautiful violet-blue pendulous blooms of clustered and nettle-leaved bellflowers adorn the edges in summer. The trail offers a number of activity options. Conservation body - The Wildlife Trust 3b Langford Arch London Rd Sawston Cambridge CB2 4EE (Tel 01223 712400) email cambswt@cix.co.uk Web site. Looking to the right through the trees and tangled sinewy stems of old man's beard, one can catch occasional glimpses of Wood Ditton Church. Conservation body - The Wildlife Trust 3b Langford Arch London Rd Sawston Cambridge CB2 4EE (Tel 01223 712400) email cambswt@cix.co.uk Web site Here another path next to a ditch joins the Stour Valley Path. The Mile Ditches were one of a series of such Iron Age ditch systems lying across the Icknield Belt between Luton and Royston. Surely it is the unchanging character of this ancient monument in a rapidly changing world, giving us a reminder of our Roman and Anglo-Saxon forebears. For this account we will look at the Ditch as it is in the early 21st century, taking an imaginary walk from the Wood Ditton end at a point near Pickmore Wood, a quarter of a mile walk from Ditton Green. The open views to the right take the eye towards Newmarket over the Links golf course and at one point the golfers drive off from a small green on the top of the bank. After crossing the railway line the Ditch changes in character and becomes much more open.Chalk loving flowers abound along this stretch in summer, greater knapweed, sainfoin, harebells and carline thistle. The woods bordering the left 1995 Chiltern Archaeology: Recent Work: a handbook for the next decade. There is a website dedicated towards the Devils Dyke (Ditch) Restoration programme. This is the highest point of the land around here and in line with the main wartime runway of RAF Newmarket Heath.This stretch, once the haunt of the rare red-backed shrike, had become so thickly overgrown with scrub in places that the path leaves the bank and runs alongside. Five varieties of orchid have been seen here, including the rare lizard and bee species. A reminder of World War II and the part played by Newmarket Heath during the war comes when we reach a lowered section of the bank, dug out in 1943 to try to reduce the very real Newmarket Racecourse's new Millennium Grandstand shows up white in the distance. This part is again lowered almost to nothing a few yards from the A14 for around 200 yards or so towards Reach. At last we arrive at the northern end of the Ditch and the bank drops away to the historic village green at Reach with its surrounding picturesque cottages. The cinder path of the old railway, disused since the cuts of the 1960's, is still clearly visible and is a A few steps along the Icknield Way to the right gives fine views over the depression in the land known as Dane Bottom looking towards Newmarket, with Ely Cathedral visible in the distance. The Mile Ditches, 8 March 1978, looking north-west (photograph G R Burleigh © NHDC). What is it that makes the Devil's Ditch so precious? Let us hope that future generations continue to value this wonderful legacy from the past. Special Scientific Interest). It is along this stretch during 2003 that extensive scrub clearance and the introduction of a hardy sheep species are helping to restore the original chalk grassland conditions. At one place the east bank has been eroded over many years to become almost level with the adjoining land. Round Course, Audley End Course, Clermont Course, Ancaster Mile, Rowley Mile, Abingdon Mile, Bunbury Mile, Ditch Mile and Yearling Course. Soon the path winds through a group of twisted old pines before this mile long stretch of the Ditch ends with the crossing of the Newmarket to Cambridge/London road, still busy despite through traffic using the Newmarket by-pass further to the north. The Mile Ditches were excavated in advance of the dualling of the A505 in 1978. After half a mile the path runs through dense box and snowberry shrubs then becomes more open, with wild geraniums growing on the bank. The first recorded steeplechase over a prepared track with fences was run at Bedford in 1810, although a race had been run at Newmarket in 1794 over a mile with five-foot bars every quarter mile. Back on the Ditch another half mile of thickly wooded high bank takes the walker to the Court Barns Road crossing. This section is also rich in typical chalk grassland wild flowers and butterflies, seen along the edges of the path and on the steep grassy banks. Surely it is the unchanging character of this ancient monument in a rapidly changing world, giving us a reminder of our Roman and Anglo-Saxon forebears. There are no upcoming events at this time. The primary silt of the western ditch of the three Mile Ditches has been dated to the second century BC. During 2003 the main work was on the section between the Burwell Road and the A 41. Top 5 Jockeys - Last 12 Months. 'The Ditch' (as it is known locally) is the 7 mile long embankment, thrown up in Anglo-Saxon times and is believed to be around 1450 years old. If, however, the walk has been done in the opposite direction, there is the the Three Blackbirds in Ditton Green (check that this pub is open before depending on it). (Site of The banks possibly supported timber palisades, making the monument a formidable obstacle across the line of the Icknield Way and controlling the movement of people and animals. We now arrive at the great gash in the bank made by the start of the Rowley Mile course and the A14 trunk road. risk of our heavily laden bombing 'planes hitting the Ditch bank when taking off from the temporary airfield on the Heath. Back on the Ditch we start on the final stretch and looking left one has good views of the windmill and the two adjacent church towers at Swaffham Prior. Sorry, your blog cannot share posts by email. The three parallel Iron Age ditches known as the Mile Ditches run from Therfield Heath in Hertfordshire to Bassingbourn Springs in Cambridgeshire, a distance of about three kilometres. In September 2001 The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded a grant of £305,000 for the upkeep of the Devil's Ditch, particularly the clearance of invasive scrub towards the northern end. Newmarket is often referred to as the “headquarters” of British horseracing, hosting two of the UK’s five Classic Races. Unlike much of the agricultural land around it has not been 'improved' with fertilizers or pesticides with the result that for at least some of its length a natural balance of plants and trees has been achieved over the centuries. North Hertfordshire Archaeological Society. Early in 2007 work progressed to the southern section southwards from Court Barns Road (Stetchworth to Cheveley road) Here the main work was the clearing of numerous sycamore saplings on the east side of the bank. the Ditch and on race days people standing on the bank get a free view of the racing, the arrival and departure of light 'planes carrying racing personalities and the packed grandstands on the other side of the course. The primary silt of the western ditch of the three Mile Ditches has been dated to the second century BC. Soon the path winds through a group of twisted old pines before this mile long stretch of the Ditch ends with the crossing of the Newmarket to Cambridge/London road, still busy despite through traffic using the Newmarket by-pass further to the north. To the left the July course runs parallel with The ditches have been shown to have silted up very slowly over two millennia before being finally completely filled, on the Cambridgeshire side in the early 1800s and on the Hertfordshire side in the 1940s, when the surviving banks were levelled into the ditches. 41, R Holgate (ed.) 2, J F Dyer 1961 ‘Dray’s Ditches, Bedfordshire, and Early Iron Age territorial boundaries in the Eastern Chilterns’ in Antiquaries Journal vol. A convenient car park for walkers has been provided near the B1102 crossing, but be sure to lock your car and remove any valuables!Now comes a short open stretch leading to the old Cambridge-Mildenhall railway cutting and this part of the Ditch is also well endowed with wild flowers despite some serious invasion by hawthorn scrub.

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