|Trail:||ST IVES (BRIDGE) TO EARITH (HERMITAGE LOCK)|
|Contributor:||Cotswold_Cambridge||Activity Type:||Walking||Difficulty:||Average||Distance:||6.352 mi (10.222 km)|
|Description:||Starting at St Ives bridge with its chapel, walk up Bridge Street and at the end turn right into Market Hill, passing the statue of Huntingdonshire's most famous son, Oliver Cromwell. (If you have come along the Ouse Valley Way from Godmanchester without diverting off to the bridge, simply continue straight up Market Hill). Turn left into Market Road, continue along Cromwell Place and turn right towards the St Ives Bypass. Cross the roundabout (with care, it's a busy road) and walk down Meadow Lane where you will find an Ouse Valley Way Information Board on the left-hand side of the road.
Walk down Meadow Lane (a rather dull industrial area) for almost 1 mile/1.6 km until it becomes a track. (As you start out down Meadow Lane, there is a permissive path to your left (just past the end of the first group of buildings on the right) which loops round to join the road again a few hundred metres further down, just past Marshalls. This could be useful during the week, as this road is very busy with lorries but on Sundays it is quiet.)
Go straight on to the track, then bear right and then turn left to follow the path along the riverbank for about 550 metres (at this point you can see Holywell Church tower ahead of you).
Follow the path with the river on your right, passing through a metal kissing gate and bear right to the riverbank until you come to where a small stream runs into the river. After a short and pleasant stroll along the riverbank, follow the signs that direct you to bear left along the bank of this stream towards the church and away from the river. Pass through a gap in the hedge across fields then turn right across a footbridge and turn left along the path towards Holywell Church with its ancient well.
Pass through two metal kissing-gates on to the road and turn right to walk along the river front of Holywell village. Carry on past The Ferry Boat Inn(where you'll find food and accommodation), bear slightly left and continue along the track which runs along the top of the flood bank. Walk along here for about 1 mile (1.6 km) until the track meets Overcote Lane. (You can divert right here to visit the Pike and Eel Inn, a 300 year-old pub where again you can find refreshments)
Cross over the road and continue along the flood bank (passing another Ouse Valley Information Board). Go through the metal kissing-gate and continue straight ahead for about 1 mile/1.6 km towards Brownshill Staunch lock, passing through the Greenwich Meridian Line as you go. The flooded gravel pits to your left are usually busy with Mute Swans and Geese and the hedgerows are particularly rich with hips, haws and blackberries in the autumn, making this an attractive area for birds.
Continue along the bank past Brownshill Staunch lock (built in 1834) and the pump house until the path forks. Here you can fork left to take a diversion into Bluntisham village or continue towards Earith. The path then takes you over the remains of the railway line to bring you out by Berry Fen, still a popular ice-skating area in the winter, with Earith Church on your left.
For a stretch here, the Ouse is concealed behind the trees but as you pass through a metal kissing-gate and approach Earith you will walk right on the riverbank once again for a short stretch with fields to your left. When you come to Westview Marina, the path turns left towards the A1123. As you reach the main road, turn right into Earith.
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