Sunday, 10 April 2011

10 Apr: Afternoon ride to Horseheath

Gareth writes: A nice relaxing afternoon in the sunshine was just what I needed after yesterday’s ride. There were twelve riders, including newcomer Carol.

Peter led us to Great Shelford, Sawston and Babraham. Jacob led a breakaway group on a shortcut across the fields and beat us to the bridge over the A11. Then Abington, Linton, and Bartlow, where we stopped for a look at the Bartlow Hills, a group of Romano-British burial mounds. Originally seven mounds stood just south of the village, but three were largely destroyed to build a railway (now disused).

“Bartlow Hills was originally the largest group of Roman barrows in northern Europe and includes the highest burial mound in Britain. The seven mounds covered extraordinarily rich burials containing a wonderful collection of artistic objects, the best found in Britain. Mound IV, the largest, is 45 ft high and 144 ft in diameter. Mound II is still visible as a low rise. I is just discernible, and III is totally destroyed. Their steep conical shape, originally surrounded by a ditch, is typical of Roman burial mounds.”

We went south almost to Ashdon, then over the hill at Steventon End to Castle Camps, and then through Mill Green and Cardinal’s Green to the Old Red Lion at Horseheath, where we met the remaining day riders and couple of others who had come direct.

We split up for the ride back: most heading through Balsham for Fulbourn, but Tom and I went through West Wratting and Six Mile Bottom, which is a mile or so longer, but involves a lot less cycling through town. 48 miles in all.

Back Road between Hildersham and Linton.

Bartlow Hills: Mound IV.

Looking down from the top of Mound IV (about 15 m high).

Mound V from Mound IV.

A hill near Steventon End between Ashdon and Castle Camps.

Approaching Castle Camps. The tower at the right belongs to All Saints Church.


  1. I was interested to read about the Bartlow Hills (and impressed by the photos). I hadn't been aware of these. I'll definitely take a look next time I go that way on a CTC ride.

  2. The tumuli are totally invisible from the road. You have to go up this footpath (the middle path of the three) and proceed for about 50 m before you come out between the remains of mounds III and I, with VII, IV and V in front of you.