Queen Edith’s Walks – No.4: A Parish Boundary Walk

The Queen Edith’s Community Forum has published a free, 32-page booklet called “Summer in Queen Edith’s”, with local walks and activities for all the family.

This is one of a number of walks produced as part of the Summer in Queen Edith’s booklet in July 2020. You can find out more here about the booklet and the other walks and activities in it.

Click the map for a printable version.

Queen Edith’s consists of the two Church of England parishes of St John and St James. This walk follows the boundary of the parish of St John the Evangelist on Hills Road, founded in 1891.

‘Beating the bounds’ is a centuries-old tradition, aimed at reminding everyone of boundaries that were important in their lives. Checking the boundaries created a folk memory of the extent of the parish and stopped neighbours stealing land. During Rogationtide (the fifth week after Easter) villagers, with the rector and other local dignitaries, would walk the parish bounds. The children would carry willow wands to beat the boundary markers with, and in some ceremonies children had their heads bumped on boundary stones to imprint them firmly in the memory! Although modern technology makes this unnecessary, many English parishes still use beating of the bounds as a walk to strengthen the community and give it a sense of place.

St John’s sits in the centre of the area defined by the parish boundary – this route doesn’t go past the church itself but do drop by and pay a visit. By walking the boundary you will get to experience the many different eras of Queen Edith’s development. You might also discover some useful shortcuts! Be very careful crossing roads and watch out for uneven surfaces, particularly on the fields near Ninewells.

You can obviously start anywhere on the route and go clockwise or anticlockwise. For the purposes of this description, we will start at Fendon Road roundabout. Walk north up Mowbray Road and then Perne Road as far as the Dumpling Tree restaurant. Take the footpath immediately after that which cuts through to Lichfield Road. Walk to Coleridge Road, turn right and then left into Fanshawe Road. Turn left into Sterne Close, walk to the bottom, take the footpath which cuts through to Flamsteed Road, past the Scout Hut.

Turn left onto Rustat Road, then Cherry Hinton Road, into the Leisure Park, up the steps by the Junction onto Hills Road bridge, then go down the slope before the Earl of Derby pub and walk through to the Guided Busway. Turn right and start walking down the path beside the Guided Busway, under Hills Road bridge, past the old and new University Press sites. Follow the bend under Long Road railway bridge and carry on till you reach the Guided Busway junction – turn left to take the bridge over the railway and into the back of the Biomedical Campus. Follow Francis Crick Avenue to the roundabout with Addenbrooke’s Road and drop onto the path which runs alongside the railway track which links with the DNA cyclepath to Shelford.

Turn back east and follow the path past the helipad. Take the right hand fork onto the grassy path and walk up the side of the field keeping the Ninewells estate on your left hand side. Go between the bushes and you will join up with the new cycle path which goes out the Babraham Road. Turn left, walk north up Babraham Road, then right at Addenbrooke’s roundabout into Fendon Road.

The full route is about 9km.