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.
Nine Wells is a historically important site containing several chalk springs, which form the source of Hobson’s Conduit. Built in 1610, this brought clean fresh water from Nine Wells to Cambridge, reducing water-borne diseases (eg cholera). You can see a monument to its sponsors in the far south-west corner.
Previously a Site of Special Scientific Interest, Nine Wells has been diminished by water abstraction and by the encroachment of the Biomedical Campus. There are plans for a busway to be built alongside the railway in the next few years, but also for the reserve to be enhanced and enlarged.
The arable fields on the way to the reserve host several endangered bird species including grey partridges and skylarks. More at John Meed’s site below.
Enter via the opening in the hedge immediately next to 16 Babraham Road. You will see a wide shared cycle/footway. Don’t follow it into the Ninewells development, take the spur off to the left between the bushes (this section can be muddy in wet weather). Follow the edge of the field, keeping Ninewells on your right until you reach the junction with cycleway at Dame Mary Archer Way. Turn left and head towards a line of trees. You will see a footpath marker directing you between the two lines of trees but many people prefer to walk up the edge of the field with the official footpath and adjoining ditch on their right, from where you can get a good view of the crest of White Hill.
The path bends round a couple of new planting areas as you walk in the direction of the railway line. Turn left and you will see the entrance to the Nine Wells reserve in front of you, across a small bridge.