I’d like to share another easy countryside ramble near the village where I grew up, Molesworth. On this occasion we started walking with my parents and Asher (my sister’s dog.) My parents came with us from Old Weston to RAF Molesworth (an American military base a few fields away from our village). Then we continued the rest of the walk back home as we wanted to keep walking.
This post will give you a taste of what it’s like to go for a wander in the countryside in Cambridgeshire. If you like the look of it, you may also like my previous post about walking in Nottinghamshire.
I didn’t realize this before, but Molesworth has been designated a conservation area by Huntingdon District Council, due to its “typically rural English character”. This isn’t the kind of place tourists visit, but it is a great place to grow up.
These photos were from a soggy day in December, so if you’d prefer to see Molesworth looking pretty in the summer, look at the post about us getting hitched at our English Countryside Wedding.
Old Weston Ravine
This is one of my mum’s favourite dog-walking spots near Molesworth. She called it the Old Weston Ravine, and it follows along an old Roman Road from the edge of the village of Old Weston. The path was very clear and easy to follow, although there are not many sign posts.
It was all looking a bit soggy, but pretty anyway. You can walk along the ravine to RAF Molesworth, then back to Old Weston in a mini loop.
Dog dunking time
My sisters doggo, Asher, loves to go into the ravine, but he always needs a bit of encouragement. My mum solves this by throwing sticks into the water for him to jump in and fetch. He LOVES it. You just have to be careful to get out of the way when he shakes off his fur. He seems to like to walk up to one of his humans before shaking off and soaking everyone!
My parents only needed a mini walk, so dad dropped us off in Old Weston then drove back and parked at the edge of RAF Molesworth to meet us half way. It’s so nice to get out and walk with them! These are the hiking stars that got my siblings and I interested in mountains and walking in the first place.
Molesworth Peace Garden
Next to the entrance of RAF Molesworth is a small Peace Garden. This is the location of a Peace Camp that was set up to protest about the nuclear missiles that were kept in RAF Molesworth in the 1980s. My parents used to make soup for the protesters and apparently I even made it on tv by protesting from my pushchair as a toddler! Still, I don’t have any memories of protests here at this entrance of the base – I only remember armed guards coming out to see what we were up to if we ever played near the gate closest to Molesworth village.
Even though I knew about the protests I have walked past this Molesworth Peace Garden many times without realizing it was there! In June 2019, The Christian Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament rededicated this garden and added a sign about the history of it all.
Part of the new sign says:
“Eirene (the name of the chapel that was built here) was built as a prayer that one day, people of all faiths and nations would learn to live as one. The spirit of Eirene lives on in the lives of all those who share that vision and are prepared to act it out. The trees and flowers of this garden will stand now as witness to the hope that fences will come down, preparations for war will cease and people of all faiths or none will stand together, never as enemies, but always as friends.“
RAF Molesworth Base
Nowadays, although the Moleworth base is still used as a Joint Intelligence Analysis Centre (JIAC), there isn’t much going on there, and all the nuclear weapons have been removed. We normally walk close to the giant fence. But on this occasion we got a bit bored of the fenced-in view, so we found footpaths on the edge of fields instead.
If you decide to walk along the edges of fields in the English Countryside in winter, bring wellies! It was so, soooo muddy!
On our walk back to Molesworth, we found a field full of Elephant Grass. This is not a crop that I remember seeing when I grew up in this area, so I did a bit of research to find out more about it. It’s scientific name is miscanthus, and in the UK it is grown as environmentally friendly means of producing large amounts of biomass for renewable energy. It grows 3 meters tall, without the need for replanting. It is left in the field over the winter to reduce the water content and to help more nutrients be reabsorbed into the soil, then they harvest it in early spring. Apparently it is even good at increasing biodiversity as animals and bugs can hide in the grass. Cool eh!?
Pretty soon we found the public footpath that leads between the next village, Brington and Molesworth. So we could easily walk along the muddy tracks towards home.
Molesworth Mini Library
When I was growing up, people still used the old fashioned red telephone box in the middle of the village. Nowadays almost everyone has a mobile phone, so villagers have turned the phone into a mini library.
The Molesworth Village Sign
Okay, so this is going to sound a little boastful… But back when I was a teenager, our village got a new signpost. There was a competition for locals to design it, and my entry won! The sign was then made from black wrought iron, and has been displayed in the center of the village ever since. The Molesworth sign includes a mole (of course, I mean, this is Molesworth), the church, some crossed keys (because the local pub is called the Cross Keys) people digging as well as a dog. We grew up with a labrador retriever, so he made it into my design.
We walked via the jitty field and up through the Millennium Green to get home. If you do ever visit Molesworth, do go to this green spot in the middle of the village as it has the best views of the surrounding countryside.
The last thing to see on our walk was Saint Peters Church is at the top of the village. The chancel was built around 1270 and then the tower was added in the 15th century. The register for Saint Peters Church dates from the year 1564. It’s funny to think the teeny church in my village is over 300 years older than the country I now live in!
I hope you like the look of this little walk. I have far better photos of mini dog-walks near Molesworth, but it is kind of nice to hike around on grey days and see the soggy English countryside.