The old way to Dry Drayton

[Back to Rights of way west and south-west of Girton.]

OS First Edition annotated OS Second Edition annotated

In the 1970s, Girton footpath 7 was cut back from Washpit Lane to make room for the M11 carriageways. It remained reachable by diverting a short distance south-east to use Girton bridleway 6 and then walking back north-west along the verge of the “new” A1307.

That's “A1307”, not A14, because at the time of construction, the A14 did not exist as such, and the principal anticipated traffic flow was north-south along the M11. That meant the A1307 itself was in effect the “local access road”. It was far less busy than the modern A14, and was deemed suitable for “non-motorised use”. The northbound trunk road section, the A604(T), started only at the M11 junction.

Following its cutting back, how did one access footpath 7 to Dry Drayton? The answer: by walking along the verge and/or shoulder of the new access road. This was less terrifying than it sounds, at least initially when traffic volumes were lower. It remained doable by the adventurous.

The following sequence of photos shows roughly what it was like, starting at the Bulls Close underpass (through which diverged the bridleway to Madingley). The images are culled from Google Street View and appear under fair use.

The start of the footpath is not quite visible, on the left just past the fifth lamppost in the photo above, Here is one looking the other way from a little further along, showing the footpath sign.

All these photos are still available on Google Street View at the time of writing, but since Street View needs to be fooled into thinking it's on a current road, they may soon become unreachable. For example, it's already impossible to navigate further south from the position shown immediately above.

This piece describes a determined walk including this footpath. Note that the author clearly didn't realise that the intended onward route was along the shoulder of the access road—not directly across the M11!

Content updated at Mon 30 Nov 23:51:00 GMT 2020.
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