The St. Ives to Cambridge Branch Line in its day was a very busy station. Fruit and flowers in the summer/ autumn would be delivered to the station from the surrounding villages for dispatch to the markets. During the war the railway line was vital for the delivery of personnel and bombs for RAF Oakington. In an age when to own a car was rare the railway line provided a vital transport link for villagers going to either St. Ives of Cambridge. More information will be added to this section in due course – this is just a taster…..
The arrival of the car and road haulage perhaps inevitably sealed the fate of this branch line, but it kept open for a number of extra years by transporting gravel from the nearby gravel works.
After a number of years of abandonment – nature and silence reclaimed this old railway line.
In 2007 work started on the creation of the Guided Bus-way; at 16 miles it is currently the longest one in the world. The busway and cycle track officially opened to the public on 7 August 2011
Fen Drayton – This village is quite a walk from the Nature Reserve bus-stop, but there is a pub in the village that serves food. The pub can get very busy so making a reservation may be advisable – it is a long way to walk to find that tables are fully booked. Certainly this would make a great Sunday stroll.
Swavesey –The bus-stop is a one end of this very long village but it is adjacent to the Manor site and Swavesey church, which was part of a priory. Remnants of the priory can be seen in the earth works that can be seen in the field between the church and the GBW. There are a number of footpaths near the church so the fen edge can be explored. Just beyond the church are the remains of Swan Pond. Look at the houses on the right and you can see the remains of a causeway that was built. If the fen flooded the causeway would be the only access route. In the 1947 floods I believe that the causeway just remained above the water level. The people who built those houses certianly knew what they were doing.
Both Swavesey and Over have pubs that serve food, I just don’t have any details.
Longstanton– Again on the edge of a long village so a considerable amount of walking is involved. If you would like to visit the churches of All Saints’ and St Michael’s it is quicker to use the footpath that crosses the golf course and comes out on Rampton Road. At this point you will see one of the villages “Oakington” pillboxes. If you turn right you will get to All Saints’ church. If you take the by-way opposite you will eventually arrive at St Michael’s church. Please see the notes on Guided Walk 1 (Conservation Area) under the Longstanton section.
Oakington– Situated between Oakington and Westwick the bus-stop is on the edge of the village near the former railway station. A relatively short walk into the village (and then take the first right, and then next left) brings you to St Andrews church. Continue along the High Street and you will see on your left what was Church Farm, which is the oldest house in the village. On your left you will also see the old paddocks which form part of the Oakington conservation area. Take the right turn (Coles Lane) and you will eventually come across the White Horse pub.
Histon– again a long way from the village centre. The bus-stop is built near the former railway station. Histon has many shops, pubs and a very pretty pond surrounded by thatched cottages.