Today’s socially distanced walk (I was passed by one wobbly cyclist in 90 minutes) comes from Willingham, the village that makes Waterbeach look sophisticated.

All your favourites

You’ll have a complete set of posts on the Fen Edge villages to cut-out-and-keep soon.  Willingham is definitely more Fen than edge, even though it does have the micropub with cans of Cloudwater.

The Bank impressed me when I took BRAPA there on my Fenland Flyer service in 2018.

Back then “the banter was distinctly rural, as folk discussed fertiliser discounts rather than the merits of the Cloudwater DIPA unexpectedly on the bar. Or perhaps the shame brought on the village by those thin Adnams glasses“.

Barflies in the Bank

My walk up Schole Road and down Iram Drove past Belsar’s Hill sound more exciting than it was.

And on the 86,000 days since
All OF the above

But at least it’s flat. And I know how much some of you love flat.

A tad smaller than our lovely Waterbeach, lacking the railway, new housing and a Chinese takeaway but fitting in an Indian restaurant, three pubs and a “help yourself” beer pump.

Traditional dispense

In all honesty, it’s a bit shabby in parts, but St Mary’s & All Saints is a highlight.


If you think I’m being a bit mean on a workingman’s village, read this;

A local man named Jabez Few, who died in the 1920s, was regarded by the townspeople of Willingham as a witch. They claimed that the white mice he kept were his familiar spirits, and that they could not be got rid of after his death until they were held over running water. 

Yes, investigated for witchcraft in the 20th century. And you thought Pendle and Hartlepool were nervy.  Amazed that Simon got out unscathed.

There’s a few picturesque thatched cottages,

Ancient house

and the Duke of Wellington is a classy Greene King dining pub with gorgeous XX Mild from the barrel.

No XX Mild take-outs, sadly

The Porterhouse had gravity beer when I was there last time, too. Now it looks like a Greene King family diner. Oh, it was.

Temporary sign, I hope

So there you go.  Three decent to good pubs, an Indian restaurant, and a hardware stoore with wobbly letters.

Unchanged since my Dad bought a Flymo there in 1976

Oh, and a windmill.  I expect Jabez is still locked up in there.

Obligatory windmill


13 thoughts on “WILLINGHAM – ALL FEN, NO EDGE

      1. 1976 :-
        Tony Greig
        Viv Richard, Michael Holding, Wayne Daniel
        Probably brought the Flymo to take his mind off the carnage.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. “Amazed that Simon got out unscathed.” So am I, for those trousers alone!

    On a slightly more serious note, you talk about Fen Edge villages, are there any villages in the Fens proper – if that’s the correct terminology?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Fens is the coastal plain drained by the Dutch, mainly around the Wash. I guess from Ely up towards King Lynn and across to Boston is what I’d call Fens, taking in Spalding, Crowland and March. Some big churches but few great pubs !

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank-you, Martin. Looking back on a drive we undertook a couple of years ago, from Dereham across to the A1, and then on up into Yorkshire, I can picture exactly the area you are referring to.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved the caption “And on the 86,000 days since”; really the captions are the secret “special sauce” of the RetiredMartin blog, let’s just say it. 😉

    This is my first time encountering the term “fly-tipping”. I am pleased to say the definition provided by Google is just what I’d surmised. Not sure the sort of person who’d entertain the idea of leaving an old sofa by the side of the road is going to have a change of heart upon reading that sign, but hey– I sincerely hope they will!

    (Does make me wonder though if there has been an alt rock band in the UK called The Fly Tippers.)

    It’s tempting to condemn people who investigated someone for witchcraft early in the 20th century, but then again, we must remember how many of us, right now, suspect witchcraft as the only possible explanation for what Simon has got away with.


    1. There was a UK punk band called the Tip Flyers, Mark. They had a No.19 hit in 1979 with “Oi Oi Get Off My Tip”. Simon likes them.

      NB I thought “on the fly” was an American phrase ?

      There’s a lot of fly tipping in the Fens, loads of roads leading to nowhere to dump your fridge.

      Simon is surely a white witch. I can’t account for Tom.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yes – Mrs. E manages an amenity as a volunteer, and I help her, along with the rest of a committee. One of the main problems that we face is the continual removal of fly-tipping.

        More of it at the moment is apparently trades waste.

        Why do some tradesmen apparently believe that the long suffering council tax payer must subsidise their businesses by its disposal?

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “On the fly” is definitely American, it’s the “tip” part that never made it over here. I recall my roommate from England referring to our dorm room as a “s**t tip”, my glorious introduction to this new vocabulary. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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