Shameless clickbait for a genteel Huntingdonshire post that does at least feature sausage rolls, a Cock and several bushes.

These publess walks are getting a bit wearing now, but at least the 3 miles from Houghton Mill through the Hemingfords back to St Ives were without Social Distancing drama.

st ives2

The tiny Houghton Tea Rooms were taking advantage of the National Trust closure by offering bargain coffee and hot sausage rolls delivered by drone and paid for by a contactless machine at the door.

The first of 50 thatched buildings on the Houghton-Hemingford trail

As you’ll know, a beer and coffee combination before a walk is fatal, so perhaps the pub closure is a good thing.

That’s nice
Bored now
Not my Dad

Hemingford Abbots is the smaller of the two  contiguous villages, its 635 residents legally obliged to live under thatch.

It does, however, have the pubbier of the Hemingford “boozers”.

Axe & Compasses your best chance of Doom Bar

The Axe & Compasses is a proper village pub that looked impossibly alluring as we pressed on into the Grey, pausing only to say “Hulloa” to the gentlefolk with pitchforks cheery waves.  They’ve never seen their village so quiet and I sense they’re not entirely happy about it.

Make it stop

Is it much further ?” said Mrs RM, as we crossed the meadows leading to the county’s poshest pub.

Only 20 minutes” I lied.

The Manor Gardens (£5) had just re-opened.  Social Distancing didn’t look to be a problem.

“Nice topiary”
Will bring my Dad back here

Frankly, the village is a honeypot, but the usual Grey visitors aren’t flocking back ’till the Cock re-opens.  Walking half a mile on an empty stomach isn’t an option.

Simple signage

This is Cambridgeshire’s top dining pub (Spoons aside), AND a GBG perennial.

Simon got here in 2018 and forgot to take photos of thatch but did warm to the piped Blackadder in the Gents (it’s Dudley & Clive in the Ladies).

Photo : Si

If there’s a more gastro line-up than Adnams, Brewsters and Oldershaw I’ve yet to see it, but as with Simon I can vouch for the beer quality and pubbiness of the Public bar.

Anyway, more thatch.

Cock on the thatch near the Cock

You’re dying to see pictures of flat roof pubs in Carluke now, aren’t you ?

Patience, patience.




  1. This was the correct time to write “what Americans look for in an English village.” It really checks all the boxes. It’s also on the way to GOC…


      1. I re-read the BRAPA pieces I linked to; he liked St Ives a lot. You can walk to the Hemingfords and back in a pleasant hour and the 3 St Ives pubs are all worth the effort.


      2. A good read. You never know where BRAPA will land! Never fails to surprise. You did mention that he grew up in that big house west of Saffron Walden though, right? Might have a soft spot for the area.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Simon hasn’t admitted where he lived, or I’d have found you the blue plaque.

        I can’t believe he hasn’t done the 2 pubs there. The station is actually Audley End, a pleasing mile walk into town.


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