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Grantchester Meadows (18/18A Cambridge - St Neots)   

UPDATE: NOTE From Monday 13 April 2009 Service 18/18A no longer serves St Neots. The notes below are still valid for the section from Cambourne to Cambridge. The Cambourne – St Neots link is now by the Cambus citi4.

There must be many of us 'Twirlies'* who remember this from the late sixties:

In the lazy water meadow
I lay me down.
All around me golden sunflakes
Settle on the ground
Basking in the sunshine
Of a bygone afternoon
Bringing sounds of yesterday
Into this city room

Hear the lark and hearken
To the barking of the dog fox
Gone to ground
See the splashing
Of the kingfisher flashing to the water
And a river of green is sliding
Unseen beneath the trees
Laughing as it passes
Through the endless summer
making for the sea

Pink Floyd Grantchester Meadows from the album Ummagumma (1969)

You could approach from Cambridge on the Stagecoach in Cambridge service 18/18A (Mon-Sat only) either alighting in Grantchester village or at Barton Road corner in Newnham.

A really pleasant, though slow, ride on service 18 starts at St Neots, usually on a double decker, giving a lovely view of rolling Cambridgeshire countryside.

Walk though the Grantchester Meadows and catch the bus again from the other end of your walk.

Time things well for a bite to eat and/or a pint of draught beer at one of Grantchester's four pubs: The Blue Ball; The Rupert Brooke; The Red Lion; The Green Man and/or afternoon tea at The Orchard Tea Rooms.

If you've journeyed in from St Neots, you might wish to take the service 18/18A to Cambridge, Drummer Street Bus Station after your stroll, then pick up the much quicker Stagecoach X5 for the journey back.

* I'm a Twirly./Am I too early? (ie before 9:30 am)

"Grantchester Meadows" is a song from the second half of the experimental Pink Floyd album Ummagumma. It was written and performed entirely by Roger Waters. The song features Waters' lyrics accompanied by an acoustic guitar, while a chorus of birds chirp in the background throughout the entire song. At approximately 4:13, the sound of a honking goose is temporarily introduced, followed by the sound of it taking off (goose sound effects had been used before in "Bike"). The lyrics describe a pastoral and dream-like scene at the Grantchester meadows in Cambridgeshire, England. This is where fellow band member David Gilmour grew up and former member Syd Barrett lived. (from Answers.com)

Anyway, Grantchester Meadows and the village of Grantchester are great destinations.

Grantchester is a village on the River Cam or Granta in Cambridgeshire, England. It is listed in the Domesday Book as Grantesete and Grauntsethe.

Tourists and students often travel from Cambridge by punt to eat a picnic in the meadows or at a Tea Garden called The Orchard.

In 1897, a group of Cambridge students persuaded the owner of Orchard House to serve them tea, and this became a regular practice. Lodgers at Orchard House included the poet Rupert Brooke, who later moved next door to the Old Vicarage. In 1912, while in Berlin, he would write his well-known poem The Old Vicarage, Grantchester. The Old Vicarage is currently the home of the Cambridge scientist Mary Archer and her husband, Jeffrey Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare…

Further upstream is Byron's Pool, named after Lord Byron, who is said (by Brooke, at least) to have swum there. The pool is now below a modern weir where the Bourn Brook flows into the River Cam. (From Answers.com)

And service 18, from St Neots to Cambridge, run by Stagecoach in Cambridge really does give a lovely view of rolling Cambridgeshire countryside from the vantage point of a double decker. (Though I prefer to avert my eyes when the bus trundles through the 'super-vilage' of Cambourne.)