This walk is easy to navigate and is mostly off-lead. It can be a sociable experience too, especially at weekends – off-road cyclists enjoy keeping within the thin track on the Roman Road and the playground and sports field in the River Granta area is full of families. During the week, you may bump into cadets doing some outbound training. The walk is a favourite with dog owners, although they peter out towards the top of Rivey Hill, as it requires a bit more stamina to do the full circular.
During the autumn, you can pick blackberries on the Rivey Hill ascent, and during winter, there are masses of sloes along the Roman Road.
At the top of Rivey Hill, there is a bench for picnicking, but it’s quite exposed to wind. I have yet to try the hospitality at Chilford Hall and the Pear Tree Inn, but if you have had good experiences with your dog, please leave me a comment.
The walk starts in Hildersham and there is parking outside the Village Hall on the High Street. There is a convenient poop bin on the other side of the road. Parking spaces may be limited at weekends, but there are other areas to park, for example, near the Pear Tree Inn. My dog knows that the walk can start off-lead if I see no sheep in the first field, and she heads straight for the gate to the left of the Village Hall.
Walk in a south to southeast direction across the field until you cross the River Granta. After the bridge, turn left along the path, with arable farmland on your right and wooded riverbed on your left. Continue past the sewage works on your right and keep following the path as it bends right around Cow Gallery Wood and then continues left towards Little Linton.
The farm leads onto a playground, so consider how your dog behaves around small children. As you leave the farm, there is an opportunity to dump any poop bags in the bin at the gate.
The playground has a gated area for smaller children and rides for slightly older children, including a skateboarding ramp. After the Bowling Green, turn left to walk through The Meadow. On a busy Saturday, there may be teams playing football, so again, depending on how well behaved your dog is, it could be time to slip the lead on.
Cross Symonds Lane and go through the footpath barriers immediately in front of you.
Walk through the housing estate and turn right along Back Road. After a short distance, cross Back Road and turn left up the Public Bridleway. You will see the signpost pointing left to the top of Rivey Hill, ¾ miles away.
This section is the most strenuous, but you can take it at your own pace, stop to pick blackberries, and have a rest on the bench at the top of the hill. Here, you can look back down to Linton and admire the panoramic views.
Rivey Hill is also where the walk starts to get muddy during autumn and winter, which may also explain why less people attempt it. I was glad I had my wellies on when I did the walk at the start of December – during the summer, it was trainers, which would not have coped well with this:
Turn right at the bench and walk towards the Water Tower.
Go past Rivey Cottage and fields containing a couple of horses.
Turn left after the Water Tower and continue down the road, which is more like a track, but vehicles still do use it to get to the cottage and tower. Both sides of the road have hedgerows that are full of blackberries.
At the end of the road, you hit the relatively busy B1052 Balsham Road. There is no footpath, so leads are definitely recommended.
At the end of the second field, you will come to the Roman Road. Turn left along the Roman Road. Quite soon, you need to cross over the B1052, so take care. The walk then continues along the Roman Road.
There is a longer stretch of Roman Road before you need to cross over another quite busy road that is unnamed on the map. Again, there is one more long stretch of Roman Road lined with sloe berries before you reach the summit of a shallow hill and see gateposts on your left.
Take the hairpin turn, almost back on yourself, and walk in a southerly direction down the hill towards Hildersham. When you reach the road, turn right and take care as there is no pavement.
The section of road without pavement is not long and as you cross the crossroads and enter the village, there is pavement.
Continue down the High Street and you end at the Village Hall next to the ford. If your dog is thirsty and you didn’t bring water, they can have a drink at the ford.