Hatley St. George circular walk/run.
Situated on the South West Cambridgeshire plateau, Hatley St. George lies on the Croydon to Gamlingay road. With a general elevation of around 200 feet this walk/run offers wider open views of the surrounding countryside across the valley of the Rhee or Cam. This area of the county is heavy clay and was settled later than the river valleys. There are still pockets of ancient woodland (Buff wood and Hayley wood for example). The area is less densely populated and the villages are smaller and further apart. Consequently this is a part of the county where you can get away from people and have a quiet walk or run. The tracks are fairly well drained. This particular route is easy to trace on the OS Explorer Map 209.
Park your car in the lay by just on the left beyond the shop/post office. Walk back along the road and turn left down Buff lane and proceed through the gap in the gate. Continue on past farm buildings on the right. The track descends slightly. Turn left at the bottom at the corner of the wood. The path takes you up to a ridge where there is a large brick farm building. Upon reaching a bridle path turn right along the ridge for more than a mile. The track narrows as you pass through a hedge row. Follow the path round to the right and downhill, across a footbridge, and continue on, keeping the hedge on your right. The path climbs again until you reach a crossroads (Hatley gate). Turn right, passing over a small bridge and continue on a straight path, passing through two short sections of woodland. The path continues until you reach a cattle grid just before the driveway to Hatley Park. Cross over this and walk/run on a short way to a gate leading out on to the public road.
Turn right along the road until you reach a Gatehouse on the right, ignoring the first left turn. Take the second track on the left leading down across a meadow to a gate at the bottom. Once through, walk/run straight on up the slope. The path crosses over into another field and continues to climb, then turns sharply to the right. Continue along this path until you come to a crossroads with another path. (For Hayley Wood extension, see below). Turn right here and follow the path downhill, crossing a track at the bottom and continue on in the same direction back to the village. At the road turn left back to the lay by. This is a two hour walk, 45/50 minute run of about six miles.
There are numerous extensions and alternative routes, as you will discover from a close perusal of the OS map, but this is a good basic route to get you more familiar with the area. For the Hayley wood extension, at the crossroads instead of turning right back to the village turn left and continue on passing through a gap in the hedge, then on between heavy posts. The path continues on the right hand side of a field until you reach a crossroads with a metalled farm track. Turn left and walk/run slightly downhill towards farm buildings. The path turns right just before these and then on to the corner of the wood. Once the wood is reached turn left along the side of the wood until you reach the access gate.
There are numerous paths through the woods and it is possible to do a circular route, returning whence you came. This extends the walk or run by a coulpe of miles or so.