Planning the Route Stage 3 – Hardwick to The Backs

The third stage starts in the countryside and covers the transition from open countryside to urban development. Field paths are left behind as the route runs along pavements towards the city. Having crossed the M11 the roads become built up, passing through land owned by Cambridge University with departmental buildings and the first of the colleges.

Map reproduced from 2017 Ordnance Survey map with the kind permission of the Ordnance Survey

Having left Frankies Snack Bar the route is now fully paved down into the city. Initially it runs beside the old Cambridge to St Neots Road, which is now bypassed by the A428. This section marks the northern edge of the village of Hardwick. Hardwick is another Domesday village and passed into the ownership of the bishop of Ely in the 12th century. Its population at the 2011 census was over 2,500.

After 2 km of almost perfectly straight road the route joins the A1303 just south of Madingley. This is the road I mentioned in stage 2 that connects the exit slip after the blue footbridge to the M11. From the M11 it is then any easy journey by car to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus, home to the new Royal Papworth and to Addenbrooke’s Hospital.

The first landmark here is Madingley Mulch Garden Supplies whose lorries are frequently seen delivering around Cambridgeshire.

Another kilometre along the road is the entrance to the Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial containing nearly 4,000 American war graves mainly from the Battle of the Atlantic or the air bombardment of Europe. The land was donated by the University of Cambridge and also contains memorials to those whose bodies were never found including Glenn Miller and a brother of John F Kennedy.

Cambridge American Cemetery and Memorial Entrance

Next door to the cemetery is Madingley Windmill, which was brought here from Ellington, Huntingdonshire in 1936 to replace a previous mill that fell down in 1909. The mill stands on private ground and, as far as I am aware, is not open to the public.

Madingley Windmill

A few hundred metres further along and the route reaches the borough of Cambridge although, as can be seen it is not yet built up.

On the other side of the road stands this house with its magnificent chimneys.

Another 500 m and the route crosses the M11 at junction 13. The junction only allows southbound traffic to join the motorway which is why there is no slip road on this view to the north.

From this point on we are into the built up area of Cambridge. Although some of the land is residential, a lot of it on either side of Madingley Road is part of Cambridge University either as colleges or departments. Information on these can be found in the university’s excellent map site.

Immediately after crossing the M11, the West Cambridge Site is found on the right. Amongst other departments it is home to the Cavendish Laboratory, the Department of Veterinary Medicine and the British Antarctic Survey.

The Cavendish Laboratory houses the Department of Physics. There are many famous names in science who have studied or worked there including 29 Nobel Prize winners. Amongst them are JJ Thomson, Ernest Rutherford, Francis Crick and James Watson. I do not have space to do justice to all the others who worked there, more can be found on their website.

With so many famous people there are plenty to chose from when naming roads on the site. Others includes Charles Babbage Road and Ada Lovelace Road.

Continuing down the hill the Madingley Rise Site is on the left, home to the Institute of Astronomy with various observatories. This is followed by the first of the Colleges, Churchill College. Although only founded in 1960 it has the largest single site of any college in the university.

At the eastern end of Madingley Road is Westminster College, which is not part of the university. It is a theological college belonging to the United Reform Church.

Westminster College

The final part of the route turns south from here into the historic centre of Cambridge before heading out to the Cambridge Biomedical Campus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s