The Ramsey Walk (26 May)

Editor’s note: Apologies for the delay in publishing this article.  I’d love to blame the technology but it was almost certainly entirely my fault.

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By Muddy Boots

I have always thought Ramsey (pop. approx. 9,000), sitting on the edge of the fens, to be a fairly unprepossessing little town. Before Henry VIII’s wrecking crew moved in there was a quite important Benedictine Abbey here, the site now containing a large school complex. For some reason the Abbey gate house, now a National Trust property, was left mainly intact and it was from close to it that our walk began today.

We soon leave the town, skirting the Ramsey Rural Museum. Approximately 1km from this eastern edge of our walk is Dovehouse Farm, where In January 1941 a German spy, Josef Jacobs, parachuted to ground. Like most attempted infiltrations by spies during the war, it quickly ended. Jacobs was immediately caught, tried and became the last person to be executed at the Tower of London.

We re-enter the outskirts of the town and take the public footpath across the golf course, being careful to look out for flying balls from people in badly coordinated leisure wear. This path leads us to Bury church which contains the graves of thirty five RAF and Commonwealth airmen.

We continue, eventually joining the perimeter track of RAF Upwood, where these airmen would have been based. RAF Upwood, with its grass runways, began the war as an aircrew training unit but in 1943 work on three concrete runways was started. However, it was not until March 1944 that the first operational aircraft, Mosquitos, arrived, followed by Lancasters, with various types of aircraft continuing to use the base until 1961 when flying operations ceased.

Open land on the eastern edge of the airfield is now subject to extensive ongoing house building but the adjacent public foot path is well preserved and we make our way back into the town and to walks end.

A fairly pleasant, easy 5 miler, with an impressive turnout of twenty seven Peterborough Ramblers and thanks to Jonathan for leading today

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