The cathedral city of Ely is a great place for walkers. With attractive streets, interesting architecture and a fascinating history there is much to enjoy on foot. The city also has two lovely long distance trails passing through it and riverside paths along the River Great Ouse.
This easy circular walk uses sections of the Fen Rivers Way and the Hereward Way to take you through the city and along the river. The walk starts from the wonderful cathedral in the city centre. It dates from the 11th century, with cathedral status granted in 1109. It is an architectural masterpiece and a major tourist destination, receiving around 250,000 visitors per year. There are also pretty gardens to stroll around with a formal rose garden, wisteria, lawns, an orchard and a lavender hedge. From the cathedral you follow the Hereward Way through the city streets to Ely Country Park. The park includes two trails to take you through the natural fen landscape with lots of wildlife to look out for.
The route then continues through Rosewell Pits. This area is a designated nature reserve with a pretty lake, reedbeds, wildflowers and wildfowl to look out for. Keep your eyes peeled for common terns, kingfishers, reed warblers and emperor dragonflies as you make your way through this area.
After passing through the reserve you pick up a section of the Fen Rivers Way to take you along the River Great Ouse. You then turn towards Ely Castle where only a mound remains. The route then passes Cherry Hill and Dean's Meadow to return you to the cathedral. Nearby you will find Oliver Cromwell's House which dates from 1215.
If you would like to extend your walk then one good option is to follow the river south to Wicken Fen. The lovely nature reserve is located just a few miles south of the city centre and includes nice cycling and walking trails with lots of wildlife to see.
If you follow the river north it will take you from Ely to Downham Market in Norfolk. This will take you past the splendid Welney WWT, one of the premier birdwatching sites in the the country.
Other Walks around Ely
- Ouse Valley Way - Follow the River Great Ouse from the source at Brackley, Northamptonshire, to the mouth at The Wash at King's Lynn
- Fen Rivers Way - This is a teriffic riverside walking route running from Cambridge to King's Lynn in Norfolk
- Hereward Way - Starting in Oakham, in Rutland, follow the Herward Way through Stamford, Peterborough, Ely, and the Breckland forests to Thetford, in Norfolk
- Wicken Fen - Enjoy a walk or cycle through the beautiful Wicken Fen Nature Reserve in Cambridgeshire
- Downham Market - Enjoy a lovely riverside walk along the River Great Ouse in this attractive Norfolk town
- Welney WWT - Enjoy waterside footpaths along the New Bedford River on this easy circular walk at the Welney Wetland Centre