If you were looking for the perfect way to spend a late summer afternoon you would be hard pushed to beat a walk through Grantchester Meadows, followed by a sumptuous cream tea.

Dot, Malcolm, guide dog Bennet and myself had been many times before, but we had never taken a walk through the meadows. Bracing ourselves at the Orchard Tea Rooms in Grantchester, we parked ourselves in one of their disabled parking spaces before consulting a map of the three main footpaths recommended by the tea rooms. The options ranged from 1 to 3.5 km, and given Dots use of a walking frame we sensibly decided to plump for the 1km route. This decision was quickly undone as we chatted our way through fields for several kilometres of beautiful meadow grass, finally ending up back at the tearooms a long time later than planned. The path rambles it’s way along the side of the winding river Cam, filled with wild life of all sorts, and numerous punts and canoes. A few brave swimmers took the plunge and their numbers included Bennet who had decided that the best way to enter the water would be via a shallow beach of deep mud. On returning to dry land, dripping with water and slime, his decision to introduce himself to a couple of sunbathers was less successful than usual.

It’s worth noting that the path is not without it’s obstacles including tree roots, kissing gates and uneven surfaces. Also, with the exception of a large tree stump, we found no place to sit en route. That said, if Dot managed it with a wheeled walking frame, a bit of dogged determination and only a little help, it should be accessible to most. After the longer than expected walk in the hot sun, a cream tea at the tea rooms amongst the dappled shade of the apple orchard was a welcome finale. Enormous fresh scones with real clotted cream and jam, washed down with tea from china cups, could only be bettered in Devon. A truly quintessentially English afternoon and one shared in past times with many luminaries including Rupert Brooke (poet), Virginia Woolf (author), Maynard Keynes (economist), Bertrand Russell (philosopher), Alan Turing (inventor of the computer), Ernest Rutherford (split the atom), Crick and Watson (discovered DNA), Stephen Hawking (theoretical physicist, cosmologist and author) and HRH Prince Charles (future King of England).

For more information about the tearooms take a look at http://www.theorchardteagarden.co.uk