Spring finally looks as if it’s here to stay, things are warming up outdoors and nature is transforming the countryside with beautiful seasonal colour.
Seize the moment with Cambridge PPF on a full programme of outdoor events and activities for all ages that make the most of the longer days and springtime sunshine.
May Day Morris Dance, Wednesday 1 May: 5am to 6am
Be up with the lark this May Day as the summer sun rises above the Wandlebury woodlands, and witness the Devil’s Dyke Morris Men dancing to greet it. This traditional English dancing event takes place in the same beautiful spot in the Country Park on May Day each year. If you have never been before, we highly recommend it.
NB: Free event but donations are always welcome. Meet on the picnic field at Wandlebury Country Park (signposted from entrance). Dancing starts at 5.29am. Refreshments will be available for purchase on the day.
Directions: Wandlebury Country Park is on the A1307, 2.5km south of the Addenbrooke’s roundabout. CB22 3AE. Parking is available on site and costs £3 per vehicle, members free.
Coton Countryside Walk: Great St Mary’s–The Backs–West Fields–Coton Reserve, Saturday 4 May: 10am to 3pm
Enjoy a sociable and flat walk from Great St Mary’s Church in Cambridge city centre. From the city’s historic colleges and The Backs into the immediate rural hinterland and the West Fields, past thestriking architecture of the University’s West Cambridge site, into the Coton Countryside Reserve, before returning via the University’s Sidgwick site in Newnham to the city centre. Visit Coton Produce Sale in Coton Village Hall for coffee, cakes, and seasonal produce; there will also be an opportunity to divert to The Plough pub in Coton for lunch – or bring a packed lunch and drinks.
NB: Booking? Free event but donations are appreciated. The walk is around 6.5 miles long, and could take up to 5 hours including breaks. Most of the walking is on surfaced or hard earth paths, which could be muddy after rain. Please dress for the weather and wear suitable walking shoes.
Directions: Meeting point is in front of Great St Mary’s Church, north end of King’s Parade, Cambridge, CB2 3PQ.
Wandlebury Park Outdoor Cinema: Bohemian Rhapsody, Saturday 4 May: 7pm to 11pm
Kick off your May Day bank holiday weekend in style with an al fresco cinema viewing in the beautiful springtime surrounds of Wandlebury Country Park. Open-air cinema company The Star & Mouse will be screening the story of Freddie Mercury and the legendary rock band Queen in the award-winning film ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.
Arrive at 7pm to grab a drink, soak up the atmosphere, watch some live music and enjoy the giant garden games – plus there’s a pop-up kitchen serving delicious food. The film begins at nightfall, when you can snuggle up under a blanket to enjoy the show. Dogs are welcome too – so feel free bring along your four-legged friends.
NB: Booking essential. Entry from 7pm. Age rating 12A. Ticket prices from £10 unseated to £25 including deckchair, hot water bottle, bag of popcorn and glass of Prosecco. It is recommended to arrive at Wandlebury from 7pm to enjoy the pre-film food, drinks and entertainment. Food is available for purchase and picnics are not permitted.
Directions: Wandlebury Country Park is on the A1307, 2.5km south of the Addenbrooke’s roundabout. CB22 3AE. Parking is available on site and costs £3 per vehicle, free to members.
Go Bats at Wandlebury, Friday 10 May: 8.30pm to 10pm
Sharpen all your senses on the hunt for bats – the only true flying mammal – which are fully active and feeding in May, having emerged from hibernation in the preceding months. There are over 1300 species worldwide, and Wandlebury is home to several, including Brown Long-Eared and Barbastelle. Cambridgeshire Bat Group will be leading this guided walk at dusk to look for bats, use a bat detector and learn more about these fascinating creatures.
NB: Free event, donations welcome. Suitable for ages 9+. Bring a torch and remember it gets cooler after dark. Meet at the noticeboard in the car park.
Bourn Windmill Open Day and Teas, Saturday 11 and Sunday 12 May: 2pm to 4pm
Come and see inside one of the oldest mills in the country, set in beautiful scenery near Bourn village. A perfect location for a picnic. On five Sundays during the summer the mill is opened and guides will show you how the mill works and tell you the history of this incredible building. Not only can you see inside, you can also have a go at the task of turning the whole mill on its post – an amazing sight. The mill is owned by local charity CambridgePPF and run by dedicated volunteers. Teas and cakes will be available for purchase.
NB: No need to book. Free to CambridgePPF members, non-members £3 per adult, £1 per child.
Directions: Off Caxton Road, Bourn CB23 2SU. Accessible by car, or on footpaths from Bourn. OS grid reference TL 312 580
Hinxton Watermill Open Day, Sunday 12 May: 2.30pm to 5.30pm
Drop in and explore this impressive 17th century working watermill, built on a site dating back to the Domesday Book. Hinxton Mill, owned by CambridgePPF and run by volunteer guides, is located in charming surroundings in the village of Hinxton on the River Cam. On six Sundays during the summer the mill is opened and guides will show you how the mill works and tell you the history of this incredible building. There are also walks along the river. Children can take part in the popular ‘Where’s Ratty’ competition and have the chance to win a prize!
NB: CambridgePPF members can visit for free. For non-members entry is £3 for adults, £1 for children. No need to book.
Directions: Mill Lane, Hinxton CB10 1RD (turn off the A1301 from Cambridge into Hinxton village).OS grid reference TL 493 453
Saturday Bushcraft for Families, Saturday 18 May: 9am to 11.30am
In addition to the always-popular holiday bushcraft club for children, on the third Saturday of each month the outdoor learning experience group, Wild Thyme & Embers, is now offering the chance to explore the natural world through the skills of bushcraft together as a family.
Construct shelters, cook on an open fire, whittle feather sticks and butter knives, and practice primitive fire-building techniques in these immensely satisfying and rewarding sessions. A great opportunity for quality family time while learning some essential traditional outdoor skills – perfect for both the budding and mature outdoorsperson alike.
NB: £18 per family (£12 for single adult and child). Includes all specialist equipment and a drink and snack. Dress according to the weather on the day.
Booking: essential. Please visit www.wildthymeandembers.co.uk
Painting and Drawing in Summer – four-week course, Mondays from 20 May: 12pm to 3pm
Connect with the ancient heritage of England’s flora on this unique four-week drawing and painting course with treescape artist Debbie Baxter. Rediscover your local landscapes on this creative adventure, with plein-airand studio instruction from a professional artist. It doesn’t matter what your skill level is – both group and individual tuition will be provided in drawing, acrylics, and watercolour painting. Whether you’re simply a nature lover or a keen amateur artist or both, this is a great opportunity to get out there and create.
NB: Course runs for four Mondays beginning 20 May. £150 per person. Materials list will be provided on booking.
Booking: [email protected]
Gog Magog House History Walk, Tuesday 21 May: 10.30am to 11.30am
Enjoy a gentle walk around the buildings at Wandlebury with one of the wardens and discover some of the history of the fascinating 18th century country estate and stables – the historical seat of the Godolphin family, which was credited with raising the renowned Godolphin Arabian thoroughbred racing stallion.
NB: No need to book, just turn up.Free event – donations welcome. Meet at the notice board next to the car park at Wandlebury Park.