The West Cambridgeshire Hundreds

Beware – a little bit is to be closed during the next five years


The Cambridgeshire Hundreds, an administrative division used from Anglo-Saxon times (circa 800 AD) to the 19th century when (as with most counties in England and Wales) Cambridgeshire was divided into 17 hundreds, plus the borough of Cambridge. Each hundred had a separate council which met each month to rule on local judicial and taxation matters. Picture source: Wikipedia.

By Peter Mann

According to the Wildlife Trust for Beds, Cambs and Northants, the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds is ‘a collection of wildlife rich ancient woodlands in an area defined for over 1000 years by the old Anglo-Saxon regional divisions known as the Cambridgeshire Hundreds’.

The Cambridgeshire Hundreds, an administrative division used from Anglo-Saxon times (circa 800 AD) to the 19th century when (as with most counties in England and Wales) Cambridgeshire was divided into 17 hundreds, plus the borough of Cambridge.  Each hundred had a separate council which met each month to rule on local judicial and taxation matters.  Picture source: Wikipedia.

Hatley is in two of the Cambridgeshire Hundreds. Picture source: Wikipedia.

Buff Wood in East Hatley, Hayley Wood in Little Gransden and Gamlingay Wood are three of our local ancient woodlands – Hayley Wood, Gamlingay Wood and other woods (but not Buff Wood) are detailed on the Wildlife Trust’s West Cambridgeshire Hundreds website page.

As ever with things ancient, there’s the quirky thing of East Hatley being in the Armingford Hundred and Hatley St George in the Longstow Hundred.

And, of course, with Warseley and Great Gransden originally being part of Huntingdonshire, they are in Hunts’ Toseland Hundred (so nothing to do with the West Cambridgeshire Hundreds!); they are also having a bit closed off at times over the next five years, which will effect you if you want to walk in Waresley & Gransden Woods.**

A hundred is an administrative division which is geographically part of a larger region. Between Anglo-Saxon times (circa 800 AD) and the 19th century, Cambridgeshire was divided into 17 hundreds, plus the borough of Cambridge. Each hundred had a separate council which met every month to rule on local judicial and taxation matters.

Wikipedia (as you might expect) details the Cambridgeshire Hundreds and the Hundreds of Huntingdonshire.

Hatley is a great place for wildlife – because there’s such a wide variety of habitats and places where plants and animals live.

And we humans are very fortunate to have so many footpaths and bridleways running to and from East Hatley and Hatley St George.

If you really want to, you can probably make your way from Hatley to almost anywhere in the country via the UK’s unique, extensive and mostly very ancient rural footpaths and by-ways.

There’s much more on this, including ‘definitive maps’ showing all the footpaths and bridleways around Hatley, on our Countryside around Hatley page.


** If you fancy a wonder through Waresley & Gransden Woods, beware – there will be restricted access from time to time over the next five years as the Wildlife Trust undertakes significant work on habitat improvement, all detailed in this ‘Update, September 2022‘ note.

Post created 9th August 2022.