Grantchester Meadows

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The River Cam at Grantchester Meadows

Grantchester Meadows is an open space in Grantchester, to the south of the city of Cambridge. It is part of the broad green flood plain from the pubs in Grantchester to the Ditton Plough, comprising Grantchester Meadows, The Lammas Land, the Backs, Jesus Green, Midsummer Common, and Stourbridge Common.[1]

Grantchester Meadows can be reached by walking across Lammas Land by the River Cam, via the Paradise Local Nature Reserve - a boardwalk through a marsh woodland noted for butterbur and as habitat of the musk beetle, along a residential road (also called Grantchester Meadows), to the river and footpath to Grantchester.[2]

The meadow features in the poem "Watercolor Of Grantchester Meadows" by Sylvia Plath,[3] and a 1969 song by the British rock band Pink Floyd.[4]

As of June 2021, King’s College installed signs which prohibited swimming in the River Cam from Grantchester Meadows. This change was met with controversy.[5][6] A King's spokesman said: "Sadly it has become increasingly apparent that this not only causes significant problems for the emergency services, but also brings with it a serious risk to life. As such it would be irresponsible for the College to continue to encourage swimming in an area where it is unsafe to do so".[7] Camila Ilsley launched a petition against the closure, criticizing it as a "drastic action" that would "shut down traditions dear to the people of Cambridge, and choke our connection with its beautiful natural surroundings".[7]


  1. ^ Martin Garrett - Cambridge: A Cultural and Literary History 2004 -- Page viii 1902669797 "Its propensity to flood has threaded through Cambridge from the pubs in Grantchester to the Ditton Plough, a broad green ribbon of flood plain — Grantchester Meadows, The Lammas Land, the Backs, Jesus Green, Midsummer Common, ... "
  2. ^ Cambridgeshire Regional Planning Report - Page 82 "The fields adjoining the river from Sheep's Green down to Grantchester should form a continuous open belt, as already Grantchester Meadows are one of the most fully enjoyed stretches of rural country in the vicinity of Cambridge."
  3. ^ Gothenburg Studies in English Ingrid Melander - 1972 - Volume 25 - Page 70 "Dyson's remark "Walking in Grantchester Meadows, since Rupert Brooke the very touchstone of English nostalgia, she [Sylvia Plath] notes ..." (p. 205) is indeed relevant. It should be pointed out, however, that Brooke's poem, as the title clearly ...
  4. ^ Palacios, Julian (1998). Lost in the Woods: Syd Barrett and the Pink Floyd (1st ed.). London: Boxtree. p. 6. ISBN 0-7522-2328-3.
  5. ^ Weaver, Matthew (2 July 2021). "Cambridge college bans swimming at literary skinny-dipping spot". Guardian. Retrieved 4 July 2021. A college has banned swimming in a stretch of the River Cam that has been popular for bathers for centuries and where the writers Virginia Woolf and Rupert Brooke went skinny-dipping. King’s College Cambridge, which owns Grantchester Meadows, a riverside beauty spot south of Cambridge, erected a noticeboard on Thursday that also bans camping and launching boats from the banks. By Friday lunchtime, within a day of it launching, a petition against the ban on access to the water had been signed by more than 8,000 people.
  6. ^ Ferguson, Donna (11 July 2021). "Troubled waters: the Cambridge river dividing town and gown". Observer. Retrieved 16 July 2021.
  7. ^ a b Somerville, Ewan (2 July 2021). "Cambridge college plunged into row with locals over River Cam wild swimming ban". Telegraph. Retrieved 4 July 2021.

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Coordinates: 52°11′23.76″N 0°6′13.63″E / 52.1899333°N 0.1037861°E / 52.1899333; 0.1037861