Waterbeach shown within Cambridgeshire
|OS grid reference|
|Sovereign state||United Kingdom|
|Ambulance||East of England|
|EU Parliament||East of England|
|UK Parliament||South East Cambridgeshire|
Waterbeach is a large fen-edge village located 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire in England, and forms part of the administrative district of South Cambridgeshire. The parish covers an area of 8.98 square miles (23.3 km2).
Waterbeach is on the Car Dyke, a Roman waterway whose course can be traced as far as Lincoln. Recent archaeological investigations have found extensive evidence of Roman settlement at the southern end of the village.
Waterbeach appears in the Domesday Book as Utbech. In the 12th Century, the Knights Templar were located at Denny Abbey located to the north of the village. The parish contains two Scheduled Ancient Monuments: Denny Abbey (which houses the Farmland Museum) and the site of Waterbeach Abbey (near the present church).
Former RAF Waterbeach and Army Barracks
A Royal Air Force station, RAF Waterbeach, was built on the northern edge of the village in 1940, operating under RAF Bomber Command. After the Second World War, the station was operated by RAF Transport Command and then RAF Fighter Command until 1966, when the site transferred to the Royal Engineers and became Waterbeach Barracks. The small Museum has now closed, though it has been saved and the collection put into storage, for a few years.
The barracks closed on 28 March 2013 following the move of all remaining Army units to RAF Kinloss in Scotland and to RAF Wittering during 2012-13. This will be developed into housing for between 6000 and 10000 new homes.
Waterbeach expanded considerably in recent years due to the economic growth in the region and has become increasingly a dormitory for Cambridge and, to some extent, London. The village has several shops, quality butchers, a café, three pubs, a brewery and a Chinese take away. There is a small industrial estate at the edge of the village and a number of small companies have premises in the village itself. Waterbeach Community Primary School is a school for approximately 300 pupils and is linked with the adjacent Waterbeach Independent Lending Library.
A Parish church dedicated to St John the Evangelist, and a Baptist church famous for its connection with Charles Haddon Spurgeon, and corps of the Salvation Army are present, as is a primary school. Active community groups include the Scouts and Girl Guides, Army Cadet Force, several playgroups and a play scheme, as well as a Community Association. The Denny End industrial estate is home to several businesses, such as the Milton Brewery and A&R Cambridge Ltd.
Waterbeach railway station lies on the Fen Line. The village lies close to the busy A10 road that also links London to King's Lynn. A regular bus service also operates through the village that links Cambridge to the towns of March, Wisbech and Littleport and the small city of Ely. There has been talk of the railway station moving closer to the development at the Barracks when it is developed.
- "Museum's collection is saved". Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "Waterbeach Barracks closes to make way for housing". Retrieved 29 March 2013.
- "First tranche of Army unit moves confirmed". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
- Waterbeach Baptist Church, History[dead link]
- Oliver Merrington. "Waterbeach". Retrieved 20 July 2012.
- Hamlin, John F. & Oliver J. Merrington (2011, updated 2014) At the 'Beach: the story of Royal Air Force Waterbeach and Waterbeach Barracks. Peterborough: GMS Enterprises (available from Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum) ISBN 1-904514-63-4
- Clay, William Keatinge (1852) A history of the parish of Waterbeach in the county of Cambridge. Cambridge: Deighton Bell. (Cambridge Antiquarian Society. Octavo series ; Vol.4).
- Masters, Robert (1795) A short account of the parish of Waterbeach: in the diocese of Ely. London: publisher unknown.
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