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Coordinates: 52°15′59″N 0°11′27″E / 52.26642°N 0.19084°E / 52.26642; 0.19084
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Waterbeach village sign
Waterbeach is located in Cambridgeshire
Location within Cambridgeshire
Population5,166 (2011)[1]
OS grid referenceTL496654
Shire county
Sovereign stateUnited Kingdom
Postcode districtCB25
Dialling code01223
AmbulanceEast of England
UK Parliament
List of places
52°15′59″N 0°11′27″E / 52.26642°N 0.19084°E / 52.26642; 0.19084

Waterbeach is a village 6 miles (9.7 km) north of Cambridge on the edge of The Fens, in the South Cambridgeshire district of Cambridgeshire, England. It was designated a "new town" in 2018.


Early periods[edit]

Waterbeach is on the Car Dyke, a Roman waterway traceable as far as Lincoln.[2] Archaeological work in 2020 found a seemingly Roman settlement on the north side of the village.[3]

Waterbeach appears in the 1086 Domesday Book as Vtbech.[4][5] In the 12th century, the Knights Templar occupied Denny Abbey to the north of the village.[6] The Abbey structures and the area immediately surrounding it are protected as a scheduled monument. The core historic buildings of Denny Abbey are open to the public and managed by the Farmland Museum.[7] Waterbeach Abbey and a stretch of the Car Dyke, both on the southern side of the village, are also scheduled monuments.[8][9]

The attorney and parliamentarian John Yaxley acquired an estate at Waterbeach by 1610 and resided in the village. He and Edward Aungier of Cambridge bought the manors of Waterbeach and Causeway from the Crown for £900 in 1614.[10]

RAF and British Army[edit]

A former Royal Air Force station, RAF Waterbeach, lies to the north of the village. Six aircraft hangars were built in 1940 and a triangle of hard runways completed in 1941. It housed some 2,600 people in the final months of the Second World War.[11] Thereafter the station was run by RAF Transport Command and then by RAF Fighter Command until 1966, when it was transferred to the Royal Engineers and became Waterbeach Barracks, where the Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum opened in 1984. This was closed and the exhibits put into store in 2012, but in 2015 the museum returned and was officially reopened in 2017.[12] The barracks themselves closed on 28 March 2013,[13] after a move by all remaining units to RAF Kinloss in Scotland and to RAF Wittering in 2012–2013.[14] The Cambridgeshire Army Cadet Force remains based in a corner of the old base.[15] An industrial park now resides in the southwest corner of the airfield at the junction of the A10 and Denny End Road. It is known as 'Sterling House'.

21st century[edit]

St John's Church

The population of Waterbeach has risen significantly since 2001, from 4,476 to some 5,500 in 2019.[16] In 2018 it was designated a new town in the South Cambridgeshire Local Plan. The following year, permission came for the construction of 6,500 new dwellings. These are to be built on the site of the old barracks, and will more than double the population.[17] In 2012 the Cambridge Innovation Park opened.[18] The Innovation Park and adjacent Denny End Industrial Estate are major employment centres.[19] In 2012 Milton Brewery moved from nearby Milton to a site at Denny End.[20] Waterbeach Community Primary School was enlarged in 2020[21] to cater for some 400 pupils.[22]

The three places of worship are the Anglican Church of St John the Evangelist, a Baptist church famous for ties with Charles Haddon Spurgeon,[23] and a corps of the Salvation Army. Active community groups include Scouts and Girl Guides, the Army Cadet Force, playgroups and a play scheme, and a Community Association. To the south-east is a Woodland Trust nature area, Cow Hollow Wood, laid out in 2000 to mark the Millennium.[24]

The first planning permission for Waterbeach New Town was granted in 2019.[25]


Public art[edit]

In 1980, a village sign was made, as a memorial to the local doctor John Pritchard, who had been the village's GP for more than 20 years. The sign was designed by the artist Nan Youngman, who also lived in Waterbeach, and it was made by the blacksmith Richard Gowing's workshop in Soham, East Cambridgeshire.[26]


Waterbeach railway station, on the Fen Line between Cambridge and King's Lynn, had its platforms extended in 2020.[27] A proposal to move the station closer to the development at the Barracks was approved by the local planning committee in 2018.[28]

The village lies close to the London–King's Lynn A10 road. It has bus services linking it to Cambridge, Landbeach, Ely, Littleport and Stretham.[29]

Notable people[edit]

In birth order:

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Civil Parish population 2011". Neighbourhood Statistics. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 25 July 2016.
  2. ^ Simmons, B. B. (1979). "The Lincolnshire Car Dyke: Navigation or Drainage?". Britannia. 10: 183–196. doi:10.2307/526055. ISSN 0068-113X. JSTOR 526055.
  3. ^ Cooper, Clemency. "Oxford Archaeology - Latest news". oxfordarchaeology.com. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  4. ^ Darby, H. C.; Versey, G. R. (11 September 2008). Domesday Gazetteer. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-07858-0.
  5. ^ Mills, David (20 October 2011). A Dictionary of British Place-Names. OUP Oxford. ISBN 978-0-19-960908-6.
  6. ^ "Denny Abbey and the Farmland Museum". English Heritage. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  7. ^ "Landscape And Heritage Appraisal Of Denny Abbey And Its Setting" (PDF). South Cambs District Council.
  8. ^ "Waterbeach Abbey (site of), Waterbeach - 1006888 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  9. ^ "Car Dyke, Waterbeach - 1006930 | Historic England". historicengland.org.uk. Retrieved 2 May 2021.
  10. ^ History of Parliament Retrieved 9 July 2017.
  11. ^ "Waterbeach: Introduction | British History Online". www.british-history.ac.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  12. ^ "The Museum". www.waterbeachmilitarymuseum.org.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  13. ^ "First tranche of Army unit moves confirmed". Ministry of Defence. Retrieved 10 November 2011.
  14. ^ "First tranche of Army unit moves confirmed". GOV.UK. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  15. ^ "Cambs ACF". Cambridgeshire ACF. Retrieved 15 May 2022.
  16. ^ "Waterbeach (Cambridgeshire, East of England, United Kingdom) - Population Statistics, Charts, Map, Location, Weather and Web Information". www.citypopulation.de. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  17. ^ "About Waterbeach New Town". South Cambs District Council. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  18. ^ "Cambridge Innovation Parks - great.gov.uk international". www.great.gov.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  19. ^ "Waterbeach Neighbourhood Development Plan 2020 to 2031 Regulation submisison version" (PDF). South Cambridgeshire District Council.
  20. ^ "The Milton Brewery, Cambridge Ltd". www.miltonbrewery.co.uk. Retrieved 30 April 2021.
  21. ^ "Waterbeach Community Primary School - School Site". Waterbeach Community Primary School.
  22. ^ Ofsted Communications Team (16 January 2021). "Find an inspection report and registered childcare". reports.ofsted.gov.uk. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  23. ^ Waterbeach Baptist Church, History Archived June 17, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ "Cow Hollow Wood | Explore woods | The Woodland Trust". www.woodlandtrust.org.uk. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  25. ^ South Cambs DC https://www.scambs.gov.uk/planning/new-communities/waterbeach-new-town/about-waterbeach-new-town
  26. ^ "Sign is doctor's memorial". Cambridge Evening News. 14 June 1980. p. 7.
  27. ^ "Kings Lynn service enhancement programme". Network Rail. Retrieved 29 April 2021.
  28. ^ "Waterbeach on track for new railway station". South Cambs District Council. Retrieved 13 August 2019.
  29. ^ "Crystal Reports - FxStandardUKPublicTimeTables.rpt" (PDF). Stagecoach.
  30. ^ "Jugge, Judge, Richard (JG531R)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.



  • John F. Hamlin and Oliver J. Merrington (2011 and 2014), At the Beach: the story of Royal Air Force Waterbeach and Waterbeach Barracks, Peterborough: GMS Enterprises (available at Waterbeach Military Heritage Museum) ISBN 1-904514-63-4
  • William Keatinge Clay (1852), A History of the Parish of Waterbeach in the County of Cambridge, Cambridge: Deighton Bell (Cambridge Antiquarian Society, Octavo series, Vol. 4)
  • Robert Masters (1795), A Short Account of the Parish of Waterbeach: in the Diocese of Ely, London

External links[edit]