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Orchard Park - the Arbury Camp Earthwork and The Cleverness of Planners...

Wonderful to mix, merge and match old maps of the historic Arbury area with modern aerial views. The planners at Orchard Park (originally Arbury Park) were rather ingenious to include the outline of the earthwork of the iron age Arbury Camp in their plans - this is called 'Ring Fort Road'. 

Arbury was believed by archaeologists to have been an undefended site, an iron age settlement within a circular ditch in which people lived, for many years. The ditch was believed to have been for keeping the animals belonging to the settlers safe from wolves and robbers.

But other, more recent, excavations on the site indicate otherwise - that Arbury was a defended site. We'll take a delve into all this soon.

The earthwork outline looks great from above - a real indication that people have lived in the area for over two thousand years, and of the origin of the Arbury name.

A broader view of the district, with some historic and modern inserts.

The Arbury/Harborough Meadows, north of Arbury Road. Harborough was a variation on the Arbury name and the two were interchangeable.

A 1900 map of the whole Arbury district. The Manor Farm was formed in the years following the 1840 Chesterton Enclosures, and gave the original Arbury senior school (now North Cambridge Academy) its name. Note the original location of King's Hedges - a fifty eight acre plot, named by local landowners and first appearing in print in the late 1500s as 'Kinges Headge'. The name is most probably derived from a hedged hunting warren in the days of the Royal Manor of Chesterton. The king would watch his tenants chase deer, etc, into the warren, and trap and kill them for sport - the hedges of the warren were known as the 'King's hedges' or 'King's hedge'. The 'Arbury' name is derived from the old English for earthwork - the earthwork surrounding the iron age camp on the Orchard Park site, which was previously Arbury Camp Farm. King's Hedges Road was originally a farm track leading from Chesterton to the original King's Hedges, and a dead end. This was expanded and redirected across the former Arbury/Harborough Meadows in the late 1970s, and lopped off the original end of Arbury Road. 

Most of King's Hedges Road dates from the late 1970s. The current King's Hedges electoral Ward/district actually occupies the North Arbury Estate and the Harborough (an alternative name for Arbury) or Arbury Meadows, the Manor Farm and part of East Chesterton. There is no historical justification for naming anything 'King's Hedges' in the modern 'King's Hedges'/North Arbury district. Even King's Hedges School is not in King's Hedges.


  1. My Aunty lived at No 53 kings Hedges Road,I used to go and stay with her in the 1940s her house was the last one on the left, there was a Farm next door, we.used to go blackberry picking in the woods,across the railway lines just fields & Smallholdings, loads of Blackberries,abi different today.{ Barry Willis.}

    1. Thanks, Barry. Much appreciated.


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