Cambridgeshire, Essex & Suffolk
Updated: Aug 20, 2021
Location: Great Chishill, Cambridgeshire / Chrishall Common, Essex / Great Wood Hill, Suffolk
Nearest town: Royston / Saffron Waldon / Bury St. Edmunds
Peaks: 146 / 147 / 128 metres above sea level
Ranks: Cambridgeshire - 45/48 ; Essex - 44/48 ; Suffolk - 46/48
Difficulty: ★ all round
Date climbed: 28 May 2021
For the first time since our county topping obsession began, we planned a holiday with the specific intention of ticking off a few high points along the way. And for the second time, this allowed us to 'climb' multiple high points within a single day (the first being Greater London and Kent's shared high point of Betsom's Hill).
We took a wiggly cross-country route that crossed or skirted the edge of nine(!) separate counties from our new home in Staines, Surrey, to our destination for the late-May bank holiday, Lowestoft on the Suffolk coast.
In order, they were: Surrey, Berkshire, Buckinghamshire, Hertfordshire, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Suffolk and Norfolk - none of which we had yet climbed to the high points of.
But there was a reason for this long-winded route to the most easterly town in the UK, and that was to tick off not one, not two, but a record three high points in one day: Cambridgeshire, Essex and Suffolk.
Our first stop was Great Chishill in Cambridgeshire. Prior to setting off on a walk across bright yellow rapeseed fields to the adjacent high points of Cambridgeshire and Essex, we stopped at Great Chishill's windmill. Built in 1819, this once dilapidated site has, in recent years, come under the care of a local heritage trust who have restored it to its full grandeur - it was actually being washed the day we visited.
East Anglia is notoriously flat - in some parts of Norfolk, the ground is below sea level - so naturally, none of these 'high' points were very high at all. In fact, our walk to and from the high points of Cambridgeshire and Essex was more or less a flat meander around a farm. Nonetheless, there was nowhere higher for miles in all directions, meaning we had lovely views across the rolling countryside around us.
We then jumped back in the car and headed another hour or so northeast to the 'high' point of Suffolk, which was somehow even lower than Cambridgeshire and Essex! Despite parking on the remotest of country lanes, we were far from alone at this high point, as two horses quickly came over to greet us (and demand being hand-fed grass).
From there it was just a 15 minute drive into Bury St. Edmunds - a jewel in Suffolk's crown, as the town's welcome sign proudly proclaims. And we would agree, and recommend that everyone pays a visit to the Abbey gardens at least once in their lifetime.
County high points summited: 15.