Walking with Barney – In the footsteps of Giants
When I first encountered the name Gog Magog, as in the splendid farm shop (pictured) that goes by that name, I thought it must be somewhere in Wales. The Gog Magog Hills are actually a range of low chalk hills, extending for several miles to the southeast of Cambridge
The earliest mention of the name Gog Magog appears in a decree of 1574. Excavations around the hills have revealed the remains of Iron Age defences at Copley Hill and Cherry Hinton, but these sites are also known to have been occupied in the Bronze Age.
In English folklore Gog Magog was a giant. According to the 12th-century Historia Regum Britanniae, Gog Magog was the last giant killed by Brutus of Troy and his men, who threw him from a cliff.
In 1989 the Magog Trust, a charity created for the purpose, bought 163.5 acres of former farmland surrounding Little Trees Hill, so that it could be returned to chalk grassland and opened to the public.
Gog Magog Downs offers a large carpark with picnic areas. Dog walkers are directed to a rough pathway around a large rectangular circuit with two options for those wanting a shorter walk. At various points the hedgerows open to provide views across the Cambridgeshire countryside.
We tackled the full circuit – approx. 3.5 miles, on a hot, dry August afternoon accompanied by Barney’s friend Harry, a French Bulldog / Staffie cross and his family. As you can see, Harry is also a very accomplished driver and on completion of the walk, we were invited to enjoy some welcome refreshment, served from his camper van.