Waterbeach is a large fen
A fen is a type of wetland fed by mineral-rich surface water or groundwater. Fens are characterised by their water chemistry, which is neutral or alkaline, with relatively high dissolved mineral levels but few other plant nutrients...

-edge village
A village is a clustered human settlement or community, larger than a hamlet with the population ranging from a few hundred to a few thousand , Though often located in rural areas, the term urban village is also applied to certain urban neighbourhoods, such as the West Village in Manhattan, New...

 located 6 miles north of Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

 in Cambridgeshire
Cambridgeshire is a county in England, bordering Lincolnshire to the north, Norfolk to the northeast, Suffolk to the east, Essex and Hertfordshire to the south, and Bedfordshire and Northamptonshire to the west...

 in England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, and belongs to the administrative district of South Cambridgeshire
South Cambridgeshire
South Cambridgeshire is a mostly rural local government district of Cambridgeshire, England. It was formed on 1 April 1974 by the merger of Chesterton Rural District and South Cambridgeshire Rural District. It surrounds the city of Cambridge, which is administered separately from the district by...

. The parish
A parish is a territorial unit historically under the pastoral care and clerical jurisdiction of one parish priest, who might be assisted in his pastoral duties by a curate or curates - also priests but not the parish priest - from a more or less central parish church with its associated organization...

 covers an area of 23.26 km².


Waterbeach is on the Car Dyke
Car Dyke
The Car Dyke was, and to large extent still is, an eighty-five mile long ditch which runs along the western edge of the Fens in eastern England. It is generally accepted as being of Roman age and, for many centuries, to have been taken as marking the western edge of the Fens...

, 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
Domesday Book
Domesday Book , now held at The National Archives, Kew, Richmond upon Thames in South West London, is the record of the great survey of much of England and parts of Wales completed in 1086...

 as Utbech.

In the 12th Century, the Knights Templar
Knights Templar
The Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and of the Temple of Solomon , commonly known as the Knights Templar, the Order of the Temple or simply as Templars, were among the most famous of the Western Christian military orders...

 were located at Denny Abbey
Denny Abbey
Denny Abbey is a former abbey near Waterbeach, six miles north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England which was inhabited by a succession of three different religious orders during its history serving as a monastery....

 located to the north of the village.

The parish contains two Scheduled Ancient Monument
Scheduled Ancient Monument
In the United Kingdom, a scheduled monument is a 'nationally important' archaeological site or historic building, given protection against unauthorized change. The various pieces of legislation used for legally protecting heritage assets from damage and destruction are grouped under the term...

s: Denny Abbey
Denny Abbey
Denny Abbey is a former abbey near Waterbeach, six miles north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England which was inhabited by a succession of three different religious orders during its history serving as a monastery....

 (now also housing the Farmland Museum) and the site of Waterbeach Abbey
Waterbeach Abbey
Waterbeach Abbey was an abbey at Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire, England. It was established in 1294....

 (near the present church).

Waterbeach RAF Station and Barracks

Royal Air Force
The Royal Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the British Armed Forces. Formed on 1 April 1918, it is the oldest independent air force in the world...

 Station Waterbeach and airfield (now called Waterbeach Barracks) were built in 1940 on the northern edge of the village as part of RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command
RAF Bomber Command controlled the RAF's bomber forces from 1936 to 1968. During World War II the command destroyed a significant proportion of Nazi Germany's industries and many German cities, and in the 1960s stood at the peak of its postwar military power with the V bombers and a supplemental...

. Vickers Wellington
Vickers Wellington
The Vickers Wellington was a British twin-engine, long range medium bomber designed in the mid-1930s at Brooklands in Weybridge, Surrey, by Vickers-Armstrongs' Chief Designer, R. K. Pierson. It was widely used as a night bomber in the early years of the Second World War, before being displaced as a...

s arrived in March 1941, followed by Short Stirling
Short Stirling
The Short Stirling was the first four-engined British heavy bomber of the Second World War. The Stirling was designed and built by Short Brothers to an Air Ministry specification from 1936, and entered service in 1941...

s and Avro Lancaster
Avro Lancaster
The Avro Lancaster is a British four-engined Second World War heavy bomber made initially by Avro for the Royal Air Force . It first saw active service in 1942, and together with the Handley Page Halifax it was one of the main heavy bombers of the RAF, the RCAF, and squadrons from other...


After World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 Liberators and Dakotas from Transport Command flew from RAF Waterbeach. Units posted there were Numbers 18, 24, 51, 53, 59, 62 and 77 Squadrons. Fighter Command took over the base on 1 March 1950 and used Meteors
Gloster Meteor
The Gloster Meteor was the first British jet fighter and the Allies' first operational jet. It first flew in 1943 and commenced operations on 27 July 1944 with 616 Squadron of the Royal Air Force...

, Swifts
Supermarine Swift
The Supermarine Swift was a British single-seat jet fighter of the Royal Air Force , built by Supermarine during the 1950s. After a protracted development period, the Swift entered service as an interceptor, but, due to a spate of accidents, its service life was short...

, Venoms
De Havilland Venom
The de Havilland DH 112 Venom was a British postwar single-engined jet aircraft developed from the de Havilland Vampire. It served with the Royal Air Force as a single-seat fighter-bomber and two-seat night fighter....

, Vampires
De Havilland Vampire
The de Havilland DH.100 Vampire was a British jet-engine fighter commissioned by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War. Following the Gloster Meteor, it was the second jet fighter to enter service with the RAF. Although it arrived too late to see combat during the war, the Vampire served...

 and Javelins
Gloster Javelin
The Gloster Javelin was an "all-weather" interceptor aircraft that served with Britain's Royal Air Force in the late 1950s and most of the 1960s...

. In addition Hawker Hunter
Hawker Hunter
The Hawker Hunter is a subsonic British jet aircraft developed in the 1950s. The single-seat Hunter entered service as a manoeuvrable fighter aircraft, and later operated in fighter-bomber and reconnaissance roles in numerous conflicts. Two-seat variants remained in use for training and secondary...

 fighters arrived in May 1955 and, two years later, the prototype English Electric P1 (Lightning) visited RAF Waterbeach. Three squadrons were there from that year; Numbers 56, 63 and 253. Later squadrons were Numbers 1, 25, 46, 54 and 64. The last RAF fixed-wing aircraft from Number 54 Squadron left in August 1963, and the site was then used by the RAF Construction Branch.

The original control tower and many RAF buildings, including several hangars, are still present.

The station and airfield remain property of the Ministry of Defence
Ministry of Defence (United Kingdom)
The Ministry of Defence is the United Kingdom government department responsible for implementation of government defence policy and is the headquarters of the British Armed Forces....

, but were transferred from the Royal Air Force to the Royal Engineers
Royal Engineers
The Corps of Royal Engineers, usually just called the Royal Engineers , and commonly known as the Sappers, is one of the corps of the British Army....

, part of the British Army
British Army
The British Army is the land warfare branch of Her Majesty's Armed Forces in the United Kingdom. It came into being with the unification of the Kingdom of England and Scotland into the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707. The new British Army incorporated Regiments that had already existed in England...

, in 1966. The barracks, airfield and surrounding quarters currently house 25 and 39 Engineer Regiments, the former having redeployed from Northern Ireland. The former airfield is now used as a training area for troops, with occasional visits by helicopters and, in the past, by Harriers
Harrier Jump Jet
The Harrier, informally referred to as the Jump Jet, is a family of British-designed military jet aircraft capable of vertical/short takeoff and landing operations...


In July 2011 the Ministry of Defence announced that Waterbeach Barracks will close. In November 2011 the Ministry of Defence announced that 39 Engineer Regiment would move to RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss
RAF Kinloss is a Royal Air Force station near Kinloss, on the Moray Firth in the north of Scotland. It opened on 1 April 1939 and served as an RAF training establishment during the Second World War. After the war it was handed over to Coastal Command to watch over Russian ships and submarines in...

 in the summer of 2012. HQ 12 (Air Support) Engineer Group will move from Waterbeach to RAF Wittering
RAF Wittering
RAF Wittering is a Royal Air Force station within the unitary authority area of Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Although Stamford in Lincolnshire is the nearest town, the runways of RAF Wittering cross the boundary between Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire....

 in the summer of 2013, enabling the closure of Waterbeach Barracks by December 2013.

In addition, 25 Engineer Regiment will be disbanded by no later than 31 May 2012. Two of its squadrons (34 Field Squadron and 53 Field Squadron) will become part of 39 Engineer Regiment and move to RAF Kinloss. A total of
930 Service personnel will move to Kinloss, and 44 Service personnel to Wittering.


Waterbeach is a thriving village with a population of approx. 5000, situated six miles north of Cambridge. It has 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. Waterbeach has a doctor's surgery, three village shops (The spar, One-Stop and Rosemary Newsagents & shop), a Post Office
Post office
A post office is a facility forming part of a postal system for the posting, receipt, sorting, handling, transmission or delivery of mail.Post offices offer mail-related services such as post office boxes, postage and packaging supplies...

, a butcher, a bakery, two hairdressers and a barber's shop, a pharmacy, a primary school, a Parish church
Parish church
A parish church , in Christianity, is the church which acts as the religious centre of a parish, the basic administrative unit of episcopal churches....

 dedicated to St John the Evangelist, a Baptist church famous for its connection with Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a corps of the Salvation Army
Salvation Army
The Salvation Army is a Protestant Christian church known for its thrift stores and charity work. It is an international movement that currently works in over a hundred countries....

, a small independent library
In a traditional sense, a library is a large collection of books, and can refer to the place in which the collection is housed. Today, the term can refer to any collection, including digital sources, resources, and services...

 (Waterbeach Independent Lending Library), three public house
Public house
A public house, informally known as a pub, is a drinking establishment fundamental to the culture of Britain, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. There are approximately 53,500 public houses in the United Kingdom. This number has been declining every year, so that nearly half of the smaller...

s (The Sun, The White Horse and The Brewery Tap), a social club, an Indian restaurant (Bollywood), a Chinese takeaway
Chinese Takeaway
"Chinese Takeaway" is a song by The Adicts taken from their second album Sound of Music.-The Adicts:* Keith 'Monkey' Warren - Vocals* Mel Ellis - Bass* Pete Dee Davison - Guitar * Michael 'Kid' Dee Davison - Drums...

 (Chung Hwa), a fish and chip shop (The Beach Fryer), also between Tuesday to Saturday a kebab van
Kebab van
A kebab van is a van selling kebabs, usually döner kebabs, on the street, normally in cities and towns for the passing trade. They are often open in the evening and late at night after other places to eat have closed....

 resides on the green. 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 railway station
Waterbeach railway station
Waterbeach is a railway station serving the large village of Waterbeach in Cambridgeshire, England. The station lies on Fen Line from Cambridge to King's Lynn, electrified at 25 kV AC overhead...

 lies on the London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

 (Kings Cross) to King's Lynn
King's Lynn
King's Lynn is a sea port and market town in the ceremonial county of Norfolk in the East of England. It is situated north of London and west of Norwich. The population of the town is 42,800....

 line, permitting its residents to commute
Commuting is regular travel between one's place of residence and place of work or full time study. It sometimes refers to any regular or often repeated traveling between locations when not work related.- History :...

 to London for work. 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
Wisbech is a market town, inland port and civil parish with a population of 20,200 in the Fens of Cambridgeshire. The tidal River Nene runs through the centre of the town and is spanned by two bridges...

 and Littleport and the small city of Ely
Ely, Cambridgeshire
Ely is a cathedral city in Cambridgeshire, England, 14 miles north-northeast of Cambridge and about by road from London. It is built on a Lower Greensand island, which at a maximum elevation of is the highest land in the Fens...


Waterbeach Community Primary School is a mixed primary school, with an average annual number of 350 pupils from 4 – 11 years. The most recent Ofsted report (in October 2007) graded the school as 'outstanding'. The school is used for many local activities including amateur dramatics, band rehearsals and concerts and keep fit classes. There is a thriving Parent Teacher Association. The school swimming pool was built in 1960 by local people; an update and refurbishment of the pool was completed in 2010. Waterbeach Community Primary School is situated on the High Street.

There are active Scout and Girl Guiding groups in Waterbeach, meeting at the Scout Hut on the School grounds.

Located in the grounds of the school is 'The Playhouse' which houses the Waterbeach After School Playscheme (WASPS) and the Waterbeach Community Playgroup.
There are three playgroups in the village; Waterbeach Community Playgroup,Waterbeach Toddler Playgroup and the Buchanan Children's Centre.

Within the Army Barracks there is a golf course, fishing lake and open-air swimming pool (seasonal), all of which may be used by local residents.

The county headquarters of the Army Cadet Force is on the edge of the village, in Denny End Road. There is also a detachment which meets one evening a week in Waterbeach Barracks.

Waterbeach Community Association works to promote togetherness in the villages of Waterbeach, Landbeach and Chittering, and organise various social events throughout the year. These include the Waterbeach Feast, an annual party for local senior citizens, a Christmas Carol service on Waterbeach Green on Christmas Eve, and charity fundraising, as well as the village magazine “Beach News”, which is produced and distributed entirely by volunteers and is delivered free to over 2,500 local homes four times a year.

Nearby villages

  • Chittering
    Chittering, Cambridgeshire
    Chittering is a hamlet about 8 miles north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire, England. For administrative purposes it is part of the parish of Waterbeach.The village lies on the Ely Road between Waterbeach and Stretham...

  • Cottenham
    Cottenham is a village in Cambridgeshire, England. It is close to The Fens. Before the fens were drained in the 19th century Cottenham was on the last contour before the waterlogged marshes, with Ely being the nearest dry land around to the north-east....

  • Horningsea
    Horningsea is a small village north of Cambridge in Cambridgeshire in England. The parish covers an area of 6.63 km. It lies on the east bank of the River Cam, and on the road from Cambridge to Clayhithe...

  • Landbeach
    Landbeach is a small fen-edge English village about five miles north of Cambridge. The parish covers an area of .-History:The fen edge north of Cambridge was well populated in Roman times, and the village's situation on a Roman road will have helped its growth...

  • Milton
    Milton, Cambridgeshire
    Milton is a village just north of Cambridge, England. It has a population of approximately 4,300 with 3,200 being on the electoral register. It expanded considerably in the late 1980s when two large housing estates were built between the bypass and the village resulting in a doubling of the...

  • Mereham
    Mereham is a potential new town near Ely in East Cambridgeshire. The developers, Multiplex Stannifer, have applied for planning permission but, as of yet, has not received it...

     is a planned nearby new town
    New town
    A new town is a specific type of a planned community, or planned city, that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are uncommon in new...

External links

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