Potton 20 May 2012

A group of 22 of us went on this Sunday afternoon 2 mile walk round Potton. George Howe, chairman of the Local History Society was on hand to take us round. He proved to be an enthusiastic and entertaining guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of Potton, its history, buildings and residents.

We learnt that the local greensand stone was not durable enough to build complete structures but he was able to point out where it had been used in attractive herring bone arrangements for whole end walls supported by more long-lasting stone. George also explained that until after the war areas close to the village, now infilled with modern housing, were occupied by either thatched hovels or market gardens, particularly crops of runner beans. In its day Potton was an important and well-to-do market town and there is good evidence of this around the attractive market square where many of the original shop fronts and signage are preserved and where the street pattern is typical of a market town. Slightly away from the centre is the attractively positioned church on its own leafy knoll and between the two, community fields, recreation areas and an ancient man-made water course, almost certainly used to power an old mill.


Especially as the afternoon was so cold the huge attraction of the afternoon was tea and cake laid on by George’s wife. Not only that, this was to be at the old station once a stop on the varsity line between Cambridge and Oxford. It has been George’s home since the early 60s when the station was closed but the line was still open. Consequently, drying of nappies had to be timed between the passage of the steam trains to avoid smuts. 

 Village walkers, Potton Station, having eaten all the cakes

Potton station , old track bed and platforms in the background. 

Potton Station tea and cakes