The River Cam


The River Cam is essential to the long history of the settlement of Cambridge, with it drawing people to use it for food and transportation and as a military boundary in Anglo Saxon, Roman, and Viking times which we know about from archaeological evidence.  What is important about the River Cam is that it leads all the way out to the sea at King's Lynn, so traders aswell as invaders, could bring in materials, and Cambridge developed as an important place for marketing livestock and grain and fish.  

The River Camb can be studied as part of the KS2 curriculum for Rivers in geography and is a helpful local case study looking at change over time.  We've developed resources for children and also lesson plans for teachers. Do please download the pdf or full powerpoint presentation illustrating this subject which you will find  useful to use for a class:


During Roman times, the River Cam was fully navigable from the Wash as far as Cambridge and was the northernmost point where transport from East Anglia to the Midlands was practicable. Therefore, Magdalene Bridge marks the site of an important Roman era river crossing. It used to be known as “Great Bridge”. All routes, both local and long- distance, had to converge on this crossing point, giving it strategic importance. From 1118 to 1845, when the opening of the railway to London dealt the river trade its death-blow, the River Cam was the essential travel and trading route by which Cambridge was fed and built with boats bringing fish and grain, meat and salt, coal and reeds, timber and stone. 

The River Cam


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