Cambridgeshire Tripoints

Cambs-Lincs-Norfolk (TF466178)

Cambs-Norfolk-Suffolk (TL652848)

Cambs-Suffolk-Essex (TL649435)

Cambs-Essex-Herts (TL420361)

Cambs-Herts-Bedfords (TL263440)

Cambs-Bedfords-Northants (TL046705)

Cambs-Northants-Rutland-Lincs (TF019057)

Cambs-Bedfords-Hunts (TL220527)

One quadpoint or two tripoints?


Well, it was a hot day, and if we hadn't been visiting plenty of countryside we'd have probably been watching tv all day.

Among the (post-1974) English counties, Cambridgeshire has borders with eight counties, more than any other. This means there are eight points where three counties meet — known as tripoints. In fact, because Rutland, Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire and Northamptonshire meet at a single point (the only quadpoint in England — or is it?) there are only seven points to visit.

But then, what constitutes a county is not actually that simple. Traditionally, modern Cambridgeshire was split into two halves — Cambridgeshire and Huntingdonshire. Between 1890 and 1965 it had been rent into Cambridgeshire, Huntingdonshire, the Isle of Ely, and the Soke of Peterborough. In 1965, they then merged to form two entities, whose borders were then changed slightly in the changes of 1974. Things were stable again until 1995 when the creation of Unitary Authorities made things more complicated; the region around Peterborough broke off to become the Unitary Authority of Peterborough.

So in addition to the seven tripoints in the diagram above, even ignoring the 1888 changes, I could add the two current tripoints of Cambs-Peterborough-Lincs and Cambs-Northants-Peterborough, and the two 'traditional' ones, Cambs-Beds-Huntingdonshire and Cambs-Huntingdonshire-Northants.

In any case, most of the tripoints haven't changed since boundaries were first fixed, so the seven on the map above are as good as you can pick, and so on a sunny Saturday we decided to see what was there, stopping at the Cambs-Beds-Huntingdonshire too as it was on the way. Select the links above for more info on each.

In the end we visited all the points over the course of a couple of Saturdays, so we could stop for a leisurely look around Stamford, but anyone keen could do all the points in a day.

Taking things too far

Unlike the arbitrary, if intriguing, sport of visiting confluences, at least with tripoints there is pretty much always something physical there, as there had to be a reason the border was put there.

Other people have taken things various stages further, such as this page of pictures of most of the European tripoints, and the astonishing Jack Parsell who has visited all of the tripoints of US states.