A Quick Guide
Great Paxton is a village of just over 1,000 people by the river Great Ouse in rural Cambridgeshire, England.
The village of Great Paxton dates from before 1020, this date is know as it was when work began on the church, it is likely that there was a settlement here prior to that though there are no records. It appears in the Doomsday Book as "Pachstone". It is 59 miles north of London and well connected by the nearby A1 and A14 roads, St. Neots mainline railway station is 3 miles away.
You will arrive in Great Paxton along the High Street which is the most varied in terms of buildings, it is part of the main road road between St. Neots and Godmanchester / Huntingdon dating back probably to the origin of the village. Most of the buildings along here are under 100 years old though a small number are 100-300 years old. There is no existing "Manor House" or similar in the village if there ever was one. There are further older buildings of varied ages and styles along London Lane and Church Lane both of which are also as old as the village.
The greater part of Great Paxton is a 1980's estate to the east of the High Street, this was added to in the 1990's with another smaller estate of houses along with a new school which moved from the original High Street site and is now a private residence.
Even today the village lies in almost exactly the same shape and location that it always has for over 1,000 years, a triangle of the High Street, London Lane and Adams Lane with spurs down to the church and river. The difference being that what was once farmland and grazing in the heart of the village triangle is now housing.
Distance and estimated drive time to the centre.
St. Neots - 3.2 miles / 8 mins Huntingdon - 6.3 miles / 14 mins, Cambridge - 19.4 miles / 31 mins, Peterborough - 27.8 miles / 35 mins, Bedford - 18.1 miles / 24 mins
Great Paxton Primary School - In the village, reception to year 6, currently each year can take up to 17 pupils. Applications by mid January for admission the same September.
Longsands Academy - 3.2 miles away in St. Neots, 11-18, school bus during term.
The main East-Coast line passes to the west of the village. There is a mainline station at St. Neots, just under three miles and a five minute drive away, there is no regular bus service that provides easy access to the railway station. The trains are audible, especially from the back gardens of the High Street (where I live) though you soon "tune them out" and don't notice them after a short while.
Great Paxton is poorly served by bus services. There is a single bus each way on weekdays to St. Neots and Buckden though other arrangements would have to be made for the return. A daily bus takes pupils to and from Longsands School in St. Neots during term time and another similarly serves Cambridge Regional College in Huntingdon. A community transport service, HACT provides a bookable service to nearby destinations each weekday on a rota.
Great Paxton has one pub, The Bell situated towards the southern end of the High Street at no.50. It is a free house and sells the usual array of pub drinks, there is a restaurant room attached which functions as a restaurant for several days a week or for further seating and as a group meeting room at other times, there is also a beer garden for the warmer months. Beyond doing the things that all pubs with food do, it is very much the heart of the community with many different groups and societies using it as a meeting place during the day and in the evening when hot or cold drinks and/or food can be supplied by arrangement.
Great Paxton has a village shop next to the pub at 48a the High Street, sharing the same car park, it is a community shop run largely by volunteers. A variety of mainly groceries are sold including fresh bread, milk, vegetables and meat. It is open 7 days a week.
- the other shop
At the bottom of Paxton hill at the edge of the village is Ibbetts, a large agricultural supplier of machinery and all manner of hardware. It's the place to go to buy a dog chew, new wellies, axe handle, ride-on-mower or to get your tractor serviced amongst endless other things.
The nearest to Great Paxton is Buckden and Little Paxton Surgeries which have a good reputation and are used by many (probably a majority) of villagers. The Little Paxton surgery is about 7 mins drive and Buckden about 10 mins drive from Great Paxton. Others are available in St. Neots and elsewhere, find a GP.
Great Paxton is near the river Great Ouse which can be accessed at the south end of the village along River Lane and beneath the railway bridge. The village however is not on the river as it was built above the line of the edge of the flood plain. The river commonly breaks its banks in the winter months flooding the adjacent fields at which point the flood plain acts exactly as it should in taking up the extra water and releasing it slowly to prevent problems further downstream while the village stays dry.