The Hereward Way is a long-distance public right-of-way that runs through Oakham, Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely and Brandon. It also links two other footpaths: Peddars Way in the east and the Viking Way in the west.
The path is named after Hereward the Wake (the watchful) a Lincolnshire landowner, who led an anti-Norman revolt from a base at the Abbey of Ely; holding out against William the Conqueror. Under his command a Danish and Anglo-Saxon force sacked Peterborough monastery.
The Normans besieged Ely in retaliation, which was an island in the Fenland marshes at this time, and three times Hereward foiled William's plans to build a causeway across the water. Eventually the monks grew tired of the siege, and let the Normans in by a secret way. Hereward escaped with a small band, and hid deeper into the marches. He was finally betrayed by a chaplain, and 16 Normans found his hiding place and attacked him. Nevertheless, Hereward slew them all, and only succumbed when four more soldiers arrived and stabbed him in the back.
Today he is looked upon as a Robin Hood style hero and symbol or resistance to Norman rule.
Stamford, Peterborough, March, Ely, Thetford Forest, Brandon