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Coton is lies to the west of Cambridge less than a mile from the edge of the built up area. The village is just beyond the M11 and away from the main road network, although the A1303 passes just to the north of the village. The parish covers 392 hectares (970 acres). The central and west side of the village is a ‘cul-de-sac’ with no major through route. Along with the limited size of the village, this is considered key to promoting village culture and a healthy sense of community.
History and settlement
Coton parish boundaries follow the former open fields of Cambridge and Barton, and the Cambridge-St Neots road to the north. Several ancient ways cross the parish. The Bin Brook runs from east to west of the parish and south of the village settlement. The parish was originally dependent on Grantchester. Village remains and the former manor site of Coton D’Engaine lie to the south and east of the parish church. The main farms were held by Cambridge Colleges until this century; Catherine Hall Farm is now owned by Cambridge Preservation Society. Coton Countryside Reserve now covers a large portion of land to the south of the village.
The parish church by the former village pond and small green, dates from the twelfth century and was restored in 1863-80. Most of the farmhouses, cottage rows and farm buildings date from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and are built of brick. Nos. 44 and 46 is the exception; this mid sixteenth century timber-framed building has an original two storey porch. Catherine Hall farmhouse dating from the seventeenth century has a nineteenth century model farmyard which dominates the High Street.
The open fields were enclosed in 1803 and, apart from meadowland beside the brook, the land is farmed as arable.
Recent planning history
Development has taken place along Cambridge Road and in a narrow ribbon along The Footpath which leads to Cambridge. Significant private housing estate development took place in the 1960’s and early 1970’s to the west of the village south of Whitwell Way. More recent development includes the residential conversion of Catherine Hall Farm which lies within the Conservation Area and on the edge of the Cambridge Green Belt.
The population grew from 520 in 1951 to 740 in 1971. By 2001 it had decreased to 773.
Services and facilities
There is a post office, garden centre, fresh produce and general store located at Polhill Garden Centre on Cambridge Road. The village also has a gastro pub (The Plough), the parish church, a village hall, a recreation ground and a primary school with five classes. An area of allotments are located to the north of the properties along the Footpath. The village is a vibrant community and many clubs and societies are well attended. See paper copies of the Coton Community News for further information.