Two new benches have been installed at Spring Common, Huntingdon as part of an improvement programme at the site, funded by the Central England Co-operative.

The benches have been installed by Huntingdonshire District Council’s Countryside Services near the spring head on Spring Common. They will provide a place where people can sit peacefully and enjoy watching the wildlife around the spring head and pond.

The spring head has been an important feature of the site for many hundreds of years. In the 14th century, water was piped from the spring to the Friary, now the site of the Cromwell Clinic. The spring was described centuries later in 1765 by William Cowper as "a fountain of very fine water". A bath house was constructed later in the 19th century so people could enjoy the water’s medicinal qualities.

In the 1900s there was a cast iron front in the shape of a lion’s head where the water came out of the pipe, and a cup hanging next to it on a chain for people to drink from. People collected the spring water in bottles to drink and to wash their hair because it was said to be much cleaner and softer than tap water. They also picked watercress for their cooking. Today watercress still grows in the stream flowing from the spring. 

New benches installed at Spring Common, Huntingdon

Kirsty Drew, Countryside Development Officer at the District Council, said: "Spring Common has always been used a lot by the community, particularly by people accessing the school and recreation centre. It is brilliant that Central England Co-operative have been able to fund some improvements there through their Community Dividend Fund, and these benches will provide somewhere for visitors to sit and enjoy the site too."

Kym Hunt, Member and Community Relations Officer at Central England Co-operative, said: "As a co-operative, we welcome the opportunity to make a real difference to the lives and education of the people who live in the communities around our Food Stores and Funeral Homes. I am proud the Eastern Membership and Community Council were able to support this project and we look forward to seeing the benefit for recipients."