It has been a while since I last cycled from Cambridge to Bury St Edmunds, there has been a route signed out to Newmarket for a while. According to the Sustrans website the signing gap between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds has now been completed. This week my mother has come to stay and so instead of cycling I am taking to various interesting places (by car) and then we walk around them. Yesterday we went to Bury St Edmunds only instead of taking the more obvious route along the A14 I drove along the Sustrans route, at least the bit between Newmarket and Bury St Edmunds. Yes I am sorry to my fellow cyclists - it is not what they are intended for - but it was the only way I could show my Mum one of the routes I cycle along - she has turned down my offer to take her on my Tandem.
The route follows some country lanes which are so quiet we hardly saw anything on them. We didn't see any cyclists of cars for much of the route - we did see one person walking - she looked very surprised to see us. I can certainly recommend the route if you are looking for some pleasant cycling through some slightly undulating countryside away from
danger too many motorists. In places the road has quite a few potholes - perhaps that is what keeps the cars away!
One of the villages on the way through is Moulton, near the border of Suffolk and Cambridgeshire the Sustrans route takes you past an old 15th century "packhorse" bridge next to a Ford. Mind you in the times I have cycled through the village I have never ever seen water over the ford. There is a ford at the other end of the village, near the church that has water flowing that you can (and I do) cycle through though. The other thing of note - for a Flatland cyclist is that you have to cycle down a hill into Moulton and up a hill out of Moulton (on the Sustrans 51 route that is). A quick look at the Ordnance Survey getamap site shows that the climb is only around 50m with the hill at 90m - still you have to remember that the bridges seem to be climbs to me I have lived in the area for so long.
Don't expect too many photographs though, when I am on my own I can (and do) stop whenever I want - I get teased if I take too many pictures when I am with people - and being thin-skinned it puts me off! I must cycle the route through to Ipswich on a spring day and take a few picture of the route though, after Bury St Edmunds there are some lovely off-road sections.
One of the nice things about Bury St Edmunds is that it still looks like a market town and you can enjoy walking around the ruins of the Abbey without having to walk around the shops if you don't want to. I am not a great fan of window shopping and fortunately neither is my mother. The parking was not free - but still seemed cheaper than I am used to parking in Cambridge!
After we parked it was a short stroll to the remains of the Abbey which is now a park where you can walk around the ruins. In the park there is a scale model and a kind gentlemen pointed out the various things to see to my mum. The is also a cathedral on the bounds of the park it was built in 1914, extended in the 60s and a Cathedral tower added and completed in 2005. I have not walked around the park for quite a few years and had not realised that a tower had been added. I have cycled through the town but just not noticed the tower being built - how observant is that!
The cathedral lies behind the ruins in this picture - with the new tower - although it fits in very well with the existing architecture. The Abbey was sacked by the towns people in 14th century so it is surprising to see anything left.
The ruins have been shored up against further dilapidation and there are various boards around describing what the buildings were for and what they might have looked like. You can also take an audio tour - there is a "shop" in the grounds where the "tapes" are available. (I might well be in MP3 format by now.) The new cathedral tower has made it into this picture as well.
We did pop into the town to walk through the market, we were spoilt for choice on one bread stall - in the end we chose a loaf with olive oil and rosemary as the flavouring ingredients. This traffic sign required special permission when it was installed and according to Wikipedia is called the "Pillar of salt". I think that it looks a little like a lighthouse and is the sort of thing that the I-spy books my brother and I were given when we where driving around as young children. The books contained things to look out for and if you saw them you got points for - it stopped us continually asking "are we there yet". A refrain you become familiar with when your own children reach a certain age!
I should also mention that the brewers Greene King have a large brewery in the town and yesterday there was a pleasant smell of beer brewing. The outskirts of the town also have a British Sugar factories - notable for their huge silos. I once took a picture of them for a presentation I made in my old company when trying to reduce the problem of silo management.
A postscript - a fellow cyclist has put me to shame by doing something about the atrocious cycle parking facilities at Cambridge Railway Station. "Commuter calls for more bike spaces at station". She has gone around taking pictures of places where they might add some additional spaces - well done.