Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Cycle Tour of Farming in the Fens

A quick nip around the Fens today (White Fen and Wicken Fen being the two Fens in question. Spring is continuing to spring - which is great and even though I cycle around this route quite frequently - perhaps two or three times a week with variations to explore - there is always some thing new to look at (and photograph).

For one thing crops are growing in the fields - and at this stage they highlight the precision that modern farming has embraced. I am not sure what is growing in this field alongside Headlake Drove - but you can see how it has been planted (drilled) to facilitate access although I am not sure what happens if at the end since they have planted more plants at 90 degrees to the main runs.


It does not seem long since we were having quite a bit of rain - and now they are irrigating the fields - although it might just be to loosen up the leeks in the field to make them easier to pull without damage. Although the agriculture around here is mainly arable I do see quite a few sheep on the Upware Road. The black sheep of the family managed to get into shot here.


Although the leek locusts have been busy on this field - there is still a bit to go. I guess we are so finickity now when we shop at supermarkets that even leeks needs to be hand-harvested. It does seem to be quite labour intensive.


There are still fields that need ploughing though - this one is so fine and smooth I wonder if it will be used for growing turf? You can see how dry it has become with the dust kicked up by the plough.


The temperature was quite good, there were quite a few clouds in the sky though so the sun kept appearing. Yet another shot of the footbridge over the Burwell Lode, taken from near to Cockup bridge or High Bridge, depending whether you read the map or the sign attached to the Bridge controls. As part of the Lode way a new bridge will be built here.


It seems that Farm Buildings have a hard life - at least it looks as if they do. This is part of Priory Farm - I guess with such tight margins there is not a lot of spare money for repairs and renovations. The wall on the left of the building looks as if it is on its way to falling to the fall.


Sometimes instead of following Lodes Way (as it is now called) along past Slades Farm I cycle along Rail Drove and along farm tracks, only a slight detour but I get to see what is happening in the fields from a different perspective. The track has been flattened and the drainage ditches have been re-shaped and cleared. despite all the work going ion in the fields the "farmer" has also found time to sort out the ditches.


Just after crossing the new cycle/walker/horse-rider bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode I noticed how the new leaves appearing on a tree on the bank look as if a painter has been very lightly washing green colour over the branches.


It is funny how you tend to notice new things, but not the absence of something. I took a picture of quite a large load of rubbish that had been dumped here a few days ago - it has been removed already. I must say I am impressed with the Council's efficiency (not sure which one - East Cambs perhaps). I am not sure when it was removed - I have only just noticed the absence!


White Fen Drove, looking towards Cambridge (although you'd have to cross some Lodes and fields if you wanted to take the route a crow would fly.


I am certainly getting to like the nice weather although I seem to do more meandering along dead ends and farm tracks and it feels as if I am taking my time my average speed is also picking up for the overall cycle rides compared with the Winter rides.

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