Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Road Works on the Horningsea to Fen Ditton path and on the Lodes Way route

I am still in California, San Jose to be exact. After a day's sight-seeing yesterday with a bit of exercise thrown in to day is a work day. This is not a Bank Holiday (as we call them in the UK) and so, as I have done for several years, this is a work day for me.  I am not complaining - I have a flexible work/life lifestyle and I do seem to have avoided some bad weather over the Holiday Weekend in the UK. Here in California the weather is glorious, almost too hot for walking yesterday. 

I am working through the backlog of draft Posts that I created before flying to the US though.  I am also have a minor IT battle with my laptop - some email problems, but I have a fallback and am downloading the email data from the Corporate Server.  Did I also mention that on Friday, the day before I flew to the US my Land Rover Discovery broke down - the suspension system failed and switched to "no suspension mode" with a maximum speed recommendation of 30mph, I found 10mph rather fast though.  This makes around the 4th or 5th time that I have had quality problems with the car. There was even a safety recall associated with the brakes, although it is quite hard to search for a definitive list of Land Rover Discovery Issues. Perhaps I need to look harder.

Back to the past - the actual cycle ride this post is about.  With all the fine weather I have been cycling where the mood takes me - quite often a short ride, but over byways and tracks in preference to noisy "dangerous" roads. There are some nice routes around Quy/Lode and Horningsea - that I have mentioned before.   On the Sustrans 51 route between Cambridge and Quy you can turn off onto High Ditch Road and then onto a byway called Low Fen Drove Way past Honey Hill.  This loops round onto the Horningsea Road.  Low Fen Drove Way passes over the A14 on a big bridge - from where you can see the Oilseed Rape in what seem like full flower. Here is a "normal" (non HDR picture) view - consisting of two actual photographs stitched together by Photoshop Elements 8.  

Honey Hill Panorama.JPG

Once I reached the Horningsea Road it was great to see that the Fen Ditton/Horningsea share path/cycleway seems to be making great progress. For a cycle path it is not really that wide.  I think that the total width is 2.5m  and am not sure whether they will segregate the cycle and walking sides. (This is done by painting a white line down the middle, it gets ignored by all and sundry it seems to me.) However in the general scheme if things I would use it out of school rush hour and it is wider than some paths (Sustrans 51 between Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck springs to mind.) As you can see in this picture chunks of the path have been defined and this bit is just waiting for tarmac.


Not all the path is quite ready for the final surface to be laid yet - but good to see that this is being undertaken in dribs and drabs.


I stuck to the byways when cycling from Horningsea to Lode - but on the way through did pop up a track to look over Stow cum Quy Fen. Which I have taken a picture of below.  In the past I have seen bunches of dogs being walked as part of a dog-walking service - non today though. There were no cows in the field either.  


The last time I was here the gate was a wooden gate, it has been upgraded  in the meantime - the signpost is still the same though. The old gate was in reasonable condition - this one provides better access though.


The track up to the gate towards Quy cum Stow Fen - right down at the bottom is the Harcamlow Way which is the actual track from Horningsea through to Lode.  The photograph makes it look like it is fairly flat - in fact you have to keep your wits about you as there are some pretty big dips on the track.   It is even worse when it gets wet and muddy. The new leaves look fresh.


On the way through past White Fen at Lode I took this picture because of the dandelions and white dead nettles growing on the bank of Swaffham Bulbeck Lode - another sign of Spring - the profusion of different flowers (or weeds when they are in the garden).


I also cycled a little way down the banks of Swaffham Bulbeck Lode to take a picture of the first bridge to be built as part of the Lodes Way route - the bridge over the Lode. A picture taken from the old footbridge a little way down the Lode - looking at the new bridge now - it looks as if it has been there for years - a good thing.


As I was cycling on the road to Upware I also saw a tractor out lifting the "soil-warming" covering. I had thought that they left the covering and that it was biodegradable.  I wonder whether the warm weather has accelerated the plant growth so much that they have had to lift the  covering early?


Whilst out I was intending to visit the site of the latest bridge being built ( the second out of either three or four).  However it looks like Headlake Drove is being re-surfaced and in a big way.  There was no warning that the "road" was to be closed - but given there are only a limited number of people who would use it - it was not really a problem.


As you can see - there were quite a few people and machines and a pile of rubble devoted to sorting out Headlake Drove. I wonder whether they will also relay Spit Drove as well. 

The latest information is that volcanic ash has closed some airspace in Ireland and Scotland - so depending on whether I get home in the next few days or not I will be able to cycle over and check out what has been done.


From here the road looks as if they have filled in the potholes and put a new covering on but it still undulates, which if you think about it is probably the best result for cyclists and horse-riders since it will be ok to cycle on - but  still not encourage high speed driving.


  1. The work on Headlake Drove isn't to "improve" it, it's to get the very large crane needed to lift the deck of the new bridge to the site.

    28tonne bridge, 500tonne crane -- but it's the reach at which the crane has to operate that makes it necessary.

    I'm trying to find the date that the lift happens, and I'll let you know.

  2. Thanks Mike, I took a closer look today and realised that they had been widening the road with hard-core. Some pictures will get posted when I catch up.