Tuesday, August 16, 2011

More fruits of the Fens…

Sunday, August 14th: This is a ride I have been on before, but it makes a rather pleasant and undemanding ride through the local countryside, which does seem to be changing quite quickly at the moment. Here is the map and here is the Bike Route Toaster Link. it is 66Km/41 miles most of it is pretty quiet and on this Sunday there seemed to be quite a few cyclists out.

The only bit where you come that close to high-speed traffic noise is when crossing over the A14. So here is a clip – even on a Sunday it is quite busy and the higher pitch tyre noise seems to carry.

On the other side of the bridge were a couple in a car, looking for perhaps more seclusion than you get on this stretch of bridleway. They were lying flat, but on my bike I had to get quite close to the car as there was a large puddle narrowing the gap.  Not long after I had gone by I passed a 4x4.

Although the farmers have been busy in the fields there are still lots of fields waiting their turn for the Combine.  Given the uncertainty with the weather farmers are out on Sundays.

Although the aren’t yet any fruity smells from dropped apples many of the apple trees seem to have a fair bit of fruit on them.

This apple tree lies on this bit of the bridleway, which is fine in the dry but can get very soggy after a bit of rain.  There is a concrete track to the right hand-side which seems to head towards Allicky Farm, but stops before it gets there..

The elderberries were looking quite ripe along the way. I hadn’t realised until I followed the link that drinks such as elderflower cordial are made from elderflowers. I know there was a clue in the name really. The elderberries are also used to make wines, cordials and marmalade according to the link.

The last time I cycle alongside this field it hadn’t been Combined.

Now all that was left were a few stacks of bales, awaiting collection.

Although the temperature was good for cycling the clouds did looks as if there might be some rain in them.

As I followed the bridleway I noticed a couple of cyclists who have left the to explore the footpaths on foot. Left is Horningsea and Fen Ditton, straight on is Horningsea and Fen Ditton, right is Lode.

After passing past Lode and onto the Lodes Way I passed this fly-tipped rubbish. The bits of white are Council Notices asking for information about who might had left the rubbish behind. They normally tag them and then come back a few days later and pick the rubbish up.

A couple of cyclists passed me on the Reach Lode Bridge. As you can see the bit at the end of Split Drove seems to have become a car park. I am not sure whether this was intentional or not.

Despite some recent rain a field of in the distance was being irrigated. I think it is done sometimes to loosen the ground when crops are going to be pulled out.

As you can see, there were quite a few cars by the Burwell lode footbridge, there was another one just behind the reeds near the white van. Typical – the white van was blocking the rather grotty path leading away from the bridge.

This seems to be quite a popular spot and I have some sympathy with those wanting to visit it although the cars will chew up the grass.  It is paradoxical that opening up the Lodes Way – which is for walkers, horse riders and cyclists it attracts more cars to the area as well.

The view of Burwell Lode from the foot bridge.

I went up Harrison’s Drove and then alongside Wicken Lode – back towards Upware. The reeds alongside the lode had almost obscured my view so it was strange to see faces at the same level as me looking at me through the reeds.  They were a bunch of stand-up paddle boarders – every Wednesday from the 3rd to the 31st of August.

I ought to mention that the cycle hire has now started at Wicken Fen – they have a range of bikes including tandems and a range of suggested routes to explore.

By the time I reached a bit of bank clear of reeds the paddle boarders were some way down the Lode. I also passed a couple of boats making their way under the cock-up bridge to Upware.

On the back road into Wicken another large field awaiting the combine. You can’t really make out the crane in the background to the right. That is Soham which is where I was heading.

The byway/bridleway route to Wicken was deserted although some of the cracks in the path seem to have deepened and widened considerably. Which made me wonder what mechanism caused them to form along the line of the path.

My ride through Soham was also uneventful with no car drivers trying to bully me out of the way. I don’t think they would have taken the advice of the IAM though. (…It is tough if a cyclist is holding them up…) Slightly more odd was a previous IAM Press Release on “Cyclists: claim your lane” which suggested that cyclists keep to the kerb on long even stretches and pushing out when approaching a junction. It implies that it can be dangerous taking the road on high-speed roads – which unfortunately I would agree with – it certainly feels it.

Once through Soham and onto the byway to Lark Hall Road I passed a field that had sunflowers dotted amongst the weeds. I can’t remember but assume that last year it had a crop of Sunflowers. Mind you a quick look back at Posts in August doesn’t seem to mention it. Perhaps there date from an earlier year. 

I took a few pictures of the sunflowers, although only a couple show up here. 

I made my way back through Burwell and Reach and the Black Drove way to Swaffham Prior.  This was taken on Black Drove Way as the sun managed to peep through the clouds.

And finally, “Be careful on the roads! The hedgehog on list of Britain's 10 most endangered species”. The cuckoo also appears on that list. Thinking about it there do seem to be fewer dead hedgehogs on the road – presumably because so many have been killed on the roads.

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