Saturday, November 5, 2011

Autumn in the Fens–part 1

Sunday, 30th October: So much for catching up with my Posting – once again I am a week late and that is despite not having cycled much this week. Although actually it is really because I have been busy doing other things which has both cut down on my cycling and meant I have not had time to write up my Posts.

So this is last Sunday’s ride, although as I write this it is the 6th November. My plan was a gentle ride around the Fens – on and off Lodes Way to check out how far autumn was advancing and to catch up on the various Podcasts that were waiting to be listened to, including The Archers and Ambridge Extra. As I don’t like to turn the volume up to much it means I tend to head for quieter country lanes.

Here is the route I took – for a change I took the road route to Upware after passing over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode, along Great Drove. It made for a slightly easier ride without too much mud clogging my wheels up (Harrison’s Drove can get pretty wet) and it made a change.  Here is the Bike Route Toaster Link. It is around 56Km/35 miles long. I have split the Post into two parts – partly as there are quite a few pictures and partly it helps me chop the posts up into manageable chunks.

Autumn is now pretty much upon us and with different species of trees turning at different times there are places where the hedgerow suddenly sees a burst of colour – almost like a fire. This is along High Ditch Road and just past the old railway bridge.

Further along the route along Low Fen Drove Way the colours are slightly less autumnal and as it happens the mud track was ok as well.

This isn’t the route (nor a public right of way), but near the Pylons and heads off in the direction of Allicky Farm.

The road down towards Biggin Abbey (there is a picture of Biggin Abbey during the 2001 floods about seven pictures down)  was more spectacular.

I would imagine that Anglesey Abbey is worth a visit at the moment –there are some great avenues of trees in the surrounding parkland. These poplars are at the back, near the Mill.

This was taken from the same viewpoint (the old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line at the Lode end) look towards the gardens – but with a wood in the way.

Along White Fen Drove things were a bit more colourful. This is near the White Fen end.

I assume that when bits of farming kit are left around it is because another field is also going to be worked on. The farmer needs his tractor to drive home but doesn’t want the palaver of carrying the equipment so leaves it behind.

This is Sandy Road / White Fen Drove, looking back from near towards Lode. On the OS map White Fen Droveway is not straight but kinks, whereas on the OSM cyclemap they don’t mention Sandy Road. For a road to get to the fields it is in very good condition.

As you can see it was a bit grey, looking up Swaffham Bulbeck Lode.

The Swaffham Bulbeck Cyclist mentioned seeing Spindle (Euonymus europaeus) along Lodes Way so I stopped to take a picture or three. The fruits really do look quite pink, although perhaps the colour has been enhanced a little by the HDR picture.

Here is a closer look, they are poisonous, so don’t go eating them. Apparently the European Spindle wood is very hard and can be cut to a very sharp point. It was used in the past for making spindles for spinning wool.

There were plenty of berries. We always say that a lot of berries and fruit implies it is going to be a cold winter – it is a bit of an old wives’ tale.

I must look out to see if there is any more of this on my travels (as suggested by the S.B.C.).

Did I mention that I am still wearing shorts – but did pop on some socks with my sandals – it is starting to get a bit colder now.



  1. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistNovember 6, 2011 at 10:06 PM

    Glad you found the spindle- the berries show up really well in the pics. Was up on Burwell Fen today and Friday, looking for short eared owls there (saw 10 on Friday, 5 today). Bumped into Mike C on Reach Lode Bridge both days and we were also rewarded with a barn owl on both days too, a relief as we had wondered whether the short eared owls would force them away. Anyway- something else to look out for!

  2. I was out on Lodes Way yesterday. It was a bit too dark to see the short-eared owls, I did see lots of Twitchers though. I have never seen quite so many people (and their cars). They were out on Burwell Lode bridge, Newnham Drove and Reach Lode bridge when I went past.

    It was a grey day!

    My cycling patterns have been affected by work stuff just recently so I haven't seen MikeC for ages.