Saturday, November 5, 2011

Autumn in the Fens–part 2

Sunday, 30th October: A recap this is last Sunday’s ride, although as I write this it is the 6th 7th November. 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 (and at least get something written).

After passing the Spindle and heading up Great Drove (the road between Upware and Swaffham Prior) it struck me just how dark the peaty soil is in parts of the Fens. Those buildings lie on a spot called Blinkers Hill on the 1930s OS map.

These farm buildings a bit further up the road at a place called River Bank, in the 1930s it looks as if there wasn’t a way from River Bank to Upware by road – there were some tracks that would get you through though. The later, 1940?, historical map on where’s The Path does show a “road”, closer to the river though. These buildings appear to be on the spot called Rand Hall. This one has the look of the type of buildings used on airfields.

Next to it is a more typical farm building. Not too dissimilar to the Swan Lake Grain Store (3rd picture from bottom) near Reach.

Although I was using the road more than usual I did take the bridleway from A1123 to Lower Drove – Docking’s Lane, between Red barn Farm and Gray’s Farm. These Beech leaves are on the turn.

After passing through Wicken Fen and down towards Burwell it struck me how sensitive to motor vehicles the agencies that look after the roads are. This road is fairly undulating – nothing too bad, but it seems to have acquired a “Bumpy Road” sign or more correctly a warning sign indicating an uneven road. I wonder if this has been placed there officially or whether one of the factories off this road has placed it there. This is Factory Road after all.

Heading out of Burwell along Weirs Drove, just before Newnham Drove was this blaze of colour on an otherwise very grey day.

Talking of Newnham Drove I headed up it, now that is a road with a few problems. At the end a welcome sight, they (the NT?) have finally opened up the gate – although beware the Low Bollard(s) ahead. I wonder what vehicles can pass over that height of low bollard. I also wonder how horse riders feel about it. You do have to pay attention when cycling in the gloom.

I stopped along Lodes ay for a drink, as you can see there is Reach Lode Bridge in the distance. I don’t know about anyone else, I appreciate these wooden benches and cycle stands ate various points along the way.  It is rather pleasant to sit and contemplate without the constant buzz of motor vehicles all around.

Another of those Low Bollards

On the other side of Reach Lode Bridge it seems that the picnic tables have been reinstated after some low-life stole the originals.

These have been bolted to the ground, so let’s hope the same thing doesn’t happen again.

After leaving Whiteway Drove to follow Lodes Way through to Lode I stopped to take a picture of another piece of road surface that you have to be a bit wary of when cycling. A demonstration of how road building on the fens can be a challenge. Or perhaps an indication that the current roads have not been built with appropriate foundations.

I think that this field (beetroot last year) looks as if it might be growing turf this year. It can’t have been that windy recently as the leaves have fallen in a fairly tight group around the base of the tree.

NCN51 follows an interesting route into Cambridge – and after passing through the Newmarket Road Park and Ride there is a purpose built shared use path through towards Ditton meadows. Although I probably meet more dogs being walked along this path in general they tend to be les trouble than on some of the more remote byways and bridleways.

When a dog owner seeks out remote areas to walk there is always a suspicion in my mind that it is because the dog is not well behaved.

At least we get some colour during the grey days of Autumn.

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