Tuesday, March 6, 2012

We plough the fields and scatter the good plastic on the ground Part 2

Saturday, 3rd March 2012:A quick recap a trip to Ely and back. For a change I went out along via NCN51 and then turned off in Swaffham Prior and took the Upware Road. A muddy-ish short-cut got me onto NCN11 bypassing Wicken and then to the outskirts of Wicken I returned via Soham and then switched to the Lodes Way after Wicken. Although the route does take a view byways and bridleways I was easier than I thought it might be. Here is the Bike Route Toaster Link to the map shown below. It is 70Km/44 miles in length, but pretty much as flat a route as you can get.

As might be expected the blocked road in Soham was not a blocked road for pedestrians or cyclists and although my original plan was to cycle through Soham and across the the Ness Road I thought I give the byway/bridleway route through to Wicken a go instead. It can get quite muddy but nothing ventured nothing gained. Soham seems to be evolving – here is the Masterplan for Soham.

The route through Soham heads across the railway line on Mill Drove before taking a right turn along byway called Bracks Drove. It was wet and there was a bit of mud around – but nothing to tricky. Motorcycles do seem to use this track and you can see their tyre marks – but fortunately it wasn’t too chewed up. The first bit of the byway leading from Mill Drove has rows of bricks laid in the mud to provide a mud-free place to walk. It is ok for a bicycle, I wouldn’t have wanted to push a pram down it though.

One feature of the path is that it has hedges on both side which means it is reasonably sheltered.

A little further along the byway and the results of the recent gales were in evidence. What looks like quite a solid tree had been blown over. At least that is what I assumed. Surprisingly the hedge the other side doesn’t seem to show the signs of the tree collapsing on it. Although the cuts look fairly new.

There are often random concrete tracks that lead across the fields to who knows where, in this general part of world. I have discovered that a few of them were WWII airfields that have since  been taken back by the farmers. Here is a link to the RAF Museum Shop offering a book Cambridgeshire Airfields in the Second War. It indicates there were 28. On page 3 of this pdf – USAAF Airfields Guide and Map there is a map. (Here is one on the Airfields of Suffolk.

This wasn’t though – the track leads to Great Drove and the gate is marked private. I say gate it is a rusty bar across the gap in the hedge really.

After a while the byway becomes a bridleway and more open with hedging on one side only. the patch when dry has cracked open and had a crack running along its length, something to be wary of when cycling.  I passed a horse rider on the bridleway and then three walkers where the bridleway reverts back to a byway, although called Drove Lane.

Once I reached Wicken I followed Lodes Way back through to Bottisham and NCN51 to Cambridge, I stopped in Burwell Fen just where Newnham drove crosses Lodes Way. I headed off to the pit to take a closer look at how well it was filling with water. This pit was left when the clay was excavated for the bund built around Burwell Fen. It wasn’t as full as I thought it might be, with two small patches of water.

As you can see I had to stop and take a picture from the Reach Lode Bridge. As you can see the skies were pretty blue hardly any clouds.

Actually I took a few pictures from the bridge. I am sure these bales weren’t here the last time I cycled by. Had I stumbled into Summer without knowing it.

Indeed the baling was happening as I took my pictures. Fortunately there is an explanation at John’s Blog – Looks like Summer. It is to help the low ground nesting birds when they start nesting. and improve the habitat generally in this part of Tubney Fen.

After passing through White Fen I stopped to admire the patterns in the soil of this freshly drilled field. (at least I assume it is freshly drilled.)

I also stopped to take a picture of the Pylons marching through the countryside – this area must suit the pylons as there are two runs, side by side. I wonder if they’ll have some baby pylons?

Although the sun was still reasonably high in the sky it was behind some cloud and gave a rather nice pale lemon glow just up from the horizon.

I caught up with a couple of cyclists pedalling their weary way home. At least I hope they were heading at least from some rest. I am not particularly fast at the moment. However each time I stopped they would pass me and then I would pass them once I got going and then I stop and the pattern would repeat. The taller cyclist kept pulling away from the cyclist on the left – I think she’d had enough. Or maybe they were worried I was a cycling stalker?

Another shot of the low sun shining down to earth. I took this one just by Harvey’s Droveway.

By now I had had enough I put my head down to cycle the last bit home. The scrub in the tub when I got home was wonderful. There is nothing like a soak in a hot bath – I had a read as well. (Trying not to get my book wet.)

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