Sunday, July 1, 2012

Another week’s gone by–a look at Wadlow Wind Farm again–Pt 2

Sunday, 24th June 2012: It is Friday morning, I have been away most of the week and I was looking forward to a pleasant ride to meetings this afternoon around Cambridge. I was planning on cycling in using my rain cape (which I got for Christmas) and ideal way to cycle in relatively smart clothes and both stay dry and cool. We have had weather warnings though so I with a heavy heart I think I will give it a miss and use the bus instead. Drat. (These are not informal meetings with people I already know and who know my keenness on cycling.

As a recap - I went out along the Roman Road and then took a slight short-cut across to Balsham and then along a byway towards the Wind Farm. I returned by the Wilbrahams and NCN51. Here is the Bike Route Toaster link to the map shown below the picture of the helicopter. The route was just under 45Km/28 miles and unusually has a small hill of 70m followed by a “plateau” at 100m. Although it would probably take a flatlander to classify them as such.

This post picks up halfway round, near Grange Farm on a byway out of Balsham that starts of as Fox Road. The byway runs alongside the Wadlow Wind Farm which is being built  at a rate of two a week. There are 7 turbines up and a further 6 to go making 13 in total. They are occupying quite an area and I am a little surprised just how close they are to Balsham. I reckon that they  ought to provide cheaper electricity to those living close enough for the Wind Farm to have an impact.

Wadlow Wind Farm from the byway leading off from Fox Road, Balsham

As a reminder here is the map – referred to in the link.

A Ride around Wadlow Wind Farm

After crossing the road to West Wratting I carried on along the byway to a small country lane and turned left. The byway does carry on a little further to a pumping station. and Grange Road. This is the road, which takes you to Lark Hall Corner and Wadlow Farm – that gives its name to the Wind Farm.

The picture makes the slight slope look much worse than it is. The byway and road intersect at 89m, whilst the road gets to 92m before heading down again (to 56m). (The peak height is by a driveway to Spike Hall.) All 7 turbines currently up are in the picture. (Which is two stitched together)

Wadlow Wind Farm seen from a country lane near Spike Hall

Here is the view from the same road after cresting the “peak”, it is really quite a stunning view - and in this case is three pictures stitched together.

Looking past Wadlow Wind Farm towards Cambridge from a country lane near Spike Hall

After that I cycled up past Wadlow Farm along a byway past the old Cambridge Road Plantation. Where there was this rather odd notice – so of course I cycled slowly to allow those Crossing pigeons plenty of time to cross the byway. I think it really refers to a type of clay pigeon shoot where the clays are thrown up to emulate crossing pigeons.

Beware Pigeon Crossing on a byway

Fortunately for those crossing pigeons this is not a very busy byway. The trees on the left are the Old Cambridge Road Plantation (I think).

Byway alongside the Old Cambridge Road Plantation

I think this is going to be one of the later turbines to be erected – it is more on the Wilbraham side of the hill.

Wadlow Wind Farm – turbine waiting for a crane

A sea of Barley nicely ripening. Is it me or is the barley a bit like the police force – getting shorter.

A Sea of Barley

After passing the Grain Store and Chalk Pit you might notice I spent a bit of time taking pictures of poppies interspersed with crops in the field. There is no escaping those pylons is there.

Poppies growing in a field

I struggled to get my pictures to really do justice to the blaze of colour from the poppies, which is why I took a few pictures.

Poppies growing in a field

Those last two pictures were looking in the Wilbraham direction, this picture was taken looking across the poppies.

.Poppies growing in a field

This picture was taken looking back towards the wind farm.

Poppies in a Field, with Wadlow Wind Farm just visible

I had parked on the verge to take the last picture, although of course by parked I mean I just laid my bike down and went up to a gap in the hedge. This flower was growing in the verge. I always try to keep my eyes open so I don’t trample plants unnecessarily. I wasn’t sure what this one was though.

I am supposed to be getting ready – but I couldn’t resist a quick look in my Collins Complete Guide to British Wildflowers. it seems to be a Common Fumitory  (Fumaria officinalis). It is also known as Earth smoke and is closely related to the Poppy family.

After passing through the Wilbrahams I took the short-cut to the NCN51 route, taking the Little Wilbraham Road rather than the Wilbraham Road. It was a Sunday so the traffic wasn’t bad.

This is the view of the filed where Bottisham Airfield was. Well the edge of it. The hedgerow on the right runs alongside the Wilbraham Road to Bottisham. The is a colour change in the field along a line that is not along the drilling line – and was visible to the human eye – so is not a problem with my camera. The airfield had a perimeter road so perhaps the line shows it. I can’t see anything on the Satellite view though.

This was once part of a WWII airfield – Bottisham Airfield

This is the Little Wilbraham Road – it can be a bit if a rat-race road during the commuting hours – but not bad this time.

Little Wilbraham Road

Alongside the bridge over the A14 – mainly west-facing, but not exclusively so, was some Sedum growing almost in the tarmac. Some friends have a roof covered in this and at the moment it is a blaze of yellow.

Sedum on a bridge

even on a Sunday cars  don’t like to get to far apart – they get lonely. I think that cars should have two-second rule alerting systems. The trouble is that when cars get too close they can start mating and you really don’t want that…

A14 – tailgating (IMHO)  – or how to stop you car getting lonely

Although foxes are a pest, ask anyone who has had a coop full of chickens slaughtered, it is still sad to seem then run down by the roadside.  I wonder the RSPCA doesn’t ban cars considering how much road-kill we get.

Dead Fox by the roadside

And finally – “Revealed – top 10 hotspots for cycle thefts in Cambridge” – Station Road comes in at number 3.  Last year (April to March) there were 2,393, not far off 50 a week (46 actually – I rounded it up).



  1. Crossing Pigeons

    I went up there for a look at the wind turbines on Thursday (2nd Aug), and took shelter under the trees of that plantation while a heavy shower went by. The wood is full of claypigeon launchers and odd bits of metalwork, and there's even a hut. It looks as if the clays are launched out of the wood to simulate pigeons or pheasant coming out from cover.

    The wind turbines are smaller than I expected, and only four were turning despite a good breeze, so presumably the installation is not completed yet. At 2MW each their power output is rather disappointing, that's equivalent to 2,682hp, little more than the petrol engines in the Spitfires you saw recently can develop.


    1. I got caught out by the same storm cycling back through White Fen.

      I guess the clay-pigeon area is far enough away from the closest turbine. I hadn't thought to look up there.

      The most I have seen spinning is 5, their website indicates they plan to have it fully commissioned by October, so they have a bit of time left.

  2. Rather than spend the night up there I set off before the rain had stopped, and went through Gt Wilbraham and Bottisham before deciding it was safe to take my waterproofs (ha!) off after I got through Lode.

    That "Old Cambridge Road" is pretty slippery in rain, but hasn't been cut up by construction traffic, so once it's dried it's fine.

    Hurmphh. Two very muddy bikes to clean tomorrow.


    1. As I was nipping out I forgot to pack my waterproofs, but once I had accepted I was going to get wet it wasn't too bad.

      The chalky byway does dry pretty quickly. In fact it can be pretty bad when to dry as my thinnish tyres start bogging down.