Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Out of Date Posts–the Lodes Way, two weeks ago

Saturday, 28th July 2012: Things are getting bad – I am now two weeks behind in posting, so I am going to have to push to catch up. If too much time passes then I struggle to remember what happened.

For me there are three rides that are my fall-back leisure  rides – the Lodes Way area, the CGB cycleway and the roman Road/Wadlow Farm area. They tend to tick the right boxes in terms of getting out into the countryside, distance and away from traffic.

The weekend is when I tend to catch up on various radio podcasts, including The Archers and its tales of everyday country life – from arson to animals, infidelity to insemination (artificial). Not forgetting Ambridge Extra. Either I am getting used to the sensationalism or things are resolving – I am not finding it quite so stressful at the moment.

when I have a little time – then one of my favourite rides is to head out of Cambridge on  High Ditch Road then around Low Fen Droveway to Horningsea, then across bridleways and byways, past Quy Fen, to Lode and the Lodes Way. I then tend to cycle on and around the Lodes Way depending on how the mood takes me, up to Wicken Fen (and sometimes beyond) before returning.

About two thirds of the way around Low Fen Drove Way the way was clear, again. At one point the byway runs parallel with a concrete farm track. The byway is cycle-able but requires care as it is heavily rutted. I think most people use the concrete track. Well a few weeks ago a ditch had been dug to stop that from happening.  It has been filled in again.

Low Fen Drove Way, near Snout Corner

At this time of year farmers keep a careful eye on the weather – well if my son who is involved with crop trials is anything to go by they do.  The crops need to be ripe and dry, but rain gets in the way and if you harvest then wet then it costs money to dry them. So it is usual to see farmers out combining almost 24x7.  This is a field alongside and to the North of the bridleway out of Horningsea – all that remains is stubble. When I was a boy this would have been burnt off – something that is no longer generally allowed.

The fields are “turning” to stubble!

Just as graffiti happens in towns and cities – we also get it in the countryside – although I wonder how they perpetrators got here. Perhaps a gate was open and they drove in. I can’t imagine they combine trekking and graffiti as hobbies.

Rural Graffiti – near Horningsea

On the outskirts of Lode, after doing a bit of trials riding on Harvey’s Droveway, Bottisham Lode was flowing fairly fast for this time of year.

Bottisham Lode (near Lode)

The last section of Harvey’s Droveway is almost along the line of the old Cambridge to Mildenhall Railway Line – I often think it is a pity that the route was lost, not so much as a railway line but as a cycle way – it would have made a pretty decent cycle route for the various villages out this way. This picture was taken from the bridge over Bottisham Lode – there are still loads of fields to be harvested.

Light Brown Fields in the Fens (near Lode)

I tend not to use Google Maps  to choose cycle routes, partly because they are incomplete and an unknown quantity. For some time now there has been a wish to create a cycle route between the Lodes Way and Waterbeach. Well it would appear that the Google Cycling map has almost completed the link!

OSM Cycle Map – Waterbeach to Lodes Way – the missing link

View Larger Map

I stopped briefly to take a picture of the wild flowers reflecting in Swaffham Bulbeck Lode.

Rosebay Willowherb on Swaffham Bulbeck Lode bank

A while ago the Cottenham Cyclist reported problems with this stretch of the Lodes Way, just after White Fen. Although some cracks had been filled in there was a thin and dangerous crack left behind.  Well it would seem that despite the CTC website showing no further information it has been filled. Although the motto seems to be “why do a job well when you can do it badly”. There are places where the crack could still catch your wheel.

Lodes Way – patches on patches – roads that is

This is view south towards taken from the same spot (or nearby anyway). 

Brown Fields and Brown Hills in the Fens (on the Lodes Way)

Although Burwell Lode is a dead-end – I do see boats heading up or down it from time to time. This boat is No 6 – and called Charity, 46129. (With a length of 15.13m and beam of 2.07m.)

Cruising down Burwell Lode

After a loop around Wicken Fen the clouds were looking rather dark heading back to Priory Drove.

Dark Clouds above Priory Drove, Wicken Fen

For a while there has been a change in the “protected” route from Priory Drove to Monks Lode. There are conflicts between the desire to maintain a large and open grazing space for the ponies and cattle and keeping the route though for people, horses and cyclists.

It used to be open and then a fenced corridor was created with “air locks” are each end to allow the animals to go through. This has been changed to a central “air lock” . I am not quite sure why, but the cyclist route diverts on the open bit of the direct path. I reckon that most walkers also use the diversion rather than the gated path. I’ve not seen any horses this way for a while, I would imagine that this approach cuts the number of gates they have to get through from 4 to 2, but it is still probably a faff.

Newly Moved Cattle grids on the Maltings Path, Wicken Fen

Although it looks like rain, it was actually a dry day and the temperature got into the 20s just.

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