Friday, September 28, 2012

A ride around the Deepings: 1st Leg–Glinton to Crowland

Thursday, 6th September 2012: This is the third part of my ride around The Deepings, it started with Part1 Planning a ride around the Deepings, followed by Part 2 Getting There from Peterborough Station. This covers the first leg from Glinton to Crowland. The main reason I have broken the Posts about the ride into sections is because it makes it easier to get the Posts written – all in all I selected 69 pictures for inclusion in the posts.

When using Bike Route Toaster to create the course that I downloaded into my GPS I used the map including in the Lincolnshire Cycle Routes note as the source reference, but adapted the route slightly depending upon what was shown on the OSM cycle map. In fact the first departure was pretty much straight away. I joined the route shortly after the point marked 2 on the Deepings Map, a level crossing on Station Road leading to Crowland Road. If you check the OSM cycle map there is NCN route which is dual-numbered NCN12 and 21 although NCN21 heads south halfway between Glinton and Crowland.

The NCN route follows a byway route, off-road and the other side of the River Welland. Which according to the Wikipedia entry is “some 65 miles (105Km) long. It provides the final conduit for water pumped from the area to the sea.

The River Welland

As a quick refresher here is the map of my ride starting in Peterborough, I cycled to Ely from Cambridge and caught the train to Peterborough. However you could catch a train from Cambridge to Peterborough or even to Spalding Spa Here is the Bike Route Toaster link to that map, the route as marked is 82Km/51 miles in length.

Map of my ride from Peterborough to the Deepings Ride and back

Just past the river the off-road bit starts. It is also forms part of the Peterborough Green Wheel – over 45 miles of continuous, sustainable routes around the city of Peterborough.

Heading alongside the River Welland to Crowland by byway

Just after passing over the cattle grid there was an information board about the Green Wheel Near the top if the board and in the middle there is a star-like pond shown surrounded by vegetation. Apparently it is the Borough Fen Duck Decoy with eight “pipes” radiating out from a central pond. Wildfowl are attracted in and then along the pipes where they are caught in netted areas. You can see it on Google Earth and if I’d checked it out beforehand I could also have seen the area from the byway.

Green Wheel Information Board – Near the River Welland

A bit further up the track (which has a tarmac surface at this point) is a Pumping House and another information board. This one talks about the work by Sir Cornelius Vermuyden who introduced Dutch reclamation methods to the UK, especially the fens of East Anglia.

Draining of the Fens – Sir Cornelius Vermuyden

As you might have noticed there was a dragonfly on the board – here is a close up. The cracking of the board mirrors the pattern of the wings.

Dragon Fly reading the Information

After the pumping house the track becomes – well a track – with a slightly loose gravelly surface. At this point I had the wind behind me and it was wonderful to be out exploring pastures new (for me) with the whole day for cycling and pretty decent weather. It wouldn’t surprise me if the clump of trees in the background to the right was the Duck Decoy. I don’t think it is – it looks more like a farm surrounded by high hedges.

NCN12 from Glinton to Crowland

It seems that the byway runs near the Borough Fen Earthwork which is to the south of the byway, one of the most impressive Iron Age sites in the region, according to the information board.

Information Board – Borough Fen Earthwork
alongside NCN12 between Glinton and Crowland

Although it was only around 4.5miles/7km long it seemed to go as far as the eye could see. Actually you could see Crowland in the distance but it was still good to be cycling along a deserted path. the road on the other side of the river was not much in evidence. I did pass some tractors working in the fields though. At some point NCN21 split off South.

NCN12 – a track between Glinton and Crowland

The track was good, but a little care was needed as the surface was loose in places. it was fine with my 25mm wide tyres. In places you also had to watch out for potholes. The jarring your hands get can become quite unpleasant after a while.

As the route approached Crowland there was a “road” to the right that in hindsight I could have cycled along. it seemed to provide access to a pumping station. Which I assume was there to drain water in to the River Welland. When I was putting the route into Bike Route Toaster I did notice that the auto-routed track seemed to do funny things – I hadn’t realised there was a parallel track. (It would route up to Crowland on one track and back on the other.)

NCN12 – a track between Glinton and Crowland

Hum, now I know Fen folk can be a bit strange – but dangling fish and birds and a hand from a rusty tree! I rather like the way in which artworks are sited along some of the NCN routes.

It is known as the Crowland Charm Tree and charming it is. This is know as the Crowland Heritage Trail and was opened in Jun 2005. The charm tree has charms designed by pupils from St Guthlacs Secondary School and South View Primary School

Crowland Charm Tree on the Crowland Heritage Trail

Naturally there was an board to provide the information.  You might also see that Short-eared owls can be seen around these parts. Although it can be a rare occurrence.  They come her because it makes a good hunting ground (rather like the Wicken Fen area.)

All too soon and I had reached Crowland – hopefully the wind would not be too much against me for the next leg to Spalding. (No I didn’t visit the Crowland Abbey ruins.)

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