Saturday, September 29, 2012

A ride around the Deepings: 3rd Leg – Spalding back to Glinton

Thursday, 6th September 2012: This is the fifth 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, Part 3: 1st Leg Glinton to Crowland, Part 4: 2nd Leg – Crowland to Spalding. This covers the third leg from Spalding back to Glinton. 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.

This bit of the ride follows routes that are not “blessed” by  Sustrans with convenient signage and delightful bits of off-road to follow. The roads are still pretty quiet and pleasant for cycling along though.  There are three main roads (A151, A1175, B1156)  along with the A15 and A16 “bounding” the bottom half, that run parallel  South-West to North-East that would take most of the traffic.

Although I talk about as one of the places on the Deepings ride – it might have been better to use the village of Peakirk as a landmark. It is next door to Glinton though. So it shouldn’t be too confusing. As I have already mentioned I didn’t visit Spalding – this was one of those rides when I was just wanting to be out in the peace and quiet of the countryside.

Having my GPS provide route directions was actually quite useful for navigating through the back streets of Spalding although I did get a little confused going through a housing estate from Hawthorn Bank through to the road just under the A151, which is called Horseshoe Road, but the OSM map doesn’t position the name conveniently. The problem was the estate all looked the same! In the end I used the compass on the GPS screen to ensure I took the right direction and managed to escape Spalding.

Spalding is famous for the flowers and bulbs that are produced and sold as promoted by the Spalding Flower Parade and companies such as the Spalding Plant and Bulb company based in Spalding – I checked. Their website indicates that their company has over 65 years experience as a garden mail order company but that flower bulbs have been grown locally since the 1880s. Here is a postcard from the 1970s or 80s showing the Spalding tulip fields from here.

It was the wrong time of year for tulips but as I cycled down Horseshoe Road I did come across some flowers in the field around Cuckoo Junction Farm I think.

Flowers along Horseshoe Road, Spalding

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.

I only realised when writing this series of Posts that Deeping St Nicholas has yet to make it onto the OSM map. I have to come to pretty much believe in the OSM maps so to have a missing village is surprising – but a reminder that no maps are 100% – certainly the OS maps aren’t.

I did notice that my GPS seemed to show the route, not along the road but on the other side of the ditch on the left-hand side of the road. I did look to see if I had missed a byway, not that the road I was on was at all busy – but no.

At the time I wasn’t sure quite whether the map on my GPS was wrong or the downloaded course data.  Mind you the GPS was showing me on the road and the route to the left – so it wasn’t really the GPS map data. Here are two screenshots of the route, the map on the left shows the route passing along the middle of the road. The picture on the right shows the same plot with only the underlying map switched to Google Maps.  You can get the router to use the Google data or the OSM data, I always use the OSM data.  In this case it would appear that the OSM data is incorrect. Another difference is that maps show more or less detail depending upon the zoom factor. The South Drove Drain is on the OSM map data, but not shown at the particular zoom factor I was using.

Horseshoe Road, Spalding
slightly different places when comparing OSM and Google Maps

And before I forget, a close-up of the flowers in the field.

Flowers along Horseshoe Road, Spalding

Horseshoe Road ends at Cuckoo Bridge, I crossed Cuckoo Bridge and then went “straight on”. The bridge crosses over North Drive Drain  - with a convenient information board. So I stopped had a drink and a few jelly babies and took a few pictures of the drain.

According to the board there have been attempts at draining Deeping Fen for over 1,000 years, starting with the Anglo  Saxons. This area falls under the control of the Welland and Deepings Internal drainage Board and they maintain 270Km of drains. The board also discusses wildlife and that since 1990 they only cut one side of the drain each year, alternating between the two – which cuts costs and increases the wildlife.

Information Board – North Drove Drain, Cuckoo Bridge

If I had carried on the road called North Drove then it would have taken me along North Drove Drain – not much of a surprise, the road seems to peter out though. Mind you there do seem to be quite a few farm tracks/access roads, the challenge might have been crossing the drains though. The hedgerows neatly framed the Turbine – I didn’t notice the electricity cables when I took the picture.

North Drove – One of the Deeping St Nicholas wind Turbines

This is a picture looking down the North Drove Drain from Cuckoo Bridge.   you get a better view of the Deeping St Nicholas wind turbines from here.

North Drove Drain from Cuckoo Bridge, near Spalding

My route took me along Iron Bar Drove alongside Cuckoo Dyke along to Counter Drain Drove. A quick check on Wikipedia shows that there was a Counter Drain railway station on the Spalding and Bourne Railway – no longer much in evidence. Although my route would have crossed it twice.

When I took this picture I was sure I would be able to see it because of the two wind turbines next to the farm. The taller one was spinning the shorter one was static. They have not appeared on the OS map yet though and it is trickier than I thought it was going to be.

After checking Google Maps and Satellite maps and then loading the trace of my route into Google Earth I reckon that this is Iron Bar Drove. I checked the Streetview picture against mine and the bushes are the same. (Although at this point I had so many windows open my computer started to complain. That means that the turbines are near the corner of Iron Bar Drove and Counter Drain Drove – which has Bank House Farm nearby. Apparently there was anger when they went up. There was concern that it may have breached its planning permission as they were of dissimilar heights. The article also suggests that the same farmer (Bank House Farm, Slipe Drove) has also allowed land to be used for a nine-turbine wind farm – Stop West Pinchbeck Wind Farm for more details. Currently their front page shows a map of the Deeping St Nicholas group, the farm two and the proposed 9.

All the searching, using Streetview did remind me that just as I was leaving Cuckoo Bridge a large tractor came along, so I cycled onto the verge, he waved, I cycled back onto the road and suddenly got massive loads of chain slip. Now I carry tools for roadside repairs – but wasn’t sure quite what had happened. I looked down at the rear wheel and it had taken up masses of freshly cut grass into the derailleur and over the rear cogs – lifting the chain away from the teeth on the cogs. After a good clean out it was all back to normal.

Bank House Farm – Two Wind Turbines – a further nine could be built over the road

A bit further down Counter Drain Drove and some of the Deeping St Nicholas turbines lined up for a picture.

Five of the Deeping St Nicholas Wind Turbines

As I was cycling along I stuck out my tongue and wondered just where does my Tongue End – well know I know. I was also finding the wind somewhat wearing at this point – there was very little shelter from it – although it could have been even windier I suppose.

Tongue End

On the plus side the skies were still blue and it was bright and pleasant. The fields around here might not be bi my American Prairie standards – they are pretty big though.

Large Fields of Lincolnshire

What was it I was saying about there being few flowers in the fields – here is one of those large Lincolnshire fields stuffed full of Sunflowers.

A Field of Sunflowers, Counter Drain Drove – Tongue End

I took quite a few pictures at various zooms and angles – in the end I restricted myself to these two in the post.

A Field of Sunflowers, Counter Drain Drove – Tongue End

I will admit to finding myself a little weary at this point. The route started to zig-zag around towards the Peterborough Road. It went through a pretty large area of  Sand and Gravel pits but taking pictures on roads with traffic does not appeal, particularly when tired.  Maybe next time.

I did take a picture of two jets high in the sky though, zoomed right in they could be fast jets – but I am not sure.

Contrails in the blue skies above Peterborough

Just before joining the Peterborough Road I cycled down New Road, joined Meadow Road and then reached the Peterborough Road.  My SatNav again showed a somewhat different more direct route across the fields – another little foible in the OSM data I reckon.

After that I cycled through the middle of Market Deeping – the only town on The Deepings Route that I actually passed through. The rest I skirted. I then cycled out of Market Deeping on Peakirk Road before reaching the NCN21 route on Mile Drove. This was the Deepings finished for me – although there was a slight gap of around 0.6Km between my Deepings start and finish point.

It was now time to make my way back to Peterborough Railway Station. I prefer not to retrace my steps if I can help it and had chosen to explore more of the Peterborough Green Wheel route through Ferry Meadows. I must admit I was glad I had a route on my GPS to follow it meant far less stopping and starting which can be quite tiring at the end of a ride. (Although I had at something like 40Km-50Km left really).

Much as I had enjoyed the Deepings – it would be nice to see some different scenery.

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