Saturday, November 3, 2012

Wadlow Wind Farm

Thursday, 4th October 2012: M plan to get in a few rides before my hols was certainly working, it was helped by the burst of fine weather as well though. I hadn’t been to visit the Wadlow wind Farm recently so that is what I chose to do. To make a ride of it I cycled out towards Swaffham Bulbeck, then to Dullingham, down to the Wadlow Wind Farm and then back via Fulbourn.

The loop is around 39km/24 miles with a small climb in the middle – up to the Wind Farm at a shade under 100m above sea level.  Here is the Bike Route Toaster link to the map shown below.

Whilst heading out along NCN51 I saw this rather interesting caravan – indeed an iconic Airstream parked half in and half out of the Missing Sock car park. (For Wikipedia's take – Airstream.) I think this might be set up to sell hot food.

An Airstream Caravan parked in the Missing Sock Car Park

Here is the loop – although some of it is on country roads some of those country roads don’t seem to see a lot of traffic. Although the bit from Swaffham Bulbeck to the A1304 does see some fast cars.

A Map of my ride to Wadlow Wind Farm

Wind turbines being what they are tend to be visible for miles around. I don’t have a particular view as to the pros and cons of Wind turbines. They are certainly visible for miles around an dominate the landscape. I would imagine though that Ely Cathedral might have  been considered a blot on the landscape when it was first built. Indeed is is sometimes referred to as the Ship of the Fens because of its dominant position. Yet we accept it.

Now I don’t live near to the turbines and so have no experience of noise or light flicker than can cause problems – but  I guess if the UK is trying to become energy independent then we either need to have sustainable energy sources, nuclear energy or use a whole lot less energy. The trouble is that these wind farms don’t generate particularly large amounts of energy in the general scheme of things.  Wadlow Wind Farm generates 26Mw (when the wind is blowing) whereas a small generator in St Neots – Little Barford Power Station generates 680MW.

I was surprised to see a Tory minister declare ‘enough is enough’ on onshore wind farms. According to the article there are 4,035 operational wind turbines in the UK with a total capacity of 7,391MW. I guess the problem is that

Wadlow Wind Farm seen from Grange Road (near Brinkley Woodland Cemetery)

A picture from the same spot but less zoom. You can just about make out all thirteen turbines although one  is only visible because of its blades.

The field has beet growing I reckon.

Wadlow Wind Farm seen from Grange Road (near Brinkley Woodland Cemetery)

I could have chosen a byway route past a pumping station but instead followed Grange Road, the first byway can be rutted and stone and is also uphill.  But I then turned right of Grange Road which crossed the path of the byway and it looked ok so I cycled along it as a long-cut.

How about that for convenience food – the fruit ingredients for apple and blackberry pie side by side in the hedgerow. The track doesn’t appear to have a name though. On the old maps it seems to connect Linnet Hall and Wratting Grange.

Blackberries and apples along the Icknield Way

This is the byway where it crossed Six Mile Bottom Road alongside Green End Farm

The byway

And for good measure the byway looking back with more apples on the left.

The byway

When I reached the road I did think about following the byway to Balsham – it was a bit wet so I wimped out and turned left and cycled down the road towards Wadlow Farm. The white sign clarifies the position “PRIVATE NO RIGHT OF WAY”

Wadlow Farm – site of the Wadlow Wind Farm

Although they have planted a Jubilee Wood – part of being a good corporate citizen – or a cynical marketing ploy?

Wadlow Wind Farm – Jubilee Wood

From Six Mile Bottom Road the turbines can be seen in their full glory.

Wadlow Wind Farm – two turbines

This is the view looking away from the wind far – some rather glorious countryside.

View of the Countryside from Wadlow Wind Farm

I cycled down the Wadlow Farm and then along the byway from Wadlow Farm between Camgrain and Wilbraham Quarry. This brings you quite close to the turbines. It seems that the Quarry has been in the news recently – “Rubbish mountain must go

Wadlow Wind Farm

A close-up of a turbine.

Wadlow Wind Farm

This is the byway – it crosses a hill and makes for quite a pleasant ride. I wondered whether I would be able to hear the turbines turning – but the road noise from the A11 was much to prominent, despite the turbines being a fair bit closer.

Wadlow Wind Farm

After that I cycled back via Teversham in time to see a Tiger Moth getting ready for take off on the Cambridge Airport grass track.

Tiger Moth – Cambridge Airport

The Id is G-AHIZ – a De Havilland DH.82A Tiger Moth. It was bought by the Cambridge Flying Group for £325 in January 1956 – which makes it older than me.

These planes are also a tad noisier than the wind turbines!Winking smile


  1. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistNovember 3, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    As well as a cyclist, I am also a bit of a radio anorak I'm afraid, so please forgive the following!

    The small shed like building to the right, behind the first Tiger Moth photo, houses Cambridge Airport's non directional beacon (NDB) which is a radio signal used by pilots as a navigation aid. I pretty sure from memory that the NDB transmitter wire is slung between those two white posts you can just about see.

    The station broadcasts a morse message on 333Khz. This channel is kind of within a 'no mans land' set of frequencies between Long Wave (that goes up to about 280 khz on most radios) and Medium Wave (which begins at 531 khz). Its' fairly weak but I can pick it up pretty well here.

    I cycle right past it to work and the frustrated DJ side of me has often considered breaking in and playing a few tracks instead!

    Here's the only link I could find on this:,lon=0.182791993021965,zoom=14,type=Satellite

    1. One of the things I like about Blogging is that you learn something new - if not every day - then most days. I built my first transistor radio when I was eight, using a Philips Electronic Kit, it didn't work - but with a few tweaks my Dad got it working - it was like magic.

      So radio anoraks are fine by me.

  2. Swaffham Bulbeck CyclistNovember 4, 2012 at 9:48 PM

    Always fun messing about building radios!
    Forgot to add that the Cambridge NDB broadcasts the word 'CAM' on 333khz in morse. There, I'll try not to bang on about radio again!