Thursday, November 1, 2012

We plough the fields and drill the good seed on the land

Tuesday, 2nd October 2012: It seems that the threat of not being able to cycle is just what I need to spur me on to get out and cycle. Strange us folk really. I am only going on holiday – but there you are being without Maisie Marin has encouraged me to get out and cycle. Usually I tend to just go for a quick ride around a convenience rural location – Lodes Way being such a rural location. Well I have been going that way a little too frequently and so I managed to change my route a little.

This time around I headed out on a byway along alongside the A14  rough Exning and then back along the the Lodes Way – more or less. (The byway does not seem to have a name, it is the bit where the A14 crosses into Suffolk. On the 1:50,000 scale the byway become a bridleway in the middle whilst the 1:25,000 version of the map shows it as a byway along the entire length from the Swaffham Heath Road through to the Heath Road to Exning.

I have shown the ride as a loop – here is the Bike Route Toaster link – it is around 33Km/20 miles in length. Depending upon the time of year bits of it can be hard work if there has been a lot of rain. (The bit between Exning and Burwell in particular.)

This is a field near Stone Bridge on the way into Swaffham Bulbeck being drilled, I think the discs are height sensors.

Seed Drilling – alongside the NCN51 between Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck

Here is the map – you might notice I passed a few fields being drilled on my travels.

A Loop from Lode to Exning

There is still quite a bit of field to be drilled. It was a greyer day than the last few days as well.

Seed Drilling – alongside the NCN51 between Bottisham and Swaffham Bulbeck

The byway alongside the A14 changes with the seasons. In the summer it is overgrown and can get rutted and wet – this time around it had been cut back and the surface was reasonably solid. another Heath Road (from Swaffham Prior) joins the byway – although someone seems to have decided to partially block the byway.

It might look rural – the A14 s very noisy and lies just to the right of the hedge – it has 3 lanes of traffic on both sides.

Heath Road meets the byway alongside the A14

A bit further along and the byway crosses under the Devil’s Dyke which passes over the A14 by way of a footbridge. This is the view from the bridge looking in the Reach direction.

Devil’s Dyke – Cambs

This is the footbridge of the A14.

Devil’s Dyke footbridge crossing the A14

The footbridge provides quite a good vantage point so I took a few pictures – further up the hill another farmer drilling another field.

The view from the Devil’s Dyke Footbridge over the A14

This is the A14 (actually it is where the A14 and A11 combine for a few miles. it is a popular haulage from from Harwich up to the Midlands. A few vehicles seem to be ignoring the two-second rule.

The view from the Devil’s Dyke Footbridge of the A14

The rule is intended for automobiles (cars) according to Wikipedia but can be applied to other vehicles – the issue I suppose is how fast the vehicle in front can brake. Although I have always assumed a lorry will have a far longer stopping distance. An assumption which is true – this link suggests that at 60mph a car has a stopping distance of 240ft (73m) and a lorry has a stopping distance of 306ft.

The view from the Devil’s Dyke Footbridge of the A14

The traffic seems to spread out a little more when it passes into Suffolk!

The view from the Devil’s Dyke Footbridge of the A14 looking into Suffolk

Maisie Marin waiting patiently at the bottom of the steps

I thought this might be an easy flower to identify – but for me at least I was wrong. I think it might be Hedgerow Crane’s-bill (Geranium pyrenaicum)

Hedgerow Crane’s Bill alongside the Devil’s Dyke (Cambs)?

Once on the Heath Road heading into Exning I passed this cover crop – Phacelia tanacetifolia or Lacy Phacelia.

Lacy Phacelia – a cover crop – in the fields near Exning

It was originally a native of South Western United States and Mexico but is now used in UK agriculture as a cover crop to attract bees.

Lacy Phacelia – a cover crop – in the fields near Exning

On the other side of the hedge from the cover crop was a green track – not marked as a walk – but it would seem to make a good one.

Walking the dog across the fields near Exning

I usually cycle out of Exning towards Burwell on North Road (a no through road) up to a byway called Haycroft Lane. This is track used by horse riders, although I’ve not met any. When the ground is et in parts the track narrows and the hoof prints can be pretty tricky to cycle over . That wasn’t a problem this time and also the path had been cut back so the tracks were easy to follow.

Haycroft Lane, Exning

Instead of cycling into Burwell along Howlem Balk I followed a permissive bridleway a bit further down the road, near Crowhall Farm. It comes out on the Broads Road on the outskirts of Burwell. There was a field of beet alongside the bridleway (map).

Beet growing  near Lark Hall Farm

This is what a field of beet looks like. This will be waiting to get harvested – it might already have been harvested since my ride.

Beet growing near Lark Hall Farm

On the other side of the bridleway was some bird-feeding drilling taking place.

Seed Drilling near lark Hall Farm, Burwell

According to the map that is Lark Hall Farm – and I thought at the time that that was a Hare – but  now I am not so sure. The ears do look hare-like though. Even though I had my camera out of the bag it was moving pretty quickly and that was the best I could do – sorry.

A Hare dashing through a field

There is a newly planted bit of wood at the top of the hill – looking very Autumnal.

Autumnal Wood – near Burwell

You’ve guessed it all around farmers were busy – in this case more seed drilling and bird feeding.

More Seed-drilling near Burwell

This tractor seems to have mislaid its front wheels.

John Deere B420T working the fields near Burwell

After that I headed back up to Wicken Fen and then along Lodes Way to Lode. I did stop to take some pylon pictures.

Electricity Pylon near White Fen – single exposure

This picture has had a bit of processing to bring out the colours – I think I prefer the first one.

Electricity Pylon near White Fen – single exposure, tone mapped

I then experimented with Black and white – using recipes suggested in my Practical Photography magazine. This is the tone mapped picture converted to black and white and given a slight tint. (Deep emerald)

Electricity Pylon near White Fen – single exposure, tone mapped B&W with tint

And the in unprocessed colour picture converted to black and white and tinted. I prefer the first and fourth pictures, despite my normal over-use of HDR.  When I first started getting serious about photography I only had black and white equipment and was quite jealous of a friend who could process and print colour pictures (Cibachrome – it took slides and printed very punchy colours.))

Electricity Pylon near White Fen – single exposure,  B&W with tint

And finally it looks as if the old Lode village Hall (Broughton Hall) is under offer.

Broughton Hall – Lode

Mid you it is still under offer a month later – so perhaps the offer was a little low!

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