Saturday, March 9, 2013

Ditches and Drains–Lodes Way with a Long Lens

Saturday, 2nd March 2013: After the previous days nigh-on 400 mile trek across to Bath and back it was rather pleasant to be able to get out for a spin on my bicycle after doing the Saturday morning shopping.

I just wanted to go out for a spin, without too much effort – which meant no muddy byways for me and no navigating. It was also a grey day so for a change I took my long lens with me. I can’t quite remember when I got my first SLR camera (A Canon AT-1) but I got a kit deal. It came with three lenses, a Canon 50mm lens, a Vivitar 70-210mm lens and a 28mm lens. The wide-angle lens was the cheapest and fairly poor quality and so I tended to use the 70-210 lens most of the time. As a result I think I favoured long zooms (or telephoto lens) rather than wide angles. I always hankered after a much more extreme zoom, but could never afford it.

What I didn’t appreciate is the benefit of a zoom is what made it versatile and so today I tend to use my 14-140mm (which equates to 28mm to 280mm on a standard 35mm camera). I have got a longer lens – 100-300mm (which is 200mmm to 600mm in 35mm speak) and although I use it it is not as versatile as my shorter lens. When cycling I don’t want to carry two lens, partly because of the weight and partly because it would increase the risk of damaging even more camera kit in the event of me having an accident. I carry my camera in a bag, that is just big enough I’d have to get a bigger bag as well.

However, every now and then it do take the long lens for an outing  - photography is about looking and seeing and you get a different view. Of course as soon as I see things I want to take pictures off – I find that I have the “wrong” lens. The reality is that I just have to think about different viewpoints.

As it happened, my son who works in Agri-Science was asking me what the fields were like on the way to Bath. The flooding has been very troublesome for farmers, either making it difficult to; lift crops, or plough and drill new crops or hit the yield of freshly drilled fields.  we got talking about the drainage in the flat lands and how it seemed that farmers had been out clearing old ditches and digging new ones. He reckoned that was as much because farmers don’t like being idle as the ditches needed lots of urgent work.

As I cycled along the Lodes Way, past Lode along White Fen Droveway just as it becomes Sandy Road there is is byway heading left and a track right. The byway is White Fen Droveway which dog-legs off.  Although the OSM and Google maps show White Fen Droveway as a straight line it isn’t on the Streetmap 1:25,000 view.

I guess that is how places change names or names get forgotten over time. I have tried looking for an old map of the area – although not that hard. I did find this Post that deals with OS GB 50K Mapping errors which features White Fen Droveway and Sandy Road and points out that Sandy Road is in the wrong place.

A few posts ago I bemoaned the difficulty of tracking down stuff on the National Trust’s Wicken Fen website. It would seem that they are moving stuff onto their main website. Mind you they do have a few other web sites/blogs around including this Wicken Fen and Anglesey Abbey blog.  and this National Trust in Cambridgeshire Fens blog. (I’d better add them to my blogroll. (Along with these – Wicken Warden’s Wildlife Sightings and Lizzie’s  Blog -  Volunteer Grazing Warden – although Sept 2012 was her last week working at Wicken Fen!). It seems that there are loads of Bloggers – here is the Regional Director for the NT in the  East of England’s blog – Wicken Fen gets a mention.

I can now see why they are rationalising on their web presence – it would seem that they don’t know how to set up a decent blogging system under their own website – hence the multiplicity of bloglets.

Back to this Blog – evidence of ditch clearance along the track.

Ditch Clearance – just of Sandy Road (Lodes Way/White Fen Droveway)

The view along Sandy Road (or as you might know it – White Fen Droveway. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the road was re-surfaced – 2009 as it happens. Here is how they did it. This is a Cyclestreets picture of the road – pre-repair.

Sandy Road (aka White Fen Droveway – Lodes Way)

Whilst crossing White Fen I passed a family group out for a walk, with a dog and baby in a pram and a young cyclist. I couldn’t resist the picture of that young cyclist – although even with my long lens she is not much more than a dot on the picture.


Young Cyclist enjoying a ride though White Fen

As the weather picks up so does the popularity of the place – someone walking a dog along Swaffham Bulbeck Lode.

Dog walking – Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

This is one of the larger drains through the area – Commissioners’ Drain. Not the most original of names – but that seems to be the way of naming. This is the view looking towards Wicken – you can see a windmill just to the left of the drain. Wicken has two windmills, one in village and one in Wicken Fen.

Commissioners’ Drain – Lodes Way / Headlake Drove

I took the picture from a bridge over the drain. I could hear the water flow over the sluice gate behind me.  Here is a close(r)-up of the Sluice.

Commissioners’ Drain – Lodes Way / Headlake Drove

Regular readers will know that I often stop at bridges for a rest to take pictures. What with the creation of a Bund around  Burwell Fen (or Adventurers Fen) and the large amount of rainfall over the last few months the area has become a grassy wetland (as intended). I wonder why this tree ended up like this?

Grassy Wetlands – Burwell Fen

This is marked as Burwell Fen Farm and I assumed that it was once an inhabited farm, but MikeC put me right.  There are plans for a corral though. – “No gun fights scheduled at Burwell’s new corral

Burwell Fen Farm – Lodes Way

After round around Wicken Fen and then back down through I took some pictures of Baker’s Fen – also pretty well flooded.

Bird Feeding – Baker’s Fen – Lodes Way

Konik Ponies adding a real sense of drama to the Fen Landscape! Although there is only one in the picture there were others, I took quite a few pictures – but this is the only one that made it into the Post.

Konik Pony – Baker's Fen – Lodes way

At the start of the post I mentioned the farmers don’t like to be idle – here is one chap doing a bit of spraying – taking advantage of the low wind levels I assume.

Crops Spraying – near Reach Lode, Lodes Way

Another random shot of cyclists – although there two are cyclists at rest, sitting on a gate, just down from Reach Lode bridge. You can just about see the bicycles as well. The bank behind them is Reach Lode bank – somewhat higher than the land. The drainage matters.

Cyclists at rest along on Lodes Way (Reach Lode)

As I was cycling along Headlake Drove I noticed some leaves coming out on one of the bushes alongside the road. The first of the year?

Leaves coming out along Headlake drove (Lodes Way)

That bush was unusual though. I can’t see many leaves looking down Headlake Drove. It is dry though.

Headlake Drove (Lodes Way)

At the place where Headlake Drove meets Whiteway Drove another sign the spring might be imminent. Field-warmers laid out in strips capturing the first meagre rays of late winter/ early Spring sunshine. Apparently it is agricultural fleece here is where you can buy it.

Fleeced Fields – along Lodes Way

The same view but with a bit more contrast.

Fleeced Fields – along Lodes Way

On my way back – I stopped on Swaffham Bulbeck Lode Bridge. One thing I have noticed is that because of the rain we have had there is more green lichen-like stuff growing on them.

Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

There has also been more planting on White Fen in order to create a Community Woodland. Apparently they planted a further 300+ trees in February 11th 2013.

White Fen Community Woodland in the growing

As I had stopped I took a picture of Mucky Maisie Marin. This one was for a recent post about my Knog "emergency lights”.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

I had to stand some way way with my zoom lens in order to get more in the shot. As you can see Maisie needs a wash. It has gotten so bad that I can’t change the front gears.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

I am still travelling light – well when not too far from home anyway. Although I don’t carry patches I do have an aerosol inflator/sealant for emergencies.

Maisie Marin – leaning against a bridge over Swaffham Bulbeck Lode

When I cycled along White Fen Droveway (going) I meant to take picture of the drainage work. But it was tricky taking the pictures from where I was with the zoom lens. I remembered at the way back through. A recently cleared “bridge”.

Ditch alongside White Fen Droveway

More ditch clearance along the drove way.

Ditch alongside White Fen Droveway

And to complete the series a recently rough ploughed field, also along the drive way.

Ploughed field alongside White Fen Droveway

And finally the Ely Cycling Campaign seems to have been gathering steam. Whilst on the subject of Ely the by-pass also appears to have been approved albeit with some controversy.

A celeb on a reasonably priced bike - Damian Lewis (Homeland). A Stealth bomber flying in over a tropical beach and an abandoned rocky road in the Peak District, just right for MTBers.

No comments:

Post a Comment