Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Mid-Week Ride–Wicken Fen again!

Wednesday, 23rd August 2013: The harvest is progressing nicely and by the looks of things so is the natural harvest. We are not quite at the time when people are blackberrying, but almost.  This is another of those meanderings around the Lodes Way (actually a figure of eight.)

I headed out along NCN51 through to Swaffham Prior before turning down Whiteway Drove, then for a change I went up Green Lane around the back of Reach before turning  back through past Reach wood and popping out on Great Lane. Then down towards Blackberry Lane and Straight Drove/Reach lode Underbank to the bridge. For a change I headed down Split Drove turned right (Headlake Drove) over Commissioner’s Drove and towards Upware via Straight Drove (again) and Harrison’s Drove.

Then at Upware I cycled along the side of Reach Lode down to Wicken Lode and Harrison’s Drove (the other one) and then back via Lodes Way.  That is the beauty of the area – there are lodes loads of different paths you can take. Pretty much all of them are either shared paths, or quite country lanes or byways and bridleways.

There are few roads that cause any concerns (well for me anyway). The introduction of the light-controlled crossing at Lode has been a boon. In the last few times I have been across the lights have changed within 10 seconds.

I wish I could say the same about the crossing just after the Quy roundabout.  That seems programmed to ignore button pushes. The trouble is when the wait seems interminable then pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to ignore the crossing. I would imagine that the timings are connected with the lights at the road junction. Which is probably logical from a road-throughput point of view, if you assume it is all about getting motor vehicles through with as little delay as possible at that point. Mind you just up the road they stick bl**dy great islands to block one of the lanes in the road to slow traffic down – not once, not twice but three times in the village.  If I ever have the temerity to cycle up that road then I can almost guarantee I will get a car overtake me and then dive back in front of me – that is most definitely a nasty pinch point.

I reckon that all traffic-calming does is make motorists become more aggressive to win back the time they lost.  If only someone could develop a cheap average speed system. What I would do is monitor speeds through the village and those measured speeding would be flagged and diverted into sin bins for 10 minutes to teach them a lesson rather than ticket them. Motorists are a little like children. I was told that young children (and dogs) should be told off at the time they do wrong, otherwise the punishment is not associated with the crime.

That is where much of our traffic system goes wrong – the punishment appears at some arbitrary point down the line – weeks and is a fine and then points which causes an increase in insurance ever further down the line. So what happens is that the feeling of injustice is even stronger. Whereas what you want is “fair cop guv” and then ten minutes to think about it as your fellow law-abiding motorists whizz by.

Whilst I am on about unpleasant crossings then NCN51 crossing from Green Bank Road up Heath Road is also a nasty crossing especially around the late afternoon rush hour. The problem is that it is a junction rather than a pure crossing.

Here is a link to an older map of Reach.

Awaiting bailing – Church Hill - Reach

This hill gets up to 18m, which isn’t high – but does give a view in the Flatlands.

Awaiting bailing – Church Hill - Reach

The sloe berries are looking good this year.

Prunus sponosa – Green Lane - Reach

It looks like they forgot to combine half this field along Straight Drove. Although because the field headlands get treated differently from the interior it is probably deliberate.

Half-Harvested field – Straight Drove

I sometime use this route of Split Drove, Headlake Drove and unnamed tarmac road to avoid part of Straight Drove because Straight Drive can get a bit chewed up.

Half-Harvested field – Straight Drove

Bales ready for collection – Harrison’s Drove

Another vantage point if the wooden bridge over Wicken Lode.

Walkers alongside Reach Lode (near Upware)

Paddling on Reach Lode – near Upware

Elderberries (Sambucus) – Harrison’s Drove

Slightly out of focus man – Burwell Lode Footbridge

Burwell Lode Footbridge – plenty of green

Piles of “soil” ready to be ploughed into fields to help improve the land. I don’t actually know what this is – there isn’t much of a smell to it,. but it can be more noticeable when it is spread out.

LodeStar Festival Sign – been and gone now though

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