Wonderful Wicken Lode

WickenSunset

Wonderful mooring in Monk’s Lode where it meets the end of Wicken Lode

Our life aboard Ewn Ha Cul is pretty relaxed at the best of times but the last couple of days have been even more so with our trip up Wicken Lode off the River Cam into the National Trust Nature Reserve. We’d been told that it was worth the effort and it truly was.

Cockup Bridge

The ‘cock-up’ bridge at the entrance to Wicken Lode – apparently so named because they were designed to allow passage for horses (as in ‘ride a cock horse to Banbury Cross’) not because they don’t work!

It’s a tight turn to get onto the lode and after that it’s pretty narrow all the way along.

BoatWicken

Not much spare room for passing boats!

WickenLoad

It really is a lovely stretch of waterway

We’d been told there was room to turn around at the end but we were a touch nervous until we actually got there. Two lodes meet at the end and there’s enough room to comfortably turn our 57 foot narrowboat – you could probably manage it with an even longer one. Importantly there’s also a GOBA (Great Ouse Boating Association) mooring where we stayed overnight. No traffic noise, no other boaters, just friendly walkers and cyclists enjoying the area as much as we were.

Adventurers'FenSign

We were moored in Adventurers’ Fen. Sounds romantic but it was named after the original ‘adventurers’ (venture capitalists) who drained the land

We downloaded a map for a 6 mile walk around the fens and set out just after we arrived. It was a glorious day, a little hot for walking but no hills so not too bad. Trouble is the walk was obviously written by someone who’d never done it. At the bridge below we were instructed you to cross over and keep Burwell Lode on our right until we got to Reach Lode. Great, we thought, there must be a bridge over Reach Lode and walked the mile down there.

DSCF3398

Not a bridge in sight so our 6 mile walk had just become an 8 mile walk as we trekked back up to the bridge to come back on the correct side!

BurwellReachJunction

View from the other side when we eventually got to the right spot – definitely no bridge!

GordonWalk

This extra mileage was just the encouragement we needed to add another little bit onto the walk and head for lunch and a cool drink in the Five Miles From Anywhere Inn. A couple of ice cold G & Ts later I was feeling quite human again.

BeerFiveMilesInn

  Despite wearing sunblock our noses still look a touch red!

Back to the boat and there was time to appreciate the mooring properly. It was a beautiful evening with cuckoos calling, reed warblers warbling, dragonflies everywhere and water so clear I could see the fish darting around my feet. If only they’d been trained to give me a pedicure!

CoolingOff

Cooling off with a glass of wine after our walk

This area is Britain’s oldest nature reserve. “On May 1st 1899 the National Trust purchased its first two acre strip for £10 – 55 conveyances later the reserve is over 800 acres.”  It’s a truly magic spot with plenty of walking and cycling trails and loads of wildlife to spot.

Dragonfly

Shame this dragonfly wouldn’t spread its beautiful wings but I did love its buggy red eyes

Amongst its many bird hides the reserve has one of truly novel design.

DSCF3411

In order to help keep the scrubland at bay the Trust has introduced wild Konik ponies – I came across them on an early morning walk – quite a sight!

Konik Ponies

Wild Konik ponies, originally from Poland, seem very at home grazing on the fen

Before we left the next day we went to visit Wicken Mill and buy some locally  ground organic flour.

WickenMill

Wicken Mill

A great way to end a wonderful visit – I have no doubt that, like Arnie, we’ll be back.

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One Response to Wonderful Wicken Lode

  1. Sue E says:

    ‘Ansum, Spot – what a lovely place…

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