Cambridgeshire Fens more accessible for cyclists

New bridge opens up Connect2 route

by Mark Appleton   September 3, 2010  

Reach Lode Bridge (picture credit - Sustrans).jpg

Cyclists who appreciate the big skies and wide open spaces of the Cambridgeshire fens will soon be taking advantage of a new bridge over one of the county’s historic waterways.

The official opening of the Reach Lode bridge and Burwell Fen cycleway at 1pm on Sunday, September 12 will be followed by an afternoon of fun and festivities including story telling, children’s activities,nature walks and the opportunity to have a go at stand-up paddleboarding.

Beforehand, a guided cycle ride to the new bridge will leave from Palace
Green, Ely Cathedral at 11am.

The new bridge across the historic Reach Lode, together with a 2 km
cycleway across Burwell Fen form part of the Lodes Way, a 14 km cross
country walking and cycling route being developed by the National Trust as
part of the Wicken Fen Vision, a 100 year plan to create a landscape scale
nature reserve and green lung for the Cambridgeshire and the East of
England.

The Lodes Way runs from Bottisham, to the North East of Cambridge passing
close to the Trust’s Anglesey Abbey and Gardens and on to historic Wicken
Fen. It forms part of National Cycle Network Route (NCN) 11 and has direct links to Ely and Cambridge via NCN 11 and 51 respectively. The route is being developed in by the National Trust in partnership with
Sustrans via a £50 million grant from the Big Lottery Fund’s Living Landmarks.

 Rohan Wilson, Scheme Manager for Sustrans said: “It’s great that this new route and bridges are now open, providing an off-road link across the Fens north of Cambridge, and creating many new circular walking and cycling routes from the fenside villages. People will now be able to walk or cycle into Cambridge avoiding main roads, offering a far greater choice in how to make local journeys."

 The Lodes Way is named after the six historic manmade waterways that the
route crosses connecting fen edge villages to the River Cam. Originally
thought to have been dug by the Romans, it is now thought that were
probably built by the monasteries at Ely and Ramsey in the late Saxon period
to protect grazing land from excessive spring and summer water. Each of the
waterways has a distinctive history and were used extensively for waterborne
trade until the end of the 19thCentury. Today the peaceful Lodes are mainly
used by recreational craft and for leisure activities.