Wicken Fen Octavia Hill walk

Wicken Fen, Lode Lane, Wicken, Cambridgeshire CB7 5XP

Route details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
Wicken Fen Visitor centre where you start and finish your walk © National Trust

Wicken Fen Visitor centre where you start and finish your walk

Konik ponies graze the scrub to help maintain the wetland © National Trust Images/Paul Harris

Konik ponies graze the scrub to help maintain the wetland

Listen for the drumming sound of the snipe in spring © North East Wildlife

Listen for the drumming sound of the snipe in spring

Reach Lode bridge crosses over historic reed-lined Reach Lode © Right Image Photography

Reach Lode bridge crosses over historic reed-lined Reach Lode

Route overview

Starting from the original area of Wicken Fen, acquired in 1899, you'll head along the Lodes Way Cycle Route and out on to Burwell Fen, a piece of land acquired in 2001 as part of the Wicken Fen Vision, a project to create a nature reserve to protect the original fen and create more space for people and wildlife, meeting with the aspirations of Octavia Hill more than a century ago.

Route details

See this step-by-step route marked on a map

Route of the Octavia Hill walk at Wicken Fen, Cambridgeshire
  • Directions
  • Route
  • Bus stop
  • Parking
  • Toilet
  • Viewpoint

Start: Wicken Fen visitor centre, grid ref: TL563705

  1. Start at the visitor centre. As you exit the Visitor centre, Wicken Lode will be on your right. Following the path, keeping the water to your right, you'll pass some ash trees and Wicken's poor fen to the left. This is common land from where, traditionally, local villagers had the right to collect sedge and peat.

    Show/HideVisitor Centre

    Take a look inside the centre to find out more about the wildlife and history of Wicken Fen.

    Wicken Fen Visitor centre where you start and finish your walk © National Trust
  2. Cross Monks Lode at Normans bridge then turn left and follow the Lode, keeping it on your left.

  3. Turn right to follow the cycle track, you're now walking across Bakers Fen. Look out for Highland cattle and Konik ponies.

    Show/Hide Highland cattle and Konik ponies

    We use Konik ponies and cattle to graze the scrub, preventing the formation of woodland on the Fen and the loss of this unique wetland habitat. They're free to roam across a large area, but you should be able to spot them somewhere out on the Fen.

    Konik ponies graze the scrub to help maintain the wetland © National Trust Images/Paul Harris
  4. Pass Priory Farm on your right and when you reach Burwell Lode, use the concrete footbridge to cross over the Lode to Burwell Fen - look out for herds of Roe Deer on the Fen. Follow the cycle path.

    Show/HideBurwell Fen

    We acquired Burwell Fen in 2001 as part of the Vision Project. To assist the re-creation of wetland habitat a low level clay bund has been constructed to enclose 183 acres (74ha) of the Fen. The bund will help retain water taken from Burwell Lode during the winter months. Raising the water table will lead to the creation of floodplain grazing marsh, which will provide an important wintering habitat for birds such as wigeon, snipe and teal, and a breeding habitat in spring for lapwing and waders, including redshank and avocet.

    Listen for the drumming sound of the snipe in spring © North East Wildlife
  5. Cross over Reach Lode bridge. Turn right after the bridge and walk along Reach Lode, keeping it on your right.

    Show/HideReach Lode bridge

    Opened in 2010, the bridge was the key link in the Lodes Way Cycle Route, a joint project with Sustrans to create a cycle route from Bottisham to Wicken.

    Reach Lode bridge crosses over historic reed-lined Reach Lode © Right Image Photography
  6. Follow Reach Lode past Pout Hall Corner, the triangular pond where Reach Lode and Burwell Lode meet, and on to Upware.

  7. At Upware use the road to cross over the Lode and walk back down the other side until you reach the wooden Cock-up bridge.

  8. Cross Cock-up bridge and turn left, following Wicken Lode on your left. Here's a good place to see the height difference between the undrained land on the opposite side of the bank compared to the land on the side you're walking on which has been drained - the peat has shrunk much lower then the Lode Bank.

  9. Cross back over Normans bridge and return to the Visitor centre and café.

End: Wicken Fen visitor centre, grid ref: TL563705

  • Trail: Walking
  • Grade: Moderate
  • Distance: 6 miles (9.6km)
  • Time: 2 hours 30 minutes
  • OS Map: Landranger 154
  • Terrain:

    Even surfaces, follows a cycle path for part of the route. The rest is along wide, grassy lode banks. Dogs welcome on leads on the reserve, and visitor centre.

  • How to get here:

    By bike: National Cycle Network route 11 passes the reserve boundary; see Sustrans

    By bus: Route 12, Cambridge to Ely (alight Soham High St, then 3 miles (5km) on footpaths to Wicken)

    By train: Ely train station, 9 miles (15km) from Wicken Fen

    By road: 17 miles (27km) north-east of Cambridge and 3 miles (5km)
    west of Soham, just off A1123

  • Facilities:

    • Parking : 120 yds (£2.50 non-members 2013)
    • Food and drink : Café in Visitor centre serving soup, 'Fen Docky' and cake.
    • Cycle hire
    • Shop selling local crafts and wildlife books

  • Contact us