Summer star gazing walk at Wicken Fen
Lode Lane, Wicken, Ely, Cambridgeshire CB7 5XPRoute details and mapDownload as a print friendly PDF
On a clear night you can see some 4,000 stars sparkling in our universe. Perfect for families and anyone unfamiliar with astronomy, this guide will introduce you to star gazing in the low-lying landscape of Wicken Fen, offering a broad skies which are perfect for star gazing.
- Bus stop
Start: National Trust car park, grid ref: TL565706
Turn left out of the car park. Continue in a straight line past the entrance to the Visitor Centre along the hard-surfaced path (waymarked NCN11). Shrubs and trees are on your left; the reed-edged water of Wicken Lode is on your right take care to stay on the paths.
The Summer Triangle is made up of three bright stars positioned in a triangle, directly overhead. Look out also for the Plough and Great Bear.
After 492yds (450m) follow the path round to the left, and then turn right across the footbridge of Monks Lode. The bridge is wide, but has no hand rails, so again take care.
The Perseid meteor shower is due on the 23 July, reaching its peak on 12 August. Whilst looking for stars, listen out for the eerie bark of the Muntjac deer, or the Tawny owls familiar toowhit-twhoo. In June and July, Glow worms might light your way and from March to August lapwing and redshank (pictured) call. You may also hear a chorus of widgeon and teal from October to March.
Turn left to follow the path, keeping Monks Lode on your left. After 109yds (100m), turn right off the hard-surfaced path on to the grass path. Within 10yds (10m) the landscape broadens to give you views over Bakers Fen. Find a comfortable spot and settle down to an evening of star gazing. Retrace your steps to return to the car park.
The stars you see in the sky are part of a spiral group of millions of stars called the Milky Way galaxy. With its dark skies, away from the intrusive lights of towns, the fens offer a great place to view the thousands of stars and other objects in our universe.
End: National Trust car park, grid ref: TL565706
- Trail: Walking
- Grade: Easy
- Distance: 0.5 miles (0.8km)
- Time: 15 minutes
- OS Map: Landranger 154
The terrain is flat and, apart from the last 11yds (10m), the route follows a hard-surfaced path.
- How to get here:
By bike: National Cycle Network route 11 passes the reserve boundary
By bus: Service 12, Cambridge to Ely. Alight Soham High St, then 3 miles (5km) on footpaths to Wicken
By train: Ely, 9 miles (15km)
By road: 17 miles (27km) north-east of Cambridge and 3 miles west of Soham, just off A1123
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