Wicken Fen - Village Explorer Cycle Route
Learn about fen life and history by riding though local villages and visiting their museums, churches and archaeological sites. Visit Burwell, Reach and Swaffham Prior on this 14 mile ride.
Wicken Fen Visitor Centre
Follow signs for the National Cycle Route 11 south from the Wicken Fen Visitor Centre, with Wicken Lode waterway on your right.
Continue to follow National Cycle Route 11 - follow the route through a sweeping left turn and over a low bridge, turn left after crossing the bridge.
Continue to follow National Cycle Route 11 - when the cycle-way divides, take the right fork and then follow the route though a sharp right turn. Ride in a straight line (over two cattle grids) until you reach Priory Farm on your right.
At Priory Farm turn left onto road, leaving cycle route 11.
Continue on this road (Little Fen Drove) until you come to Burwell. Turn right onto North Street. Continue to head south on North Street past the Anchor P.H and the The Fox P.H. North Street seamlessly becomes The Causeway and then The High Street. In Burwell there is the earthwork remains of Burwell Castle, built in 1143 and the Burwell Museum and Windmill. Continue along the High Street past St. Mary's Church.
Burwell Castle (built 1143) consists of the earthworks of an unfinished counter-castle raised by King Stephen during the Anarchy (1139-53) in order to contain the Earl of Essex in his redoubt within the Fenland surrounding the Isle of Ely. Although originally built in stone, the masonry remains have been plundered leaving just the steep earth banks. The ditches, originally intended to be filled with water but never fully completed, are particularly impressive.
Leaving Burwell, turn right onto Reach Road. Follow this road until you come to Reach.
A tarred brick and clunch (a local hard chalk-like stone) tower mill built in 1820 and working until around 1955. Grade II* Listed building, the mill has undergone a major restoration as part of a £420,000 project, funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund. Burwell Museum adjoining.
Entering Reach take the left turn at the Dyke's End P.H. across the village green, then left again onto the Swaffham Road. Follow this road until you come into Swaffham Prior.
Carry straight onto Lower End road which then becomes High Street. You are now in the centre of Swaffham Prior. Turn right onto Station Road, after a short distance this road becomes Whiteway Drove.
Swaffham Prior is perhaps best known for its two churches (Saint Mary's and Saints Cyriac and Julitta's) in the same churchyard. In 1667 a parliamentary order combined the churches under a single parish.
Continue along Whiteway Drove through a sharp right-hand bend at Highbridge Farm. Whiteway Drove now becomes Headlake Drove.
Carry straight on through the crossroads and turn right at the next "T" junction. Follow signs for National Cycle Route 11.
Continue to follow National Cycle Route 11 crossing Reach Lode via the bridge.
Reach Lode Bridge
The bridge was opened in May 2010, and provides the link between Anglesey Abbey and Wicken Fen for walkers and cyclists.
Continue to follow National Cycle Route 11 across Burwell Fen. Cross the footbridge over Burwell Lode; the bridge is fitted with cycle gullies to help get bikes over the bridge. Follow National Cycle Route 11 back to the Wicken Fen Visitor Centre.
Wicken Fen Visitor Centre
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