Little Wilbraham fen
Bike or drive to the starting point and do the rest on foot. About
4 miles out to the starting point and then a 5 mile circular
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Start at the small bridge over Quy Water (easily missed) on the Newmarket Road (A 1303) that is 1/4 mile before the Quy roundabout - the A14 intersection. You can park or leave your bike on the bridge. This is 4 miles east of the city centre. There are alternative parking places in a lay-by two or three hundred metres before. If you're going by bike, a longer but far more pleasant route is to ride to the far end of Riverside in Cambridge - see the Riverside walk. Head straight across Stourbridge Common on the path alongside the river, passing under the railway line. Continue on the path across Ditton Meadows moving away from the river, turning left towards Fen Ditton village when you reach a junction through some trees. Once in the village turn right up the High Street and cross the busy Horningsea Road, going onto the quiet High Ditch Road straight ahead. This takes you onto the cycle path alongside Newmarket Road. Follow this left about 1/4 mile until you reach the starting point.
View from Quy roundabout of reed beds on Little Wilbraham fen. Photo thanks to Tim Roberts.
Walk a few yards towards the Quy roundabout on the south side of the Newmarket Road - don't take the footpath right by the river just before the bridge. Bear right through the hedge onto a footpath. At a junction you can walk across a stile through a grassy meadow or around the right of it. This brings you a little beyond the Quy roundabout, to your left. Bear right on a boardwalk down Long Drove Way. There is an information board near the gate onto it. A straight and even lode (waterway) runs alongside to your left. This area is Little Wilbraham Fen - the truest remnant of the fens as they were in the Cambridge area. Notice the thick reed beds to your right. After a mile or so follow the drove (path) as it bears left towards Frog End farm. Through the farm you come onto a small road. Take the second footpath on the left as this road makes a 90 degree turn right. This takes you pretty much straight into the Hole in the Wall pub in Little Wilbraham. Enjoy the hospitality of what is now quite a smart restaurant pub. Turn right out of the pub onto a side road, passing a post box and telephone box on your right after a couple of hundred metres or so. At Mill Road Farm take the track left - Mill Road. Perhaps unsurprisingly there is a windmill further on, to the right.
The windmill on the edge of the fen. Photo thanks to Tim Roberts.
Go past this and through Hawk Mill Farm. Find the path out of the opposite end of the farm alongside a ditch. Beware: there are 5 paths into the farm! If in doubt ask for Little Wilbraham River, which the ditch runs into. When this is reached you are walking north-west. Always keep alongside the river, passing an interesting lake with an island in the middle. If you haven't been here before it is difficult to imagine this relatively wild area exists within easy reach of the city.
Avoid a track off to the left after 1/2 mile or so. This would take you to Teversham and Fulbourn Fen. The river is now called Quy Water. Wilder wooded areas appear on your right. This water takes you back to the bridge where you started. You go up and the river goes underneath.