A journey across a landscape and time
Landscape heritage: Explore the Cambridgeshire Fen Edge
The Cambridgeshire landscape has a unique and fascinating history, from floods and glaciers to deep seas, tropical lagoons and even volcanoes! By exploring the Fen Edge much of this history can be discovered through looking at the clues that remain.
More than a walking route, the Fen Edge Trail enables you to explore the rich Landscape Heritage of this part of lowland England. The details given for the places of interest along the Trail can also be used by non-walkers to visit each area and we also provide information on events and organisations on the Fen Edge. There are many places that deserve at least a half day’s exploration in themselves, and these can either be added to a nearby walk or visited independently. The links between geology, ecology, history and current day life in the Fens reveal themselves and the more you look, the more you discover and the more fascinating it becomes!
The Trail itself is a series of walks that take you from the Lincolnshire border in the northwest of the county to the Suffolk border in the southeast, using the 5 metre contour (where the land lies 5 metres above sea level) as a guide. This is where low-lying fenland meets the surrounding higher land and can be taken as approximately the maximum extent of the once extensive wetland, although this has varied greatly over time.
With short detours to visit nearby viewpoints, historical and cultural sites and areas good for wildlife, the walks enable you to enjoy this fascinating area that has been of strategic importance for the local inhabitants since their first arrival. As well as exploring the landscape and history of the Fens, you will discover the geology that lies underneath and that forms the surrounding ‘highlands’, revealing stories of past environments and the animals and plants that lived in them at various time’s in earth’s history.
The Fen Edge Trail is an initiative set up by the Cambridgeshire Geological Society as part of our Geosites work. Our partners in developing the Trail are several local organisations who are each exploring their local landscape to contribute to the project. Our main partner is The Fenland Trust in Yaxley. Other key partners are the Great Fen, together with the Great Fen Heritage Group, and the Wildlife Trust (Beds, Cambs and Northants). Other organisations already contributing to the project include Warboys Archaeology Project, Chatteris Museum, Discover Ramsey, Burwell Museum, Farcet Parish Council, Thorney Heritage Museum, Holme History, and Wicken Fen (National Trust).
If you or your group would like to get involved in the Fen Edge Trail, please contact us. You may like to contribute information on local history, landscape, farming, wildlife or culture or you could help with designing one of the walks.
If you would like to get involved in the project or receive our emailed updates and news, please contact us.
NEW WALK PUBLISHED
The fourth walk on the Fen Edge Trail has now been published and can be downloaded. This walk links the villages of Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Prior to the fascinating village of Reach, situated on a peninsula jutting out into the fenland. Continuing on from the Stow cum Quy to Swaffham Bulbeck walk, it takes you further along the edge of the chalk escarpment on the southeast edge of the Fens, and completes the Stow cum Quy to Reach part of the Trail.
The theme of the walk is ‘along the edge of the chalk hills‘ and the walk starts and finished up on the chalk slopes. The landscape here shows tales of ancient ports and is linked to settlements up in the southern hills by the famous medieval earthwork, the Devil’s Dyke.
Find out more by downloading the two leaflets (Walk Details and Maps) from the Stow cum Quy to Reach page.
Fen Edge Trail Walks so far
To be published 2019
Talks and events: Learn about geology – local and worldwide
April and May 2019
© Cambridgeshire Geological Society