A journey across a landscape and time
Landscape heritage: Explore the Cambridgeshire Fen Edge
The Fen Edge Trail is a walking route around the Cambridgeshire Fens, roughly following the land that lies 5 metres above sea level (the 5 metre contour), where the low-lying fenland meets the surrounding higher land.
With short detours to visit nearby viewpoints, historical and cultural sites and areas good for wildlife, the Trail enables 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 landscapes of the Fens, you will discover the rocks that lie underneath and those that form the surrounding ‘highlands’, as well as finding out about the life that existed when they were formed, and how the past and current landscapes have affected fenland life.
More than a walking route, the Trail enables you to explore the rich Landscape Heritage of this part of lowland England. 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 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.
The story so far
The 5 metre contour can be taken as the ‘edge’ of the fenland and it is therefore a guide for the Fen Edge Trail although, for practical and other reasons, the route will go onto lower and higher land for much of its course and crosses the contour in numerous places. The 5 metre line represents the approximate maximum extent of the wetlands that, at various times, existed in the fenland basin. Due to the dynamic landscape history of the area, including flooding from rivers draining the surrounding higher land, invasion by the sea, the effects of meltwater in glacial rivers and lakes, erosion in times of permafrost and glaciers themselves, each part of the Fenland has its own story to tell. Finding clues of these stories in the features that remain, as well as from historical papers and maps in recent times, is a challenging but fascinating task. Walking the Trail and exploring the numerous places of interest along the way will gradually reveal some of this history and the associated human story that accompanies it.
NEW WALK PUBLISHED
The third walk on the Fen Edge Trail has now been published and can be downloaded. This walk is from the small, picturesque village of Wistow to the large, historic village of Warboys. Continuing on from the Ramsey to Wistow walk, it takes you further up the valley of the Bury Brook to Broughton and onto the ‘highlands’ of Huntingdonshire, and completes the Ramsey to Warboys part of the Trail. Thanks to all who helped with its development, particularly to Warboys Archaeology Project.
The theme of the walk is ‘ high hills, distant skies and deep time‘ and, intriguingly, our quote for this part of the the Trail is ‘You are never more than a quarter of a mile from a volcano on this walk (its beneath you!).’ Gradually, the landscape reveals an ‘ice-age’ past as well as tales from deep below you to the skies above. Find out more by downloading the two leaflets (Walk Details and Maps) from the Ramsey to Warboys page.
The next walk, from Swaffham Bulbeck to Reach, will be issued in the next few weeks.
LATEST WALK PUBLISHED
The Wistow to Warboys walk, can now be downloaded from the Ramsey to Warboys webpage
13th Feb 2019, 13th March 2019
If you would like to get involved in the project or receive our emailed updates and news, please contact us.
© Cambridgeshire Geological Society