Cambridge to Isleham:

Reach to Wicken

Two walks: 

1 (27) Reach to Burwell – published

2 (28) Burwell to Wicken via Upware – to be published 2023


An additional walk is possible into Wicken Fen, one of the most important wildlife sites of the Fen Edge.

For a key to the geology see the British Geological Survey map viewer.

Walk 1 (27): Reach to Burwell


‘This walk includes a wealth of past economic geology

The route: ‘from the fen up onto the Chalk hills, and back down to the lodes’

4.1 miles (6.6 km)  Walking guide time 2hrs 30mins plus stops

In partnership with

Burwell Museum and Windmill

Having travelled from Cambridge along the south eastern Fen Edge, this walk connects the two historic villages of Reach and Burwell. Rising out of the fen up towards the Chalk ridge, it meanders through a linear village and then takes you back down to the 5 m contour, ending by one of the famous fen lodes. You first walk along the Devil’s Dyke, an Anglo Saxon (7th century) defensive construction. This imposing rampart and ditch runs straight from the boggy fen up to the wooded Chalk highlands at Wood Ditton (7.5 miles from Reach), an important area with King Anna’s settlement in Exning nearby. The large village of Burwell is steeped in history, owing its success to the freshwater springs at the base of the Totternhoe Stone and the quarrying of this famous rock for building stone, lime and cement. Phosphate in the form of ‘coprolites’ was also mined from the Cambridge Greensand, a layer at the base of the Chalk that is now just below the surface of the Fen Edge, and the yellow brick came from the Gault clay pits to the west of the village. You visit two Local Geological Sites, seeing several springs and an accessible quarry into the Zig Zag Chalk. You also pass a ruined castle, a marvelous example of a perpendicular church and some very ancient houses. Look out for the informative black plaques erected by the Burwell History Society along the way.


Walk 2 (28): Burwell to Wicken

To be published 2023


Via the village of Upware and Wicken Fen Nature Reserve


© Cambridgeshire Geological Society