Having travelled from Cambridge along the south eastern Fen Edge, this walk connects the two historic villages of Reach
. 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.