The Trail

The Fen Edge Trail route

Each part of the route is being researched by a local partnership, with some walks already published, and others almost ready, whilst others are in the initial planning stages. There are still some parts of the Trail that have not yet been researched -let us know if you would to help. As each walk is published, we will be putting the leaflets for downloading on the website. We will also be organising visits to walk parts of the route at various times. Check the summary map to see the progress of the walks so far.  If you would like a longer route, some of the walks can be combined with the Long Distance Footpaths that travel through the county.

Our Trail takes a meandering route around the edge of what we have called the Fen ‘Basin’ (the land that lies near, and sometimes below, sea level). We are guided by the ‘line’ (contour) where the land reaches 5 metres above sea level, representing (very approximately) the maximum limit of wetland in the past. The map using the ‘hill shade’ shows how flat the fenland area is and gives an idea of the extent of the low-lying land, a region of sometimes dramatic changes including freshwater flooding, inundation by the sea, emergence and disappearance of islands, and formation and destruction of water channels. By following the Trail you will take a journey to discover the past as well as explore the present.

Starting near Peterborough, where the fenland reaches the heart of the city, we travel along the western edge of the Fens through Stanground, Farcet, Yaxley, Stilton, Holme, Conington to Sawtry, and then on to Woodwalton, Ramsey Heights, Ramsey, Ramsey Forty Foot, Bury and Warboys. Further south the route passes through Pidley, Somersham, Earith, Bluntisham, Needingworth, St Ives, Fenstanton, Fen Drayton, Swavesey, Over, Willingham, Rampton, Cottenham, Landbeach, Waterbeach, Milton, and further on to Cambridge, another city with the fenland at its heart. The eastern route passes through or near Fen Ditton, Horningsea, Stow cum Quy, Lode, Swaffham Bulbeck and Swaffham Prior, Reach, Burwell, Fordham, Upware, Wicken and Soham before reaching Isleham and the Suffolk border.

Within the fenland there are several ’islands’ the largest of which is Ely (including Witchford, Sutton, Wilburton, Haddenham, Chettisham and Littleport), with others being Whittlesey, Chatteris, March (including Doddington and Wimblington) and Thorney, and our Trail travels around their borders. Other islands include Manea, Stretham, Stuntney and Littleport. Each walk will have a Map leaflet showing the route, the landscape and geology a Details leaflet to describe places of interest along the way.

The Trail is divided into nine parts (shown below) – four of these take you around the edge of the ‘mainland’ and the other five around the ‘islands’. Within each part there are various numbers of walks depending on the size of the area. Each walk is an average of about 5 miles (8 kilometres) long.

 

In total, the Fen Edge Trail will cover about 300 miles and be made up of about 60 walks.

© Cambridgeshire Geological Society