The first stage of the Wicken Fen Vision Spine Cycle Route from Waterbeach station to Wicken was formally opened on 8 July by Loder Bevington. The ex-chairman of Swaffham Bulbeck Parish Council cut a ribbon on the new bridge across Swaffham Bulbeck Lode. This bridge joins the public road from Lode village to the public road from Upware, making a connection that has never been possible before. One field is crossed on a new all-weather track surfaced with gravel over tarmac to reach the bridge, and the remainder of the field is going to be planted with willows for coppicing as a crop.
To help cyclists and walkers find their way around the area the National Trust has printed a special map of the Wicken Fen Vision area, with information on progress to date and plans for the future. This map is available in waterproof form from the Wicken Fen and Anglesey Abbey visitor centres, and should soon be available on-line for printing at home from www.wicken.org.uk/vision.htm.
Newsletter 74 describes the area, and the new bridge is almost at the centre of the map shown in that newsletter. Access from Cambridge is either by following NCN51 to Bottisham turning left into Lode and towards the Cam, or from NCN11 in Waterbeach through the village then across Bottisham Lock and following the footpath on the south bank of Bottisham Lode to the footbridge over the lode. Once over the Swaffham Bulbeck Lode bridge the villages of Upware, Swaffham Prior, Reach, Burwell and Wicken are reached along quiet tarmac roads.
Funding for further sections of the Spine Route has been agreed, and work will start later in the year around Waterbeach and across parts of the low-lying fenland now owned by the National Trust.
Design work has started on the second brand new bridge needed across the lodes, and negotiations continue for the funding needed for the remainder of the route, which is hoped to be fully completed in 2011.