Wicken Fen and the nearby villages of Waterbeach, Lode, Burwell and the Swaffhams were cut off from each other and Cambridge, by a maze of rivers and busy roads. People were often forced to make long detours for relatively short journeys. There was little provision for cyclists and pedestrians with no traffic free routes and poor surfacing on existing roads. Residents of Lode village had long been asking for a signalled crossing of the busy B1102 to make it safer. Popular tourist attractions in the area had poor public transport links so the majority of visitors arrived by car.
“ The bridge represents a significant step in the development of the Lodes Way. For the first time walkers and cyclists will be able to take a cross country route between Wicken Fen and Bottisham and explore new areas of our magnificent countryside. ”
Sustrans worked with the National Trust to create the Lodes Way, a 14.5 km virtually traffic free greenway between Lode and Wicken Fen. Two major new bridges which crossed the main waterways in the area were put in place. They were designed to blend into the surrounding landscape and included sloping ramps to provide easy access for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. A link to a stepped footbridge at Burwell Lode was installed and a signalled crossing of the B1102 was created to provide a safer route to Bottisham and its Village College.
The route has provided a huge ‘green lung’ for the city of Cambridge and is proving popular with local residents. As well as giving access to the expanding nature reserve the scheme has created many new circular routes between villages making it easier and quicker to get around on foot and by bike. People are reaping the benefits and 65% felt the route helped them increase their levels of activity. The National Trust has started Bike Hire at Wicken Fen and is encouraging visitors to cycle to their visitor centre at Anglesey Abbey.
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