Cawdle Fen: The Extended Edition

A circular walk from Ely via Witchford, Little Thetford and the River Ouse

Length: Approximately 10.81 miles

Starting at Ely station, exit the car park onto Station Road and turn left. You should see the Cathedral ahead. Cross over at the traffic lights by the roundabout after passing the Tesco car park and head up Back Hill. As you ascend, you will come to a mini roundabout by some school buildings; turn left down Barton Road and immediately left again (the path will be signposted for Cawdle Fen).

Head along the driveway and through the school playing fields, noting the somewhat disturbing assault course. Eventually, you will reach a golf course; stick to the footpath (which is reasonably well signposted) and beware of flying balls!

The footpath emerges onto Angel Drove, which is quite a busy route so cross carefully. Head down the footpath to the right of the sewage works (again, it is labelled "Cawdle Fen"). The trail continues across several fields. Continue until you reach a driveway with a chicken farm on the other side

Turn right along the driveway until you reach the A10. Turn left and then take an almost immediate right down Bedwell Hey Lane, taking care as you cross the A10. The lane carries on in a straight line until you reach the edge of the Lancaster Way Business Park.

Turn left, following the Public Footpath signs at all times. You will be skirting the perimeter of an old airfield, taking a clockwise path round the southe-west corner. The path itself curves to the right from time to time; continue along this route until you reach a set of gates with some stern security warnings.

At the gates, turn left to stay on Bedwell Hey Lane. After passing some further security warnings on your left, you will pass a gate that bars the lane to vehicles. Continue along the (now tarmac) road until you reach Witchford Main Street.

Turn left along Main Street and proceed into the village. After passing the Church on your left, the School on your left and Common Road on your right, you will come to a public footpath on your left. Take this path and follow it until you get to a left turn.

Follow the left turn and continue along the edge of a field. After passing a gate, the vehicle track goes straight ahead but you need to follow the footpath to the right. This will take you past a nature reserve before bearing left. Continue along the path until you reach Grunty Fen Road.

At Grunty Fen Road, turn right then immediately left after crossing the water channel. This is Grunty Fen Drain. Follow the footpath that runs along the bank as it meanders right and then left, keeping parallel with Grunty Fen Road.

Eventually, the path will take a sharp left turn away from the drain before emerging on Red Fen Road. Turn left, taking care of any traffic. Eventually, the road will emerge onto the A10; cross here and take the road opposite (The Wytches) into Little Thetford.

Take the Wytches into the village. As the road curves to the right, you may notice a sporting area on your left. Continue along the road until it becomes Main Street in the village centre.

Follow Main Street until you see a grassy area on your right. Take the path on your left (labelled as a public fotpath but not Cawdle Fen, just to confuse matters). Follow the path alongside the ditch as it curves to the left and emerges onto a field.

Follow the path round the perimeter of the field, keeping the ditch to your left and the field to your right. As you enter the trees, the path will bear right before taking you to a level crossing. As ever, be careful when crossing, as there is no indication that a train is coming (apart from the train itself).

After crossing the tracks, follow the path along the water channel until you reach the confluence with the Ouse. At this point, cross the large footbridge and continue along the towpath, keeping the river to your right.

As you draw level with the railway bridge, you will encounter another level crossing. Although the line is only single track, it is still in regular use so be careful of trains. Cross over the line and follow the path, keeping the road on your left and the river on your right.

At the end of the path, you will emerge onto Station Road. Note the lack of pavement on your side of the road; you will need to cross over and turn left. Follow the fork towards the level crossing, but do not attempt to cross otherwise you will be waiting for Hell to freeze over. Instead, cross back over and take the path heading under the bridge (noting the dents in the bright yellow paint). Follow the footpath back up to the road and then cross back over to reach the station car park.