Reach Lode & Wicken Lode are part of a series of waterways in Cambridgeshire which all connect to the River Cam. This particular route is a ‘there and back’ style paddle that’s worth it for the novelty of being above the fields on either side during your trip. As the Fenland peat has dried out the fields have sunk which now gives this elevated paddling experience.
Along the route are a few options for stop offs and refreshments – one of which is The Five Mile Inn at Wicken Lode.
Burwell Lode is also easy to access but is notorious for being weedy so you may want to avoid it!
After an hour or so of gentle paddling you will come across your destination point of Reach.
Reach was a major medieval port and merchants who had travelled across the North Sea navigated their boats along these waters to access the many trade fairs that used to take place.
Reach is also the area where you will find the Devil’s Dyke earthworks. These are Anglo Saxon in origin and were put in place to defend East Anglia against attack.
You can also access the Wicken Fen Nature Reserve from Reach, which is the largest preserved piece of Fenland in Britain.
After exploring the area and taking in the sites you make the return journey back the way you have come.
These waters are extremely sheltered and offer the perfect combination of tranquil paddling and sightseeing. Some of the local wildlife you can encounter in this area is stunning.
The total journey time is 9 miles and is easily accessible for the whole family.
How to get there:
Turn north off the A1102 (Cambridge) and follow signs along the Burwell Road.
There are no onsite facilities as such but refreshment stops are available at points along the route.
There are no serious hazards to speak of in the Fens although at times you may encounter fisherman, other water users and wildlife.
Ins and Outs:
The best launch spot is at the north end of Reach village where you drop in from the side of the road.
During winter the Fens do sometimes freeze over – at these times you can instead witness the sport of Fen Skating, a form of ice skating. In days of past farmers would compete for prizes of meat and clothing and you would often see these goods hung outside of pubs during the skating season – ready to be claimed by the victorious.
Wicken Fen is part of a network of wet lands (Fenlands) that stretch out across four different counties – Lincolnshire, Cambridgeshire, Norfolk and Suffolk. Wicken Fen is located in Cambridgeshire and is a recognised spot for outstanding natural beauty.