With spring on the way, now is the perfect time to explore the great outdoors, and the outdoors doesn’t get any greater than the Cambridgeshire Fens. Based just a stone’s throw away from Cambridge, the Fens are a great place to stretch your legs away from the hustle and bustle of the charming city.
The area stretches for approximately 200 square miles between Cambridge and Peterborough, providing countless walks, cycling routes, sights, and attractions.
Whether you’re looking to unwind on a business trip or take your Cambridge city break off the beaten track, a day exploring the Cambridgeshire Fens is a must when visiting the region. Read on to discover all that the Cambridgeshire Fens has to offer.
Take a walk on the wild side
The Cambridgeshire Fens provides an interesting landscape to explore. The marshland that makes up the Fens has a long history. While during the modern-day, its disappearing act has resulted in the area becoming the subject of extensive conservation efforts.
Thanks to the work of various organisations, including the Wildlife Trusts, fenland is being revived. Seeing this landscape for yourself is however a must.
There are a number of walking routes to explore, with the most recently opened Fen Edge Trail providing hikers with a grand tour of the most ancient fenland. Here The Guardian’s Patrick Barkham talks about his experience on the Fen Edge Trail:
“Usually a feature of valley bottoms, here the clay forms the hills. It’s the reason for Peterborough’s historic brickworks and a rich source of Jurassic fossils. The route skirts pretty woodland edges filled with bridal white blackthorn and bumblebees from Riddy Wood to Lady’s Wood, known for its spectacular carpet of bluebells in spring. I follow deer tracks in the clay as the chiffchaffs sing, admiring the purple-and-silver of Woodwalton Fen’s birch woodland in the distance.”
Step back in time
As well as exploring ancient marshland, a visit to the Fens delivers an interesting history lesson. Explore Stonea Camp’s Iron Age hill fort in March, which is the lowest hill fort in the country.
Alternatively, opt for a family-friendly trip to Flag Fen Archaeology Park in Whittlesey to discover how a Bronze Age village really operated.
Explore Fenland towns and villages
Break up your country walks by exploring the historic towns and villages of Fenland. The Cambridgeshire Fens is home to several charming towns and villages, with Whittlesey, Chatteris, and March among the best to explore.
The vibrant market town of Wisbech is said to be the capital of the Cambridgeshire Fens making it the perfect place for a day out. Bursting with Georgian architecture, Wisbech is elegant and historic. You can even see what life is like in one of these fine Georgian townhouses by visiting the National Trust’s Peckover House and Gardens.
The best way to see any of these Fenland destinations is by foot. You’ll find that many towns and villages in the Fens have their own dedicated trails to guide you through their most famous sights.
Watch Fenland life unfold
In addition to being home to lots of friendly Cambridge locals, the Fens is the best place to see some of the region’s other residents. The Cambridgeshire Fens is full of wildlife hotspots and nature reserves. Gault Wood, Holme Fen, Kings Dyke Nature Reserve, Nene Washes, Ouse Washes, and Welney Wetland Centre are some of the best places to experience and admire the Fens’ diverse wildlife.