Back to the big skies

THorney June 16

Yesterday I had to have a break from unpacking and tidying so got on my bike and went to the next town (I live in a village) to get a haircut. Of course, I could only find one barber when I got there and it was closed on Monday but at least I got some exercise! I thought I would post some photos of the trip, not to give a reason why my legs ache so much but to give a contrast to the photos of the past two years about Ireland. Here in the Cambridgeshire fens the landscape is a lot flatter.

THorney June 163

I know I should be on the motor bikes but I have to go through the rigmarole of registering them again before I can get them taxed etc. So I treated myself to a couple of new tyres and thought I had better use them.

THorney June 166

From Thorney I headed west towards Peterborough, then south through the arable fields.

THorney June 164

Oilseed rape is commonly planted and is now out of flower but heavy with seed pods.

THorney June 167

And there is lots of wheat too.

THorney June 169

Looking towards the Peterborough power station.

THorney June 168

And the fertile, peaty soil is ideal for potatoes too.

THorney June 1610

The River Nene drains into the sea at The Wash and runs through Peterborough. The whole landscape is artificial and depends on drainage systems and pumps, being below sea level. The Millennium bridge crosses the river for pedestrians and cyclists.

THorney June 1611

Looking east

THorney June 1612

The path crosses more drains to the town of Whittlesey. This is Ball Bridge.

THorney June 1613

Whittlesey is a small market town, perhaps best known for the deep brick pits, the straw bear festival and the flood plains between it and Thorney that are used for skating, in the Dutch style, in hard winters.

THorney June 1615

The road to Thorney is frequently flooded in winter and is bordered by ancient pollarded willows, some of which are now doubled into grotesque shapes.

THorney June 1617

THorney June 1619

THorney June 1618

THorney June 1614

Halfway is another bridge, this time a road bridge, with The Dog in a Doublet pub on the corner.

THorney June 162

Looking the other way you can see one of the water control systems.

THorney June 16201

Water, water everywhere

THorney June 1620

And I finally made it back to Thorney. It is an ancient village that was named for the thorney (blackthorn or hawthorn?) shrubs that grew on a slight mound in the marsh.

THorney June 1622

It is best known for its abbey

THorney June 1623

THorney June 1624

And also for the main village houses, built for the drainage workers by the Duke of Bedford. It used to be home to a wildlife park too till the 1970s but now we don’t even have a post office, but there is a pub of course.

THorney June 1625

Tomorrow, some of the plants I saw on the way and then I hope normal service will be resumed and posts will get more regular.


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6 Comments on “Back to the big skies”

  1. derrickjknight
    June 28, 2016 at 8:01 am #

    What a contrast. When I told Jackie you were back in Cambridgeshire, without yet having read your post herself, and so not knowing the title, she said: ‘How lovely. Big skies’

    • thebikinggardener
      June 29, 2016 at 10:07 am #

      yes – that is the main difference! and long straight roads with nothing to stop the wind – not something you notice till you are pedalling!

  2. joy
    June 28, 2016 at 8:05 am #

    well you can even make thorney look grand …. shame about the haircut .

  3. Meriel
    June 29, 2016 at 4:55 pm #

    Certainly very different to Co Wexford. Was the photo of the unidentified cream house your’s or the Rectory to the abbey?

    • thebikinggardener
      June 29, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

      Mine!!! LOL. I wish! It is on the green next to the Abbey – there are some lovely houses there. I am at the rough end of the village!

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