Why not go cycling in the Fens for #CelebrateTheFens day. Andrew Dunn @andrewdunn52 tells us why he has found a new love of #cycling in #TheFens. See his blog below….

The lockdown period has given us an opportunity to do things that have been put off for a long time.
For me, I’ve made the real effort of getting fit whilst enjoying the excellent spring weather.  So the most obvious fit was to dust the bike down out the garage and explore the excellent fenland landscape.
No sooner was I getting back into it, but I was joined by my nephew, Harvey for what are turning out to be some excellent rides.  Take the ride from Ely to Shippea Hill station for example.  This was one we highlighted early on as a ‘go to’ place.  The reason being is that there is something intriguing about Shippea Hill station.  Let’s face it, it’s in the middle of nowhere and research tells us that it is the least used station in the UK.  The intrigue goes a step further as you actually wonder what the purpose of the station actually is?  I remember as a child growing up in the 80’s and that days out to the seaside would invariably see the train stop at Shippea Hill on the way home.  No one would ever get on or off 30 odd years ago, and things clearly haven’t changed since then as only two trains stop at the station each day.
The ride out to Shippea Hill takes us from Ely to Queen Adelaide and onto Prickwillow.  The landmark location in Prickwillow is the Engine Museum.  Like every other similar attraction, it looks sad as it is currently shut to the pandemic but it provided a nice place to stop for a drinks break before pedalling down the Mile End Road en-route to the crossroads with Mildenhall Road.  Thankfully, the weather gods are with us and there is no rain blowing in across the fields although it is a bit breezy.  The road is lovely and flat, if a little bumpy!  As we edge closer to Shippea Hill, there is literally nothing for miles around, and at times you feel like you are in another world as the landscape provides the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of every day life.
We arrive at Shippea Hill, and witness two trains speed through the station, and take a photo to mark our arrival.  I mentioned earlier that the landscape is so flat, but interesting to note that as you go in and out of Queen Adelaide there are 3 hills to navigate, and as we found out to our cost they can be slightly difficult to climb as you enter the latter stages of 20 mile round trip!
Prickwillow was the gateway to our most recent ride as we went from Ely to Isleham.  For those of you who know the route, we arrived in Prickwillow and did a swift right turn to just before the museum.  On the day of the ride, we got caught by two downpours and these were on what is an almost never ending road from Prickwillow to Isleham.  The downpours were coming at us across the fields but thankfully didn’t last long, but thank goodness for the waterproofs!
On arrival in Isleham we went past the popular pick your own strawberry farm, and then civilisation with lots of villagers out and about.  There’s a delightful smell from the village Chinese takeaway as we ride past, but we stop off at the village co-op for an ice cream.
The ride back is good as the wind has dropped and the route is now bathed in sunshine.  The ‘road that goes on forever’ back to Prickwillow is about 6 miles.  In the final two miles, the road gets really bumpy.  There is no hiding place from the bumps.  It’s a case of recovering from one and then having to endure another!  Thankfully it evens out as we take a break in Prickwillow.  There’s a lovely view of Ely Cathedral as you head towards Queen Adelaide, followed by the buzz of a return to Ely.  I say ‘buzz’ but due to the lockdown that perhaps isn’t the case, but there is something special about Ely, and it will once again be our starting point for our next ride as we continue our cycling tour of the magnificent fens!

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