The completion of the Lodes Way, forming part of the National Cycle Network route 11, depends upon a new crossing over Burwell Lode. Although the Lodes way has been declared open, following the completion of new bridges across Swaffham Bulbeck and Reach Lodes, the crossing of Burwell Lode is not accessible to horses or disabled users.
This long distance path will be suitable for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and carriage drivers, as well as being reasonably wheelchair accessible too, if the planned bridge can be completed.
Although planning permission has been granted for the construction work, funding is not yet in place and in these times it is by no means certain when, or if, it will be found.
A bridge has crossed Burwell Lode at this point for as long as anyone can remember. The traditional wooden Cock Up bridge that use to stand here is depicted in Eric Ennion's classic book, 'Adventurer's Fen'. This was suitable for horse drawn transport, the slats on the sloping ramps providing traction for the hooves.
The proposed new replacement will be a much grander affair, with gently sloping gradients on the approach, for ease of use by bicycles, pushchairs and wheelchairs. It will also feature a segregated lane for the free movement of grazing animals across the Lode.
Alongside the Cock Up bridge is an Environment Agency lifting bridge, used for access to maintain the Lodes and their banks. This has recently been refurbished. Presumably it will needed for construction traffic if the work goes ahead on the planned design.
An earth ramp has been built up, currently just a mound, but it is hoped it will form the access route to the new Lode crossing.
The Internal Drainage Board ditches have been diverted around the proposed construction site, as well, ready for work to begin in earnest, should funds be secured for completion of the project.
A number of tall trees have also been trimmed back around the bridge area.