Fen Landscape – Swavesey

Chain ditch, Swavesey, December 2021

With the walking group at Swavesey, Wednesday 1st December 2021.  Parked in Market Street and headed NW out of the village, across the Guided Busway and along the bank between the Lagoon and Swavesey Lake.  Strong cold wind from the west whipped up the surface of the Lagoon; crouched tufted ducks bobbed up and down.  Placid mallard rested in calm water on the Lake in the lee of the bank.  A grey heron flapped by with lazy strokes of its down-pointing wings.  Gold finches twittered in the bushes and fled ahead of us.

Mare Fen, Swavesey, December 2021

We climbed up onto the bank of the Great Ouse and walked NE.  Whistling ‘whee-ooes’ carried on the wind from a raft of wigeon on the river.  A pair of Egyptian geese sat aloof at the edge of the water.  Fieldfares, the first of the winter, rose up from the hawthorns with a chattering ‘tchak-tchak-tchak’.  Sleepy eyed black and brown cattle lay sheltered by the embankment at Web Hole Sluice.  Two mute swans dabbled in the chain ditch and a kestrel hovered hopefully over the reeds.

Swavesey Drain, Swavesey, December 2021

A path overhung with bare winter bushes brought us to the edge of Over.  Just beyond two scandalously derelict bungalows, we took a path SW past an orchard, a rare remnant of a once proud industry, to cross Swavesey Drain.   Beyond that lay reedy marginal land. In the distance a windmill and a communications tower signalled the passing of technological ages.  A battered post along Cow Fen Road marked the line of the Greenwich meridian.

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