Canoe Days Out

Cambridgeshire - Reach Lode - Reach to Wicken Fen (& return)

This page was submitted by David and Rhoda Wilson (E-mail this submitter)
How to get there - Reach is a village on a turning north off the A1102 Cambridge - Burwell road.

For those with SatNav the postcode is CB5 0JD.

Get a map with driving directions to start (enter the postcode of your starting point at A)

Suggested Launch Site - Minor road (cul-de-sac) at north end of Reach village. Roadside parking. Launch from side of road.

General Description - A very placid drainage channel worth canoeing for the novelty of being ABOVE the fields on either side - the fields have sunk as the fenland peat dried out. After a couple of miles you get to the Five Mile Inn at Upware for a break. Close to the Five Mile Inn Wicken Lode comes in on the right and you can canoe beside and visit Wicken Fen (see below). Ignore Burwell Lode, which is closer to Reach - too weedy! Total round trip about 9 miles.

Reach was a major medieval port and merchants from across the North Sea sailed up Reach Lode to get to the trade fairs there. Reach is also at the end of the Devil's Dyke, the largest of the Anglo-Saxon earthworks built to defend East Anglia.

Wicken Fen is a nature reserve (National Trust), the largest piece of preserved fenland. Entrance is at the far eastern end of Wicken Lode.

Comments on this trip

Patterdale Paddler
21 Sep 2016
Paddled this today all very pleasant with little weed. We ventured down Wicken Fen and were welcomed by the ranger who wondered out loud why more canoes don't go down there!The lock at Upware to get on the Cam is a faff but doable.....go through with a cruiser if you can!I hammocked overnight by the side of Reach Lode at the far end of The Hythe in Reach with nothing but positive comments from the locals.

15 May 2011
Re Access to Wicken Fen NT site. They say they do not allow canoes down the narrow lode that leads to Wicken Fen landing jetty, because of disturbance (despite the fact that they run an electric boat up and down it for paying customers!)

15 May 2009
Thanks Nick - I've made the correction.

13 May 2009
Just a small correction - the pub at Upware is not called the Pike & Eel. It is (and has been for many years) the Five Miles Inn (Five Miles From Anywhere).Burwell Lode is easily passable at most times of the year. It tends to get a little weedy at the Cock-Up bridge but you really wouldn't want to go much further down it than that anyway.

03 Jan 2009
Thank you so much for this trip. It's one of my favourite paddles - such lovely clear water, wildlife and aquatic flora. Top tip: if there's a breeze from the west, as there often is, take an umbrella and you can sail down Wicken Lode in total tranquillity!

Paul P
14 Mar 2007
Burwell and Reach lodes can be almost impassable because of water weed growth between late May and late July each year. The EA cut the weeds in late July and then navigation is ok until the following May.

11 Aug 2006
If you need a drink afterwards, you can't do better than a pint at The Dyke's End. Read the story. Pubs like this deserve to be supported!


Wicken Fen (N.T.)
Reach Village
Devil's Dyke

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The last trip loaded was Great Haywood to Great Haywood (Circular Route) on the River Trent / Trent & Mersey Canal by Peter Robinson