Cycling UK Louth
Date: 2023 TBA
Venue: Lodge Farm Meadow Campsite OS Grid Reference TL 6186 9718
Lodge Farm Meadow, Ely Road, Hilgay, Downham Market, PE38 0JN
Cost: Car+Tent £15 per person per night
The site has access to many facilities: showers, toilets and water.
There are any number of suggested rides, some of which are detailed below:
(click on the links to view and download the suggested routes)
HILGAY CAMPSITE to WEATHERSPOONS DOWNHAM MARKET (15 miles round trip using Sustrans routes)
HILGAY to ELY (32 mies)
HILGAY to KINGS LYNN (42 miles)
HILGAY to SWAFFHAM (35 miles)
Hilgay is a small village close to the River Great Ouse, approximately 7 miles south of Downham Market using Sustrans Cycling Network or 4 miles using the main roads.
Being situated on the edge of the fens, the terrain is largely flat.
In Hilgay there's the 'Patrice Shapiro Salad Shop' that's open every day from 10.00 am till 10.00 pm and there's also the 'Rose and Crown' Public House that's open on Wednesday 17.30 till 23.00 and 16.00 to 23.00 on Thursday and Friday.
The nearest supermarkets with a large selection of cafes are in Downham Market where there's a Weatherspoons "The Whalebone" There's plenty of room to leave the bikes in the garden (accessed by the iron gates). If arriving by car, the free car park at the Discovery Centre (28-30 Priory Rd, Downham Market PE38 9JS) is a few seconds walk away or there's 3 hours free car parking at Morrisons Supermarket. 'The Whalebone' is actually two buildings. The taller one used to be private dwellings built in the 18th Century. The adjoining building is the original pub trading as early as 1740. Its name reflects the whaling trade which once flourished in this area.
Downham Market is built of an area of high ground overlooking the fertile fenlands, largely immune to flooding. The name means 'a settlement on a hill'. Its origin dates back at least 1000 years as a Saxon settlement, achieving market status by the year 1050.
There's a fascinating windmill in this nearby village. Built in 1835, sadly its now missing its four sails due to recent storm damage. The windmill and its newly refurbished Mill Cafe is temporarily closed but the Blackstone Engine Bar micro-pub is open Friday to Sunday 12.00 noon till 10.30 pm (8.00 pm on Sunday). Jenyns Arms pub at Denver sluice, a few miles along Sustrans NCN route 11, in closed until further notice but the Sluice Complex is well worth of a visit.
The Denver Sluice Complex is vitally important for water management across large parts of the surrounding Fens, situated as it is at the confluence of five watercourses. In 1651 the first sluice was built across the river at Denver, by Dutch engineer Sir Cornelius Vermuyden (the same engineer who had been called in to drain the lands at the Isle of Axholme). Its original purpose was to bar tidal water from the low fen areas and to improve navigation. It had to be rebuilt after bursting in 1713. Indeed it has suffered considerably from flooding over the centuries with major works carrying on into the 1970's.
Welney Wetland Centre is less than 7 miles away, a haven for wildlife. Well worth a visit.
The historic fenland "Eel Island" is worthy of a days visit alone and the Cathedral a prominent feature in this fascinating city.
Lynn is no less historic and is also worthy of a days visit.
Wetherspoons Globe Hotel is located right alongside the River Great Ouse!