The path is just outside March, which lies just outside the Ouse Washes Landscape Partnership area but is near Manea and within the wider Fenland area, and is therefore typical of the local tourism, recreational and countryside scene.
This dismantled railway line used to run from Chatteris, through Wimblington – which had its station that is now demolished – to March on the line from London to Kings Lynn, it ran from 1879 to the 1990s: http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/w/wimblington/
The railway track was always important and regularly used by passengers and freight until the numbers of trains dwindled and the track then persisted as a diversion route. The A141 bypass now follows the line to the south to Chatteris and bypasses Wimblington and Doddington. There are quite a lot of railway lines in East Anglia that have fallen out of use and become public rights of ways or have been preserved as historic artefacts – there’s a disused railway line at Somersham Nature Reserve, where there is also a lake following gravel extraction for the railway. You can read more about it here.
The railway line ride is part of Woodman’s Way and legally a footpath but it is signed as a permissive bridleway, which means the land owner has given permission for it to be used as a bridleway but this permission can be withdrawn at any time. It is a 2 mile ride to Wimblington from March.
A map of the circular route is in the Cambridgeshire County Council’s leaflet, which has other information about the area, including historical facts. Visit this link.
I usually go down the railway line as part of a circular route that includes carefully crossing the A141 Isle of Ely bypass to and from Wimblington and most of the route shown in the leaflet – I can only go down Knight End Road on my pony! – but occasionally I go one way then back, sometimes both at fast paces! I usually pass several other users so I am always careful. At the March end, it is accessible by a rough byway track that also continues onto the farmland. The choice is nice but I often do take the railway line because it offers a nice canter and interesting ride that is rich with butterflies and birds and has a verge of wildflowers, shrubs and grasses with the trees either side.
Many species of trees line the path and partly obscure the views of open arable land and a horse pasture. The trees are typical of the higher and drier areas of fenland (e.g hawthorn, willow and oak) on the clay hills of March, Wimblington and Doddington and represent the wildwood that surrounded the area inbetween deforestation and raised water levels over the last few thousands years. The varying types of trees of similar heights make the ride spectacular and fun – you would have to duck under some branches and ride along many features and shapes of trees. The ground is in good condition most of the way with little grass and became rough with trampling, wear and wet in a few places so good footwear is recommended. Some of the ground has been covered with bark surface by the community service to improve the surface enjoyed by riders, cyclists and walkers.
Other related posts on nearby circular walks:
Other circular walks in the area (near Wimblington):