Thursday, 3 December 2009

Bradford route - Day 4 - Peterborough to Cambridge

Warboys Primary School's new bike and scooter shelter

Last night we had some lovely beer, perhaps a little too much, at a micro-brewery after our lovely meal. We felt perky this morning though. That is until we had a puncture, and a broken valve, and it was raining. So our journey through the fens to Warboys was a little miserable, and we arrived there a little late. Apologies if we seemed to make a beeline for the cake when we got there, but we were more than a little cold and wet and in need of some nourishment! The cakes were delightful - five different kinds of homemade cake, of which two were vegan!

It turns out Warboys is an interesting place, and quite a key location in terms of climate change in the UK. Warboys village itself is c30m above sea level, yet much of the Parish is below sea level. So the people there are very much in the front line in terms of the impact of climate change in the UK. We learnt a lot speaking to Vicky Morgan of Warboys Greener Futures, and also staff and children at the local primary school. The school's new bike and scooter shelters (pictured) were built after they won sustainability grants from the County Council and the Red Tile Windfarm Trust.

The area of the Parish that is below sea level is 'true' black fenland, down to 2m or more below sea level. What makes this even more significant is the presence of a landfil site, which itself is below sea level. It used to be a regular waste facility but was changed into a toxic waste facility. This was outside of the area below sea level when developed, but of course if sea levels rise this waste site, and the village, will become increasingly vulnerable.

What was also interesting was that despite the village's situation and long term vulnerability, and the active local participation of Warboys Greener Futures, many of the locals feel the same as they do anywhere else we've been. Apparently the general feeling of local people is that:
  • they don't think climate change is likely to affect them much
  • they're not really sure what they could do to help anyway
  • they're glad that someone else is actually doing something
So, after a dreadful morning, we were really pleased to have visited Warboys and we wish them all the berst of luck with the Greener Futures project. Our luck had turned by the time we departed, and we were actually in Cambridge for 3:30pm.

By contrast, the Manchester riders seem to have had a nice day's weather cycling through the Cotswolds, and as yet have had no punctures. I hope I've not jinxed them by saying that, and I'm looking forward to being able to report tomorrow on the Bradford and Manchester riders all meeting up in Walthamstow.

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