Cambridge, cycling, Fenlands, Fens, green space, open space, parks, UK
Cambridge, like Other Cambridge (Massachusetts), is mostly built on a swamp. In the US, Cambridge is built on filled-in land that used to be salt marshes; here, Cambridge is in the middle of the Fens (or Fenlands), a mix of fresh and saltwater marshes covering a sizable chunk of eastern England. Most of the area was drained centuries ago; it is maintained today by drainage backs and pumps (my sources here are the Cambridge Folk Museum and Wikipedia).
For a variety of reasons, at least one of which is flood control, Cambridge has an amazing series of generously-apportioned green spaces, all of which have quaint names: Parker’s Piece, Stourbridge Common, Midsummer Common, Jesus Green, etc. I have a hard time keeping them straight and sometimes resort to calling them all “Jesus Pieces,” and then my husband makes fun of me. In addition, there are lots of unnamed spaces that have cycle paths running through them – I feel like I’m still always stumbling onto scenic, secluded cycle paths surrounded by green space and babbling brooks.
Cambridge feels more like home all the time.