The path begins at Wicken Fen and runs alongside the River Ouse past the Stretham Pumping station. It then skirts the village of Aldreth and heads up to Earith, joining the Pathfinder Way at Bluntisham. Next it heads north to Somersham and on to Warboys, crossing the old Pathfinder aerodrome at Wistow. Next is Bury and then across the old Upwood airbase, arriving eventually at Woodwalton Fen.
The length of the path is approximately 39 miles
There is parking available at Wicken Fen in the National Trust carpark
Contact us for more information
Rothschild Way is a footpath extending to Woodwalton Fen from Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire and commemorating the early wildlife conservation work of Charles Rothschild.
The footpath was the idea of Adrian Kempster, Chairman of the Great Fen Local Group who wanted to establish a long-distance walk which would enable people to connect two Living Landscape schemes with the Rothschild connection.
The new footpath links the two National Nature Reserves of Wicken Fen and Woodwalton Fen, a distance of some 39 miles. The historic link between these two reserves is that Charles Rothschild bought them in 1899 and 1910 respectively. He then went on to become a major pioneer in developing the wildlife conservation movement in the UK.
The route follows existing public footpaths between Wicken Fen & Woodwalton Fen, is 39 miles in length and is recognised as a long distance route by Cambridgeshire County Council.
It is not a circular route so transport would be required and if you are intending to walk the whole route in one go it is strongly advised you not to drive yourself afterwards. The route has been walked in its entirety in one day on two occasions as fundraising events, taking between 13.5 and 16.5 hours, so leave yourself plenty of time and take into account the daylight as it could be difficult in places in the dark. Please note: the footpaths are the responsibility of Cambridgeshire County Council, not the Wildlife Trust or the National Trust.
There is some way-marking for the Rothschild Way (see illustration below) and for a considerable distance the route follows the Fen Rivers Way (between the A1123 and West River Bridge), the Ouse Valley Way (between West River Bridge and Brownhill Staunch) and the Pathfinder Long Distance Path (between Brownhill Staunch and Broughton marked with distinctive Pathfinder ‘Mosquito’ aeroplane way-markers).
Any footpath problems will need to be reported directly to Cambridgeshire County Council by clicking here.
The map below gives a rough outline of the route.
Nathaniel Charles Rothschild (1877-1923) was an entomologist, a pioneer of nature conservation in Britain and the inspirational founder and first Chairman of the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves – the organisation that went on to become the Wildlife Trusts.
Rothschild bought part of Wicken Fen in 1899, creating Britain’s first nature reserve. He gave the reserve to the National Trust, who still manage the reserve to this day.
In 1910 he bought Woodwalton Fen intending to donate this site to the National Trust too, but the Trust was reluctant to take on a second nature reserve when the upkeep of Wicken Fen was proving costly. For a while, Rothschild kept Woodwalton as his own personal nature reserve. Read more about the History of Woodwalton Fen.
Probably Rothschild's most important contribution to nature conservation was when in 1912 he formed the first society in Britain concerned with protecting wildlife habitats - the Society for the Promotion of Nature Reserves for Britain and the Empire (SPNR), now the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts. He donated Woodwalton Fen to the society in 1919 and The Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts still own the reserve today. The society now manages 2,300 nature reserves across the UK, with the support of more than 800,000 members – a testament to the legacy of Charles Rothschild.
This is the National Trust's oldest nature reserve, and one of Europe's most important wetlands, supporting an abundance of wildlife. There are more than 8,500 species, including a spectacular array of plants, birds and dragonflies.
A raised boardwalk and lush grass droves allow easy access to a lost landscape of flowering meadows, sedge and reedbeds, where you can encounter rarities such as hen harriers, water voles and bitterns. Wicken Fen Vision, an ambitious landscape-scale conservation project, is opening up new areas of land to explore. Grazing herds of Highland cattle and Konik ponies are helping to create a diverse range of new habitats. Visit the Wicken Fen website