Gifts from Wicken and Discovering Soham

Yesterday, ethics boy and I decided that we enjoyed our stay at Leaches Farm so much (and they were so friendly and helpful, what with the broken car and late night, etc) that we wanted to send them a thank you gift. I thought about sending flowers, but you have to spend a lot to get anything really nice, and ethics boy rightly said that we should give them something that lasts. He suggested some of the hand-made crafts from the shop at Wicken Fen, but I wasn’t sure.

We trekked out to Wicken, and eventually decided on a frog and a mouse made locally using rushes from Wicken Fen. Naturally, we had tea and scones while we were there (although we did resist refrigerator cake this time), and watched the birds (one of them quite a chubby fellow!) at the bird-feeders and pecking around for crumbs.

On the way home, ethics boy took us on an interesting (honestly!) detour to Soham. We went to Budgens(!), where there were some bargains to be had, then had a stroll through the town. Attached to the Fountain Inn, on the corner of Churchgate Street and Fountain Lane, is an interesting-looking apparatus; it looks like a wynch, but having looked it up, I’ve found that it is a ‘steelyard‘, described by ‘the Council’ as a “device for weighing wagons”. The structure is listed, and further information is on East Cambridgeshire District Council’s website.

Steelyard and Fountain Inn, Fountain Lane, Soham

Steelyard and Fountain Inn, Fountain Lane, Soham

The Fountain Inn itself is also very attractive. It seems to have its original windows (some leaded, some sash), and generally adds to the character of the street. People often appear to ignore the heritage on their doorstep, perhaps dismissing interesting architectural features as ‘ordinary’ or ‘old-fashioned’. I would like to see more attention paid to conserving the character of traditional buildings, however ordinary they may, at first, seem.

Fountain Inn, Soham - south elevation

Fountain Inn, Soham - south elevation

Fountain Inn, Soham - view from south-east

Fountain Inn, Soham - view from south-east


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    Wicken is a lovely village. I’ve live here for about a year and a half. It’s nice and quiet most of the time.

    Once a year it really kicks off though when it’s the annual Beer Festival. (Details of which can be found at or follow the event’s twitter page

    I’ve been to the Fountain Inn a few times too. Friendly staff.

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