A lode is a short, straight stretch of water, normally connecting a village to a major river. They are often described as dykes although they were built for navigation and drainage.
These waterways date back to Roman times. However, the present course of the Lode was cut in the mid-seventeenth century. It replaced the previous course, which was referred to as the Old Lode. And, unlike most lodes, it is not completely straight.
As you paddle, you’ll find at Burwell the two branches diverge in opposite directions. They both used to have wharves. Anchor Straits to the south was used by coasters, and Weirs to the north was used by lighters.
Be aware that the canal is quite wide at around 13 metres, and the junction of the branches at Burwell provides a point at which long boats can be turned.
You should check the weather and wind forecast before heading out, as parts of the canal are quite exposed.
Finally, if you see the terms Burwell Weirs on the map and worry about portage, don’t. Although the official end of the navigation is called Burwell Weirs, there is no sign any weirs have been there.