New tennis courts to open at historic gardens

New tennis courts will open in Abbey Gardens from July 1. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL

New tennis courts will open in Abbey Gardens from July 1. Picture: WEST SUFFOLK COUNCIL - Credit: Archant

New tennis courts at Bury St Edmunds’ iconic Abbey Gardens are to open from July 1 as part of a £263,000 investment.

West Suffolk Council said it “has long been our ambition to replace the old courts and move them to a more suitable setting within the gardens”.

As such, the authority said it was delighted to spend £263,000 on extending the public gardens into the former Eastgate nursery, which includes two new tennis courts.

It was completed as part of the first physical project by the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership.

West Suffolk Council leader John Griffiths said: “We anticipate that these courts will be very popular and I’d like to thank all the partner organisations and the neighbouring residents and clubs, both for their support as well as their tolerance during the works.”

He added: “The gardens provide a wonderful opportunity for people to relax and unwind, as well as to enjoy and participate in certain sports including tennis and mini golf.

“It is perhaps particularly important at this time, when many of us may have been struggling to get enough exercise, that there are these opportunities to enjoy sport for our physical as well as mental health.”

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As well as new courts, which meet Lawn Tennis Association standards, the work has also seen pedestrian improvements from Eastgate Street to the River Lark path.

It has also provided a new riverside picnic area, while English Heritage funded repairs to sections of the boundary walls.

Reverend Canon Matthew Vernon, chairman of the Abbey of St Edmund Heritage Partnership, said: “Part of The Abbey area has, in modern times, been used for recreation and leisure, and these new courts will ensure that continues.

“It also presents further opportunities.

“The partnership’s aim is to find out more about its archaeology and history so we can understand and share more of the story of St Edmund and The Abbey with local people and visitors.

“We still hope to have a scan of a wide area of the site to further the research and discover more about what links to the Abbey’s medieval past may lie beneath and we will announce more on this when we are able.”

The new tennis courts can be booked via the Lawn Tennis Association court app, by searching for Abbey Gardens (Bury St Edmunds).

Alternatively, visit the bookings website.