Bury St Edmunds: New horse joins team for historic town tours

A FRIENDLY horse who was saved from a French meat market is the newest face in a popular tourist attraction in Suffolk.

Lucas, a four-year-old Breton horse, was set to be sold for meat at a market in Duras when he was rescued last September.

Now, after months of care, attention and special training, Lucas will join a team of horses to pull visitors in carriage tours around the historic sights of Bury St Edmunds.

Duncan Drye, owner of the Carriage Tours of Bury St Edmunds, bought Lucas to become part of his team of horses for the summer attraction.

“Lucas has been fantastic,” he said. “It’s great to give him a new life.

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“In France, especially in the current climate, horses are worth more in kilo weight than animals.”

Launched last summer, the carriage tours of Bury take in St Edmundsbury Cathedral, the law courts, Greene King Brewery, The Theatre Royal and Angel Hill.

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Named after the comedian Matt Lucas, Mr Drye said Lucas had already fitted in well with the tour’s original two horses, Gypsy and Star, who take guests around the town.

“Lucas has become the top horse already,” Mr Drye said. “I think he likes his new life.

“He ticks all the boxes because he’s very fit and strong. He’s patient and chilled out and can cope with the traffic.”

As well as taking in the sights from the back of a restored, 60-year-old wagonette, visitors can hear stories about Bury’s history as Mr Drye points out the hidden landmarks on his route around town.

“We love making a special occasion of our rides,” he said. “The driver and groom tell passengers stories about the route and about working with horses.

“We are looking forward to the summer in Bury.”

As well as keeping guests entertained, Lucas will also work in Nowton Park just outside the town.

He and the other horses will help to pull logs and undergrowth which have been cleared from the woodland.

The carriage tours proved popular with families and visitors after they were launched last summer.

They leave from outside Bury’s Tourist Information Centre on Angel Hill every Wednesday and Saturday, half hourly between 10.30am and 4pm, from April to September.

Sharon Fairweather, tourism officer for St Edmundsbury Borough Council, said: “The carriage rides are very popular with all ages.

“It is a lovely way to see the Georgian heart of the town and hear a brief history of Greene King, the Theatre Royal, the Great Churchyard and Angel Hill.”

The carriage rides cost �6.50 for adults and �4.50 for children. Family tickets are all available priced �25 for two adults and up to three children from Bury St Edmunds Tourist Information Centre on 01284 764667 or by e-mailing tic@stedsbc.gov.uk

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