Sudbury: First part of wildlife trail opens

Paralympic athlete Jonathan Adams launched the first section of the new Gainsborough Trail in Sudbur

Paralympic athlete Jonathan Adams launched the first section of the new Gainsborough Trail in Sudbury on Saturday - Credit: Archant

THE first section of a 12-mile walking trail, which was first devised more than 20 years ago, has officially opened.

The Gainsborough Trail around Sudbury starts at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre car park and will eventually run through three different areas in a 12.4-mile continuous loop. It is hoped the pathway, which will be completed in three stages, will attract more visitors to Thomas Gainsborough’s home town.

The first 3.5-mile stretch of the trail is the Meadow Walk, running through Sudbury’s famous water meadows, while the second section will cut through Cornard Country Park. The final part was scheduled to run though the new Chilton Woods development, although this is now in doubt after Suffolk County Council’s development partner pulled out of the scheme.

County councillors Colin Spence and John Sayers have each contributed £1,000 from their locality budgets towards the trail, which features specially commissioned information boards and way-markers, each featuring an image of a different animal linked to a specific area. A website, www.gainsboroughtrail.org has been set up to promote the trail.

At a launch event hosted by Waitrose on Saturday, Paralympian Jonathan Adams joined councillors and members of the Gainsborough Trail Working Group to celebrate the plan finally coming to fruition.

The group’s Peter Clifford said: “This is the first part of a substantial trail and negotiations are well advanced to secure the bridge link from Sudbury to Cornard so that we can continue with the second section. The way-markers feature QR codes so that if you flash a mobile phone at them, they will immediately link with our website and provide more information on specific things such as the old railway and other important features.”

His colleague, town councillor Jan Osborne, said: “This trail has been an aspiration for a long time and it has taken 20 years to get to this point. We are confident it will be a huge tourist attraction and we are also hoping it will provide a boost to the town’s economy.”

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Mr Adams praised group members for their persistence in pushing for the trail, which he likened to training for the Paralympics. He added: “I am really pleased to see that there is increased disabled access along the route.”

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