Sudbury: Spring opening for Gainsborough trail

THE first section of a 12-mile walk designed to attract visitors to Gainsborough’s home town is to be open next March.

The Sudbury biodiversity walk, which has been named the ‘Gainsborough Trail’, will start at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre car park and run through three different areas in a 12.4-mile continuous loop. The Meadow walk, running through the town’s famous water meadows, will be the first section to open next spring.

The second stretch of the trail will cut through Cornard Country Park and the final section will run though the new Chilton Woods development, which is currently in the early planning stages.

The idea for the walk came from members of the Sudbury Biodiversity Group. At a presentation on Tuesday evening, group member Peter Clifford said the initial plan was to link ancient woodlands with the new wooded area planned for Chilton Woods. He added: “It was then decided to link all of the important wildlife habitats around Sudbury and that has now grown into a circular walk that other villages can link into.”

The group has commissioned nature trail information boards and way markers, each featuring an image of a different animal linked to a specfic area. Boards in the Meadow Walk feature a kingfisher in keeping with the river environment, while the Cornard section way-markers will feature an owl. Representing the Chilton section will be a great crested newt, frequently found in ponds throughout the area.

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Mr Clifford said: “This will make it easy to identify a particular trail and will help distinguish between the three sections. The theme will also be continued on information boards which will be placed along the route.”

The biodiversity group has so far secured a funding commitment for the project of �7,932, and �3,351 of this has been used on the first section of the walk. The group hopes to gain lottery funding to complete the trail.

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There are still a number of issues that could delay the completion of the project. An 18-month dispute between the county and borough councils and a local angling club – which has prevented a bridge linking the Sudbury and Cornard sections of the trail from being built – is yet to be resolved.

The Chilton stretch of the trail is also subject to the completion of the 1,050-home Chilton Woods development, but Mr Clifford added: “The developers Redrow say they will be bringing out an outline plan this autumn and once that has happened, we will be able to start working on a pathway through that section.”

Waitrose is funding the launch of the Meadow Walk, which is scheduled for March 16, 2012.

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