Two cycleways are to be created through some of East Anglia’s most idyllic countryside thanks to a Lottery grant.
The Heritage Lottery Fund is giving £2.2m to the ‘Breaking New Ground’ project in Breckland, the little-visited heathland between the Fens and the Norfolk Broads. As part of the scheme, two new routes will be created: the Brecks Forest Way and the Brecks Rides.
The Brecks Forest Way will run beside the picturesque River Little Ouse for eight miles, from Thetford to Brandon. Bridges will be upgraded, surfaces improved and maps published for use by cyclists, walkers and horse-riders. Although there are already paths in the area, the project says “they have not been well-maintained, and there are areas where the river has moved”.
The Brecks Rides will be a 16-mile path from West Stow, near Bury St Edmunds, to Santon Downham. It aims to “meet a growing demand for safe, off-road cycling meeting the needs of the family audience as well as more experienced cyclists”. A new underpass is already under construction at the A11 at West Stow, linking the route to the Country Park there. At Santon Downham, the route will meet the Brecks Forest Way.
Lisa Chambers, deputy leader of Suffolk County Council, said:
“As a result of this award, the partnership will be able to carry out a great number of exciting projects for the benefit of the Brecks landscape, heritage and communities. These will include the creation of a conservation volunteer centre, walking and cycling trails, heritage interpretation that tells the story of the Brecks and new training opportunities. This is excellent news for the Brecks and Suffolk as a whole.”
In the long term, Suffolk County Council would like to organise a long-distance off-road cycling event using the Brecks Rides. The two new paths will be created over the next three years.