Breaking New Ground

In November 2013, the now defunct Brecks Partnership submitted Heritage Lottery Fund for almost £1.5M towards a collection of projects under the title “Breaking New Ground”. The projects cover landscape conservation, improving community participation in local heritage, increasing access to and learning about the countryside, and increasing training opportunities in local heritage skills. The bid was successful, and so the various projects can now go ahead. There are two cycling related projects that are of particular interest, the “Brecks Forest Way” — improvements to various routes along the Little Ouse valley between Thetford and Brandon, and the “Brecks Rides” a new long-distance multi-user route between St Helens and West Stowe. For further details see the following links:

Route Inspection

This afternoon, I took advantage of the good weather to cycle over my section of route 13 and route 30 from Thetford to the C150 south of Bridgham. It was good to see that the step by the Thetford Tesco Store that I had previously contacted Norfolk County Council about had now been repaired.

IMAG1069Despite the recent wet weather, the surface of Bridgham lane was already quite sandy on the southern section. This will need monitoring over the summer.

Back in Thetford, I did work on two signs. First, adding a new sign on Croxton road just south of Mundford road, and secondly replacing a damaged sign near the west end of Green Lane.

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Finally, although not on the Sustrans route, the well-used Joe Blunt’s Lane has previously had some shingle added to a couple of short sections as part of work for the Thetford Academy. I complained to Norfolk County Council back in November 2013 that this would be dangerous for cyclists. In response, they said they’d asked the contractor to remove the shingle, but this doesn’t seem to have happened yet. I’ll be contacting the council again about this.

Induction Ride for a New Ranger

Today I went out with a new volunteer ranger to ride over the section of Regional Route 30 that they’ll be looking after. I cycled out from Thetford to meet the new ranger at the T-junction just south of Middle Harling, and we cycled together along Route 30 to Diss, before returning via Kenninghall.

There are quite a few permanent council signs already on this part of the route, but these tend only to be at junctions. Most of the work that needs doing will be to add confirmation signs to the longer stretches between junctions. We’ll also need to check if there is (or can be) an agreed cycle link route to Diss station, and to sign it if there is.

Route Inspection (Thetford to Weeting)

I went out for a route inspection ride today, covering  Route 30 (and a bit of Route 13) between Thetford and Weeting. There were a few issues with signing to address, and some new council works on a cycle path to report.

First of all, the council have provided some improvements to the cycle path between the C622 and Woodcock Rise at the eastern end of Brandon. Dropped curbs has been installed at both ends, and additional permanent signing has been provided.

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The signing leaves something to be desired though. At the southern end the sign at the entrance is end-on to oncoming cyclists. At the northern end a new pole has been provided to hold a sign, when there’s a suitable lamp post that would have done a couple of metres in. There are also two “Cyclists Dismount” signs with rather odd locations and orientations — travelling north there’s one a couple of metres from the end of the route, and travelling south there’s one about half-way along.

In Brandon, I fixed a contraflow cycling sign that had been turned around at the junction of Gashouse Drove and White Hart Lane, and replaced a missing sign at the other end of White Hart Lane.

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In Weeting, at the junction of the Peppers Close and Brandon Road, I replaced an old temporary sign and added a custom “Use Cycle Path” arrow, to help prevent cyclists from needlessly turning right on to the main road. Finally back in Thetford, a “Cyclists Dismount” sign at the top of King Street needed re-orientating (again).

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Patching Up in Thetford

I finally got out to do a job that had been on my to do list for some time — covering up a number of erroneous Route 13 numbers on permanent signs in south-west Thetford. The signs were installed at a time when it was thought that Route 13 would follow a different route south out of Thetford. The route was later changed, but the signs were never corrected.

So, armed with some plain blue sticky patches, I set out to cover up the incorrect 13′s on the signs.

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On the final sign before the old route rejoins the new one, I covered up the “13′” with a “(13)” to show that the route can be found in that direction.

Also while out, I had did a routing check on the signage within Thetford. Everything was fine, though I did find an additional sign was needed at the top of Croxton Road South. (There used to be a permanent sign pointing the way, but it’s since disappeared.)

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Route Inspection (RR30 & NR13)

I went out for a route inspection of Route 30 and Route 13 between Thetford and Knettishall this evening. Everything was in order, though the surface of the Peddar’s Way off-road section may need watching since it was a getting a bit sandy.

The route could also do with a few more confirmation signs on some other longer sections between junctions, namely:

  • On Kilverstone Road, near Langmere Lodge
  • Halfway along Bridgham Lane
  • On The Street, midway between the B111 and the A1065
  • Somewhere around the north edge of the village of Gasthorpe

As previously noted, the signage at the junction where Route 30 and Route 13 diverge could also be improved. Ideally we would have a milepost or a permanent sign post with destinations and distances, but given the current financial situation, this may not be possible for the foreseeable future.

Route Inspection and Signing

This evening, I set out on a route inspection and signing ride on the section of National Route 13 and Regional Route 30 between Thetford and Knettishall. The route itself was fine, and I was able to add a few confirmation signs along the way.

First, I added two pairs of signs between Kilverstone and Bridgham: one by Shepherds Cottages, and one 500m north-east of the Peddars Way crossing.

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An additional pair would also be useful somewhere near Langmere Lodge, but I couldn’t see  anywhere suitable to place them.

I also added a pair of confirmation signs near the north end of Bridgham Lane:

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An additional pair of signs part-way along Bridgham Lane would be useful, but again, there is nowhere suitable to place them.

Finally I undertook some maintenance on existing signs. First I removed a superfluous sign just south-east of the junction to Middle Harling that showed only NR 13. Secondly I converted a pair of existing signs at the junction to show RR 30 in addition to NR 13.

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Route Survey: Knettishall to Diss (RR 30)

As part of a recreational ride, I had a look over the section of Regional Route 30 from Knettishall to Diss. The route is all on minor roads, so there were no issues with the surface. Overall the signage was good, with permanent signs at all the turning points and major junctions. I noted a couple of issues (see below) and a few more confirmation signs would also be useful.

  • At the B1111 cross-roads at Hopton, the east-facing sign is attached to the back of a “Stop” sign. It is partially obscured as the arm of the “Stop” sign has been rotated.
  • At the B1113 cross-roads at Gallows Hill, the west-facing sign is partially obscured by a garden hedge.
  • The signs in Diss to/from the station are incomplete.

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Route Inspection

I went out for a route inspection of my stretch of Regional Route 30 between Thetford and Weeting today. I found a few bits of work to be done.

First, some of the temporary signs were in poor condition. I replaced one in the Market Place in Thetford that had been scratched and had one corner pulled off. I also removed a sign at the north end of Rectory Road in Weeting that was looking a bit the worse for wear and but was superfluous to requirements.

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A few signs were being obscured by growing vegetation, which I was able to cut back. There was one sign just before the junction with the C622 in Santon Downham, one where the route joins Gashouse Drove from St Benedict’s Road in Brandon, and one and where Peppers Close meets Rectory Road in Weeting.

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Finally, I was able to replace the direction arrows on a couple of the signs with one of the new advanced turn arrows, which have just been made available by Sustrans. There was one sign just before the turning from Downham Way into The Paddocks in Brandon, and one just before the turning off the C873 into Peppers Close in Weeting.

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