Tonight we held a group meeting in the Deer’s Leap, Thetford, with volunteer rangers from the Thetford and Waveney Valley group and two Sustrans staff members: the volunteer projects officer for the East of England, and the area manager for Norfolk and Suffolk. The meeting was a nice opportunity for everyone to get to know one another, and we had productive discussions on a number of issues. These included problems on existing routes, possible diversions and new routes, and the training and support available from Sustrans.
As part of a longer bike ride, I returned to Thetford along Regional Route 30 from Watton. Part of this route is off-road along the Peddars Way. The surface is mostly pretty good for cycling, and would be fine with a hybrid bike. However, one section adjacent to Thompson Water is prone to flooding, and was almost impassible today. I was only able to pass by squeezing up the bank on foot and leaning inwards on my bike while wheeling it through the water.
The water probably wasn’t that deep for a bicycle, but given the size of the flooded area and being unable to see the state of the ground beneath, people shouldn’t be expected to try to cycle through. Walkers would also be reluctant to try to wade it, and the water in the middle would probably overcome most walking boots.
I’ve previously reported this issue to Norfolk County Council (the route is a Public Footpath, which they have a duty to maintain, at least for walkers), but nothing seems to have been done. I’ll also contact National Trails, since the problem lies on both the Peddars Way and the Peddars Way Cycle Route. If the flooding issue cannot be addressed, we will probably need to look at diverting route 30. It would be a shame not to be able to make use of the otherwise pleasant Peddars Way route.
I received a prompt reply from The Peddars Way & Norfolk Coast Path manager on 9th June, who wrote:
I am aware of the situation along that section of the Peddars Way. Indeed I carried out some surface work there in the past.
Whilst my priorities are for walkers along this section, I can inform you that I have allocated a moderate budget to alleviate the flooding this year. As soon as our prioritised work load allows we will be delivering this work. Although I cannot confirm an exact date at this time, please be assured I plan to complete this before the autumn.
So perhaps we will not need to divert the NCN route after all.
I rode this section of the Peddars way today, and it looks like the proposed works have been carried out, as the flooded section was now dry. See this post.