Today I attended a Group Coordinator Training Day in Ipswich. We had various activities and presentations on different aspects of our role, including recruitment, safety, and group plans. It was really good to meet up with other Group Coordinators from the East of England region and learn from each other’s experiences.
This morning I attended the official opening of the new Watton–Griston Cycle Track, one of the new links created as part of the Sustrans Connect2 Scheme.
The new cycle track mostly follows the route of the old Watton–Griston road, which was stopped up in the 1930s to make way for RAF Watton. The airfield closed a few years ago, and Sustrans has worked with Norfolk County Council to build the cycle route. The new cycle path is called “Stans Walk”, in memory of a local resident who campaigned for the route.
I set off from Thetford on my bike, following NCN 13 north, to the village of Thompson. The section along the Peddars’ Way was a bit bumpy, but was generally fine apart from one section that was flooded. I was able to get around the side ok though. I then followed the Thompson–Griston road to get to Griston, noting several new Sustrans “(13)” link signs along the way.
At Griston, we met up at the Manorcourt Day Centre for some speeches, and then Gillian Shephard cut the ribbon to officially open the route.
After the official stuff was over, I cycled the rest of the route into Watton to collect a GPS track, so I could add the route on OpenStreetMap.
The turnout for the opening was very good, especially considering the poor weather (only just above freezing, and intermittent light snow flurries.) The cycle there was quite hard work, and I was glad of a lift back in the car.
Today I attended a regional Sustrans Volunteer Day at Westgate Church Hall in Peterborough. I travelled there by train with my bike from Thetford.
Booking bikes on East Midlands Trains proved to be an interesting experience. A week after my initial request, I received a reply saying that I had a space booked on the outbound service I wanted, but that the return one was already full. They said that there was however space on the next train back, and would I like to book that instead. I replied yes, but then didn’t hear anything else back from them. It turned out not to matter though. On the outbound service I found a reserved ticket on one of the bike bays. On the return journey I came back on an earlier train anyway, and there was enough space for me to fit in. (Despite the bays saying that there’s only room for two bikes, you can easily get three in the space if you park them carefully.)
The first half of the day was a group cycle ride around some of the local NCN routes. We left and joined NCN 12 and then NCN 63 heading west past the rowing lake. We then turned south on RCN 21, before returning via NCN 53.
After a good buffet lunch, we had some talks about the work of Sustrans and future developments, and then attended one of several different training sessions. I opted for the one about working with the media.
All in all, it was an interesting day out, and it was good to meet up and chat to lots of other Rangers and Sustrans staff.