A Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been obtained by a consortium of local organisations to fund a number of projects in the Brecks. There are two major cycling-related projects proposed:
Brecks Forest Way
The original bid document stated that this project would create “a multi-use route (walking, cycling and horse-riding) with short sections and circular paths connecting Thetford to Brandon along the Little Ouse valley as well as the connecting Thetford Forest Park.” Planned works included surface improvements, upgrades to bridges, and removing steps, stiles and other obstacles along the route.
Unfortunately, the plans have been diluted somewhat, and the work to improve cycle access will only be between Santon Downham and Lakenheath, with no work at all on a link from Thetford to High Lodge. This is a great shame and a massive lost opportunity, particularly because the Thetford Area Action Plan says that establishing a cycle link to High Lodge should be a priority.
This project (initially named “Brecks Rides”) was intended to create and promote a long distance trail for cycling, walking and horse riding through the Breaking New Ground project area and the Brecks landscape, in order to raise awareness of the Brecks as a distinct tourist desination for outdoor leisure activities.
The proposed route starts at St Helen’s Picnic Site, and runs south via Santon Downham to High Lodge and then west Brandon Country Park. It then runs south to Mayday Farm, before following Shaker’s Road to Weather Heath. The A11 is crossed using the new underpass at the Elveden Memorial, and the route then follows Duke’s ride east to the B1106, before following the Icknield Way south through King’s Forest to West Stow Country Park.
It seems to me to be an odd choice of route, with no loops for day rides and no public transport options at either end. The plan would be much improved with additional links from the B1106 to Thetford (via the Angles Way), and from West Stow to NCN13 at Great Livermere (via Timworth). There also don’t seem to be any resources allocated to surface improvements, which may well be necessary if the route is going to be suitable for recreational cycling.
Correspondence with the the project manager, David Falk, in 2015 suggested that the route will now be called the “Brecks Way”, and it will be promoted primarily as a walking route.
- Breaking New Ground Website
- HLF Bid Document Appendices (with full details of all the projects)
- Map of the Proposed Routes (and my suggestions for additional links)