June 19 2013 Latest news:
Saturday, March 2, 2013
A project to fill in a “missing link” that will allow ramblers to walk across the width of Norfolk has passed a key milestone.
Nearly half the £40,000 cost of the Wensum Way, a 12-mile countryside trail that will connect the Nar Valley Way and Marriott’s Way, was used to ensure a 400 metre section through low-lying water meadows was accessible throughout the year.
Yesterday, Norfolk County Council’s new leader Bill Borrett inspected the completed work, which includes a 200 metre-long boardwalk, three kissing gates and a nine metre-long wooden bridge in the Wensum Valley at Walsis Hill, between Lenwade and Lyng. The council also announced that the path, which will allow people to walk between Great Yarmouth in the east and King’s Lynn in the west, is due to open officially in May this year.
Mr Borrett, who lives near the area, said: “I’m very pleased that we are making such good progress with the Wensum Way. I’m confident that it will open in May this year and when it does, it will be a fantastic new way for people to explore this unique and beautiful part of our county.
“As well as enjoying the countryside, walkers and hikers using the route will find plenty of places to eat, drink and stay in this part of mid Norfolk, so I’m very confident that the new Wensum Way will be good news for local businesses.”
Part of the Wensum Way will pass through land owned by the Sayer family of Sparham Hall, which has managed the landscape and developed the ecology of the area for many years.
Charles Sayer said: “The Wensum Way footpath opens up one of Norfolk’s hidden gems. But walkers should not be in too much of a hurry. There are 18 recorded species of dragonfly and damselfly, a diverse flora and over 200 species of birds to appreciate within the unspoilt undulating countryside.”
James Joyce, county councillor for Reepham, which includes Lenwade, said: “The new Wensum Way has the potential to bring big benefits to communities along its route – and will also be good news for businesses and heritage sites along Marriott’s Way, as the two trails will join up at Lenwade.
“That will allow walkers to also explore the countryside to the north of the River Wensum, including its villages, towns and, of course, heritage sites like the Whitwell Station project.”
Other infrastructure work still to be done along the route includes more gates to manage cattle in the Swanton Morley area, a raised walkway at an area prone to flooding south of Lyng, and the installation of signs and waymarkers along the route.
Digital people counters will also be installed to generate information about the numbers of people using the route and when.