A biodiversity walk, which has been 20 years in the making, is expected to bring more tourists to Sudbury when it opens.
The first section of the Gainsborough Trail – named in honour of the town’s famous son, artist Thomas Gainsborough – will be opened on March 16 by Great Cornard Paralympian Jonathan Adams and Sudbury mayor Jack Owen.
Beginning at the Kingfisher Leisure Centre, the Meadow Walk will run through the water meadows and is the start of what will eventually become a 12.4-mile route linking Sudbury, Great Cornard and Chilton.
Jan Osborne, atown councillor and member of the Gainsborough Trail Working Group, said the opening of the walk was a “big step forward”.
“This has been an aspiration for the last 20 years and a lot of work has gone into this,” said Mrs Osborne, who lives in Waldingfield Road.
“I’m thrilled to bits that this is happening and we can bring the town and two parishes together. It should be a huge boost to tourism.”
The trail has been designed to join up key wildlife areas, and can be accessed on foot and by bicycle. Most of the walk will also be wheelchair-friendly and have a number of picnic areas.
“There has been a lot of support for the trail.
“It will be good for human activity and education, but also provide a wildlife corridor, which will increase biodiversity and the spread of plants,” said Mrs Osborne.
The second part of the trail will take in Cornard County Park and the final section will run through the Chilton Woods development, although it is not yet known when these will be complete.
A legal dispute over a bridge joining Sudbury and Great Cornard is currently delaying progress.
To mark the opening of the trail, Gainsborough’s House will be free to enter on the day.