Nature trail is shaping up

A NATURE trail involving more than 12 miles of paths around Sudbury and Great Cornard is taking shape, with the first section scheduled to open in March, writes Elliot Pinkham.

The Gainsborough Trail will comprise three sections running through Sudbury’s water meadows, Great Cornard Country Park and the proposed Chilton Woods development and will showcase wildlife and natural beauty around the area.

The Meadow Walk section will be opened on March 16 at a launch funded by Waitrose and will feature a kingfisher as its unique logo on waymarkers and posts to direct users. The country park trail will be marked by a little owl and walkers in Chilton will be guided by a great crested newt.

Peter Clifford, from the biodiversity group organising the trail, updated town councillors on its progress at a meeting last week.

“The idea came out of discussions some years ago about linking natural areas and wildlife habitats together,” he said. “When it is completed, it will be a complete trail of 12.4 miles all the way around Sudbury, Cornard and Chilton.”

Plans include areas for horse riding, walkers, cyclists and disabled access routes.

The project has around half of its £7,932 budget remaining and has sufficient funds to progress with the Cornard Walk while awaiting the autumn 2013 planning application for 1,050 homes at Chilton Woods, which will heavily influence the route of the Chilton Walk.

“We also have funding for a bridge near Cornard Weir which will be a key feature and the first time Cornard and Sudbury have been linked,” added Mr Clifford.

“We know there are some concerns from people living nearby about children crossing the bridge and going out of sight but we hope to hold discussions and find the best solution for everyone.”

Sudbury Town Council clerk Sue Brotherwood said the council had contributed £2,500 to the cost of the trail.

“It will allow people to walk, ride and cycle away from any of the roads,” she said. “It will be really good.”