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Abbey Meadows Path

A section of the riverside path on Abbey Meadows was formerly unsurfaced, degenerating to mud in the winter months. It was resurfaced using self-binding Breedon gravel in October 2022. The route is around 250m long, and lies on the north bank of the Little Ouse between Blaydon Bridge and Water Lane. Other paths nearby have a tarmac surface.

There had long been calls to improve this route, as it is a popular route in to town from several of the housing estates, and forms part of the Thetford parkrun route. It was the most requested enhancement in the survey for the GTDP Community Sub-Group's 2018 Cycling and Walking Report.

The muddy riverside path in Abbey Meadows, taken in January 2018.

In 2020, Norfolk County Council costed a new Breedon Gravel pathway for this section at around £18,000. In December that Year Thetford Town Council agreed to submit the project to the Norfolk County Council Parish Partnership scheme. The bid was successful, and will fund half the cost of the path, up to £9,000. However, the cost estimate provided by Norfolk County Council was only based on a 1m wide path (source), while the actual width required was larger. So additional funding needed to be obtained .

The final scheme cost in the region of £50k, with the funding coming from the following sources:

Thetford Town CouncilParish Partnership Contribution£9,000.00
Norfolk County CouncilParish Partnership Contribution£12,500.00
Norfolk County CouncilMember Highways Budget£9,500.00
Breckland District CouncilGeneral Contribution£18,536.48

Construction work on the path started near the beginning of September 2022 and was complete by the middle of October. The design appears to have dealt well with the change in level by Blaydon Bridge, with landscaping works introducing a gentle gradient on the path. Unfortunately, the width of the new path is only 1.5m, which is below the 2m recommendation in the Department for Transport's Inclusive Mobility guidance, and falls short of the requirements for a shared use pedestrian/cycle path in LTN 1/20 Cycle Infrastructure Design. The path also lacks splays / bell-mouths at its ends to make cornering easier.

The northern end of the new path at Blaydon Bridge, taken in October 2022.