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Abbey Meadows Path

A section of the riverside path on Abbey Meadows is currently unsurfaced, and degenerates to mud in the winter months. 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 have 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 may be larger. So additional funding may still need to be found.

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.