May 18 2013 Latest news:
Norman Hart, chairman of the Waveney Valley Market Towns Group, launches the Harleston Audio Tours with Timothy the Squirrel, from Hidden Britain (a charity which promotes tourism in rural areas), Carol Wiles and the Rev Clive Hudson, chairman of Harleston Information Plus.
Friday, July 20, 2012
The Swan Hotel in Harleston was built with the proceeds received for giving evidence against Kett for his rebellion in 1549 and Kett’s cousin was rewarded for informing on those planning to start a rebellion at Harleston Fair in 1570.
These are just two of the many tales about Harleston told on an audio tour which was launched by the Waveney Valley Market Towns Group, local councillors and residents at Harleston Information Plus on Thursday.
Norman Hart, chairman of the market towns group, said: “We hope it’s going to bring people into Harleston and move from town to town along the Waveney Valley. Harleston is a fantastic place, with friendly people, great shops and a fascinating history – if you stripped away the later Victorian or Georgian façades, it would look like Lavenham, with buildings dating back to Stuart, Tudor and Medieval times.
“And what’s great is that we’ve got these seven market towns working together, promoting the Waveney Valley as a green tourist destination.”
Harleston was the latest of the seven towns, including Beccles, Bungay, Diss, Eye, Halesworth and Loddon, to launch the audio tour, which was put together by radio producer Nick Jenkins, of Sounding Board Productions.
It features contributions from Harleston residents, including Sid Taylor, who has planted more than 3,000 trees in the town, Gordon Lascelles, Mark Kenyon, Clive Hudson, Carol Wiles, Norman Hart, Kay Nelson and Kathleen Colbourne.
The tour also reveals that the town was once fined for not having a ducking stool, and talks about the weigh-bridge which people often park on, Harleston’s oldest building and Gurney’s bank.
Also, Kings Stephen, Henry II and Charles II passed through the town, and during the second world war Winston Churchill and General Eisenhower met there and USAAF airmen visited from nearby airfields.
Harleston (Harold’s or Herolf’s town) began as a Viking settlement and, instead of developing around a church or castle or alongside a river, the centre was once a big open market. The stalls in the middle gradually became shops and houses, creating the shape of a box-iron, known as “the heater”.
The tour can be accessed via the website www.explorewaveneyvalley.com, downloaded on to an mp3 player, and will soon be available as an app. Pre-recorded mp3 players will be available to borrow from the Swan Hotel and Harleston Information Plus.
Nearly 3,000 people have supported a Facebook campaign demanding safety improvements on the A47 near Dereham set up after the latest fatal crash.
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