Funding boost for project delievered by the Wayland Partnership Development Trust aimed at encouraging visitors to Wayalnd - the “forgotten” area of Norfolk
- Credit: Ian Burt
Characterised by the distinct landscape of the Brecks, Wayland boasts areas of forests, miles of walking trails through beautiful countryside and traditional villages and hamlets.
Yet for many who live in the market town of Watton and the 13 parishes which make up Wayland, they feel the area is often forgotten.
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To encourage more visitors to the area and to make them stay longer, the Wayland Community of Culture project has been launched.
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The ambitious £96,000 scheme will develop and promote activities based on the area's heritage, food, environment and culture.
The project has received a funding boost of £19,972 from Breckland Council to help deliver the project - however this is dependant upon the success of gaining a £70,000 grant from the LEADER programme. This is set to be announced in December.
Bronwen Tyler, trustee of the Wayland Partnership Development Trust, which will oversee the project, said: 'Watton is an ancient market town but we need to raise its profile because people drive past it. Wayland has some really special stuff we want to celebrate.'
One of the key aims of the project is to 'regenerate the Wayland area through tourism'. During a consultation with the community in 2016, there was a general feeling among residents of a decline in Watton and Wayland.
Those working on the project hope the activities which are put on will help restore a good feeling through more footfall.
If funding is received, the project will start in January 2018. Three festivals are planned. The first, Hare and Barrel, would be held in July 2018 and celebrate Watton as a market town. In October 2018 the produce of the area will be championed at the Grown in Wayland festival. And Open Skies, held in February 2019, will be a walking and cycling festival.
Mrs Tyler added: 'We hope the scheme will build pride in the community. There is an intense pride of being from Norfolk and that needs to filter down to Wayland.'
Richard Otterway, development manager, added: 'We aim to regenerate a rural area by leaving a legacy of cultural activities and assess. The grant is a tremendous boost to moral the fact the council feel we can deliver the project.'
Wayland is an old hundred area within Breckland.
It covers more than 1,000sqkm of South West and North West Norfolk.
At the heart of Wayland is Watton surrounded by the 13 villages and hamlet parishes which are linked by narrow lanes.
There are 18 historic medieval churches all in regular use.
The Peddars Way runs through the heart of Wayland and there are three local walking trails.
Watton is home to the Wayland Show, one of the country's longest-running agricultural shows which welcomes thousands of visitors every year.
And situated at Griston is the ancient Wayland Wood. The Norfolk Wildlife Trust managed site, which has a recorded history going back to the 10th century, is home to the Babes in the Woods legend
Wayland Community of Culture project hopes to support current events which promote Wayland and create more around them.
The Wayland Partnership Development Trust are pushing for the hastags #welovewayland and #wonderfulwayland to be used on Twitter.