New walk planned to celebrate river trade route

Moves are afoot to create a new riverside footpath linking Aylsham and Coltishall.

Supporters of the Aylsham Navigation Project 2012 are planning to form a charitable trust to undertake the work as part of plans to celebrate the waterway, closed a century ago next year.

They hope to create a walk as close to the River Bure as possible, using existing rights of way and incorporating the path along the Bure Valley Railway.

The Upper Bure linear walk would be equipped with information boards and way markers. Project backers say a trust would help them raise funds for the route and its maintenance, and help them protect the area's history and wildlife.

The project committee is contacting all affected parish and town councils along the 9.5 mile route of the Aylsham Navigation to let them know about the scheme.

The Aylsham Navigation closed in August 1912 after heavy floods washed out the five locks and some of the bridges between Coltishall and Aylsham.

In its heyday it was one of the main trade routes serving Coltishall, Horstead, Hautbois, Buxton, Oxnead, Brampton, Burgh and Aylsham, with agricultural produce, including barley and grain being taken to Yarmouth for sale in London, or to Norwich or the Suffolk broads.

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It was also used to take items such as coal, bricks and marl - a form of clay - back up to Aylsham.

The project committee is organising a number of events to mark the centenary of the navigation's closing including bringing the wherry Albion to Coltishall with cargo aboard for further transport up to Aylsham by canoe.

A study of wildlife along the navigation is also planned, in partnership with UEA, plus an art project working with young people, and a tapestry will be produced as a lasting memorial.

To find out more about Aylsham Navigation Project 2012 visit www.eastinvolve.net/aylsham-navigation.

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