Norwich to get a Viking park for play – not pillage and plunder

The Oasis, between Fishergate and the river Wensum that Norwich City Council is in the process of de

The Oasis, between Fishergate and the river Wensum that Norwich City Council is in the process of developing into a celebration of the areas Viking heritage. Photo : Steve Adams - Credit: Steve Adams

With their reputation for pillage and plunder, Vikings may not seem the most obvious choice as the theme for a family recreation area.

However, they have been selected as the unlikely inspiration behind the makeover of a picturesque corner of Norwich.

Norwich City Council has launched a project to revive the area of green space next to the Wensum at Fye Bridge, near the city centre.

Officials have picked a Viking theme for the scheme, as the site is said to have been a key location, when they settled here – a wooden causeway formed the first river crossing here, linking the main Danish settlement on the north bank to a growing settlement on the south side. Remains were seen in 1896 and 1999.

Despite this heritage, the reshaped park will have the most un-Viking name of The Oasis. Work is expected to start in the new year, and be completed by the spring.

Under the plans, the site will have a children's 'playtrail', using timber – as a nod to the wooden Viking bridge. It will also feature a paved labyrinth – an important element in Danish festivals.

Councillor Bert Bremner, cabinet member for environment and sustainable development, said: 'The area has a rich Anglo-Saxon and Viking past, so it seemed very fitting to reflect this in the design.

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'When the river was low, you could catch a glimpse of the Viking bridge, with sightings as recent as 1999.'

Do you know of a scheme celebrating a part of the region's history? Email david.hannant@archant.co.uk

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