Tuesday, November 03, 2020

Meanwhile, a bit further down the Gipping Valley

One of the borders of Creeting St Peter is the River Gipping, which flows in a south-south easterly direction towards Ipswich where it mysteriously becomes the Orwell. Once upon a time, it was a major trade artery for mid-Suffolk, eventually being "improved" to form the Ipswich and Stowmarket Navigation in 1793.

It was, apparently, a profitable enterprise for about fifty years, with agricultural produce heading south, and coal and other heavy goods heading the other way. And then the railway came...

Nowadays, the river is seldom more than a foot deep, and most of the infrastructure is in poor condition. Fortunately, the River Gipping Trust has stepped up to restore it, with a long-term goal of restoring the navigation between Ipswich and Stowmarket. There is a public footpath between the two towns which follows the river, which makes a pleasant walk on a dry day.

The catch is that the Trust is very much a volunteer-led operation, and money is short for anything much more than maintenance. Their latest project is to restore a bridge near Baylham, which would allow walkers to follow the intended route, rather than having to hug the railway line, and they need £25,000 to finance this.

It helps, we're told, to have support from the local community when pursuing grant opportunities and, accordingly, I've written a letter on behalf of the Parish Council, indicating how valued their efforts are, even if we can't offer financial support ourselves.

But, if you have something to spare, and you want to support a good cause, here's the link to their fundraising page.

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