With recent significant financial support, the new footbridge over the River
Gipping at Baylham is very close to becoming reality. The River Gipping Trust is now just a few thousand pounds short of being able to fully commit to building it and start installation work, which will be carried out by Trust
volunteers. Our thanks for financial support go to Great Blackenham Parish
Council, District Councillor Steve Phillips and Mike Norris of Needham
Market Ward, Barham Parish Council, Stowmarket Lions, ASDA, Waitrose and The Co-Op.

Over the last couple of months, we have received well over a dozen letters of support from parish councils and councillors, some of whom have indicated more immanent financial support. The new footbridge was also featured on several BBC Radio Suffolk news bulletins. The Trust will continue their funding efforts even after the bridgework starts to make the pathway to and from the bridge wheelchair friendly. With the support already pledged, we have a very good chance of being able to open the bridge next year (2021), opening up nearly a mile of the river not seen by walkers for around 100 years.

The photo below shows the 30 feet width between the 230-year-old bridge
abutments the ‘new’ footbridge needs to span.

Behind the scenes, the trust continues work to make the river navigable
between Needham Market and Baylham. We now have two recently completed pre-feasibility studies. Both give positive navigation feasibility
with a viable trip boat operation between Needham Lakes and Baylham.

The next step in this process is to carry out ecology and biodiversity studies
along this three-mile stretch which hopefully will indicate how navigation
can improve the river’s wildlife and biodiversity. The Trust hopes to carry out these studies next year with the help of the Inland Waterways Association.

Restoration Manager, Ian Petchey