Sounds like an old song, I know. In fact, The Greenways Project is a successful partnership, led by Ipswich Borough Council (IBC) with Babergh District Council (BDC) and East Suffolk Council (ESC). Suffolk County Council were also involved for many years but sadly withdrew in 2018.
The project exists with the aim to protect and enhance our countryside and open spaces to the benefit of wildlife and local people, from Sproughton in the west to Martlesham in the east. It covers an area north of Tuddenham to Wherstead in the south: an area of some 100 square kilometres and home to around a quarter of the population of Suffolk.
The project which has existed for twenty-five years relies on volunteers to complete much of its practical conservation work. As with everything, there is a cost; this year it’s about £100,000 of which the three remaining partners contribute around £60,000. The project fills the funding shortfall by working with Parish and Town Councils, seeking grants and other contributions and by selling their services.
Last September I was invited to join a tour of some of Greenways projects including the installation of paths around common land at Martlesham, plans for possible path surfacing and a major step building project up the ‘Tump’ at Ravenswood. I understand that’s what they call the small manmade hill with the Green Wind 2 installation by environmental artist Diane MacLean on the top. If you live at Ravenswood or have visited, that is the group of tall poles with triangular ‘pennants’ on top; it’s a beautiful spot and well worth a visit.
I also saw the project’s plans for a new river path and a major new nature reserve at Sproughton next to the Eastern Gateway site, where the sugar beet factory used to be.
Like many people around the town, I enjoy our green spaces but inevitably tend to take them for granted. I now appreciate how much effort goes into managing these wonderful areas and would suggest £100,000 a year is money well spent. I hope IBC, BDC and ESC continue to support the project on our behalf. We need to support and thank The Greenways Project and all its fantastic volunteers for their hard work. Everything they do enhances our wonderful town.
If you would like to know more about the Greenways Project contact firstname.lastname@example.org