Boost promise from Suffolk Punch project

MORE visitors and new jobs will be among the spin-offs from a multi-million pound project to secure the future of several rare breeds in Suffolk.The Suffolk Punch Trust has emphasised the new attractions being planned at Hollesley, near Woodbridge, will benefit thousands of children and concentrate on far more than saving the Suffolk Punch heavy horse.

MORE visitors and new jobs will be among the spin-offs from a multi-million pound project to secure the future of several rare breeds in Suffolk.

The Suffolk Punch Trust has emphasised the new attractions being planned at Hollesley, near Woodbridge, will benefit thousands of children and concentrate on far more than saving the Suffolk Punch heavy horse.

It wants to create a visitor centre based around the world famous Suffolk Punch stud at Hollesley, currently run by the Prison Service.

But it says the scope of the project being drawn up by the trust is wider than many people originally thought and the trustees are hoping they will receive widespread support when they launch a fund-raising appeal on November 10.

The trust wants to raise local and national awareness of the Suffolk Punch as a rare and historic breed, but also to expand other rare animals indigenous to Suffolk including Suffolk sheep, Red Poll cattle and the Large Black Pig.

John Marsh, project manager, said: ''The trust plans to use the visitor facility, based around the core activity of managing the stud of horses and maintaining other rare breeds of animal indigenous to Suffolk, to promote and deliver a wide range of educational programmes.

Most Read

''These educational services will be aimed particularly at younger age groups and targeting those living in poorer inner city and suburban areas and the socially excluded. This project touches virtually every aspect of charitable work. It includes support for disadvantaged youngsters and the socially disadvantaged through availability of an on-the-job training, formal education and ability to learn rural craft skills.

''The project also provides education for all age groups in environmental, conservation and heritage topics. It encourages inward investment to a hard pressed rural area through the generation of increased tourism and provision of jobs.''

Prisoners from the nearby open prison will be employed and there will be rural craft shops including a farrier, saddle maker, wheelwright and blacksmith.

Half of the visitor centre will be devoted to a lecture theatre and classrooms, and there will also be a heritage centre with static and interactive exhibits, research facilities, a covered exhibition ring, working areas, stables and paddocks, retail shop and restaurant, and horse drawn cart rides to conservation areas. A public park will be set up.

Mr Marsh said the visitor centre could be the gateway for twitchers to areas run by Suffolk Wildlife Trust and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds.

He said the project would foster the enjoyment, understanding and environmental uniqueness of the special coastal landscape and its wildlife and there would be links with the national curriculum for schoolchildren.

The trustees have trimmed the budget from more than £4million to about £3.25million by modifying the existing stables instead of building new ones, and altering the design of the visitor centre.

Become a Supporter

This newspaper has been a central part of community life for many years. Our industry faces testing times, which is why we're asking for your support. Every contribution will help us continue to produce local journalism that makes a measurable difference to our community.

Become a Supporter