Hope for Thornham Walks in funding battle?

THE future of a popular mid Suffolk visitor attraction appears bleak after councillors backed a budget document recommending its funding be withdrawn.

Elliot Furniss

THE future of a popular mid Suffolk visitor attraction appears bleak after councillors backed a budget document recommending its funding be withdrawn.

Thornham Walks, near Eye, pulls in about 20,000 people each year but leaves Mid Suffolk District Council picking up an annual bill of �38,000 in running costs.

At a meeting of the council's executive yesterday morning, members voted to approve a new budget document that included a recommendation that the funding be cancelled as of April in a bid to cut costs.


You may also want to watch:


However, an additional recommendation was made that the council's head of cultural and community services, Richard Thurlow, be given time to investigate whether “alternative sources of funding” could be found to help keep the Walks going.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Thurlow said: “I have been asked to prepare a further report detailing my thoughts. I am reasonably confident that a package of measures can be put together involving increasing income from events and generating external grants.

Most Read

“If this can be achieved, the staff will have another year to test the principles and identify the best way forward without harming the core of the service.

“At the moment I cannot say any more because there is much more work to do but please be assured that we will do everything we can to conserve and hopefully improve the Walks for the future.”

The attraction, based at the historic Thornham Estate, home to the Henniker family, includes 12 miles of paths and associated facilities.

The Walks cover a large part of the estate's 2,000 acre grounds and include an office, caf�, restaurant and toilet facilities and there is no entry fee, just a �1 parking charge.

Andrew Stringer, leader of the Suffolk Green Party and a member of the executive, said he had voted against the “short-sighted” proposal.

He said: “This proposal is short-sighted and doesn't look at the bigger tourism picture. Savings can be made in other areas before hitting this vital front line service. I am devastated for the impact on local businesses.”

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