River team's bid to restore Gipping

ENTHUSIASTS are hoping to bring the River Gipping back to its former glory - and eventually restore the original navigable waterway from Ipswich to Stowmarket.

ENTHUSIASTS are hoping to bring the River Gipping back to its former glory - and eventually restore the original navigable waterway from Ipswich to Stowmarket.

The River Gipping Trust (RGT) has been created by campaigners who believe the tranquil area is sadly neglected in certain areas.

The organisation wants to restore, reconstruct and preserve the stretch between the Pickerel Bridge in Stowmarket and West End Bridge in Ipswich, as well as conserving its natural character.

Enthusiasts also want to promote and develop the water's recreational opportunities and are holding an open meeting later this month at Needham Market.

A spokesman for the trust, which is looking into possible funding from sources including the lottery, government, local authorities, Europe, The Environment Agency and wildlife trusts, said: “The benefits of the restoration of this waterway are numerous and diverse.

“By opening up access to the river by way of improved footpaths, restoring existing structures and improving the water quality, fishing opportunities could be created.

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“With a sympathetic and well managed scheme to increase water depth, limited navigation could be reinstated. We are committed to bringing this restoration to fruition, for the benefit of all those who love the river and the Suffolk countryside through which it flows.”

Lewis Tyler, secretary for the RGT, said: “The trust has been created by a group of people who wish to see the River Gipping restored to its former status, ensuring that everyone who currently enjoys the wildlife, the fauna and flora of the Gipping Valley can continue to do so.

“At the same time we want to work towards the eventual restoration of the original navigable water course from Stowmarket to Ipswich.”

N The first open meeting of the newly formed trust, expected to last 90 minutes, is being held on Friday, September 26 from 7.30pm at the Mid Suffolk District Council chambers in Needham Market. It will include a talk, slide show and open forum session. For more details, call 01473 310381.

FACTFILE: The River Gipping Trust:

N The Ipswich branch of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) has for many years been restoring parts of the navigation, but it was felt that the river and its environment would be better served by a group that has purely local aims, rather than one that has both local and national interests.

N A small sub-committee from the IWA were charged with setting up the body, a registered charity and the trust is now a completely independent organisation, although it does have strong links with the local IWA branch.