Written to keep everyone who has expressed an interest in the Marriott’s Way Heritage Trail project or who has helped in the development of the project up-to-date with the latest developments
After months of project development and bid-writing, the application was finally submitted to the Heritage Lottery Fund just before the 6th June deadline. We are asking for a grant of just over £435,000 from them, with the rest of the budget coming from a number of other funding sources. The HLF grants panel will meet in late September to consider the bid. If it is successful, we will be able to make a start on the three-year project in October this year.
The bid includes funding for a part-time Education Officer to work with schools and young people’s groups (such as scouts and guides) to deliver a range of educational activities on the Marriott’s Way based on its railway heritage and rich natural history. While there will be particular opportunities for schools and groups close to the trail, the bid also includes funding for transport for school groups from further afield to get to the Marriott’s Way for outdoor learning activities.
Some schools have already expressed a willingness to be involved – Wensum Junior Academy in Norwich, Drayton Junior School, Great Witchingham Primary School and Reepham Primary School are interested in developing new circular walks that will link the schools to the Trail, groups of school students from Aylsham High School and Framingham Earl High School will carry out practical management work on sections of the route and Reepham High School’s Geographers will design the project’s evaluation.
In order to succeed in its aims, the project will rely on getting people involved in it. There will be lots of opportunities for this:
It would be great to discover more about the stories of the railway and the effect it had on people’s lives – things like their role in the two World Wars and the change that the coming of the railways made to the communities they went through. As part of the project, a part-time Education Officer would train and co-ordinate volunteers in archive research and in recording the reminiscences of people who can remember the railways in operation.
For people interested in nature, there will be a chance to learn more about surveying and recording the biodiversity of the route. Training sessions will be given by Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service and the Norfolk Wildlife Trust, with the volunteers involved being allocated a 100m section of the trail to survey and record.
We will need to recruit volunteers to work with existing groups such as the ‘Friends of Norwich City Station’ and the Whitwell and Reepham Railway Preservation Trust in conserving features such as the old station platforms, and the crossing gates, trackside phone kiosk and Permanent Way hut at Lenwade. Where feature such as crossing gates have been completely lost, we’d like to involve volunteers in re-creating them, to the route regains some of its railway character.
Throughout the project, we will be organising habitat management sessions, where volunteers can help to improve the biodiversity of the route by carrying out practical conservation work.
There are already a number of people who have volunteered to walk a section of the trail four times a year and fill in a form to report on its condition and any issues that they find. We’d like to encourage more people to volunteer as Trail Rangers, so that the whole route and the eight new circular walks that will be created are all walked and checked once a month.
A really good outcome of the project would be the setting up of a ‘Friends’ group for the Marriott’s Way. This would be an independent group whose purpose would be to promote the route, organise events, raise money to improve the route and, if they wanted to, help to maintain it. There is already an active ‘Friends of Train Wood and Marriott’s Way’ group at the Norwich end of the trail, so this would be an initiative to create a further group (or groups) to cover the whole route.
The project’s Activity Plan includes an exciting programme of events that are designed to get people walking and cycling on the Marriott’s Way in order to discover about its heritage. All will include opportunities for people to get involved in the organisation. Particularly valuable will be people who are willing to lead a Guided Walk or Cycle Ride. There will be a walks programme aimed at local people throughout the three years of the project, as well as special events such as a Walking and Cycling Festival in late summer 2018. These events will need people trained as walks leaders as well as people who are willing to share their expertise. Other events, such as a Marriott’s Way Marathon and a Vintage Cycle Rally, will require a team of volunteer marshalls. Towards the end of the project will be a theatrical performance along the Marriott’s Way, where an audience on bicycles cycle between scenes which tell some of the stories discovered during the research. This will require a cast of amateur actors (working with a professional director) as well as a backstage crew.
As well as creating new information boards for the main former station sites, the project includes the development of a new Marriott’s Way Heritage App. This would be downloaded onto people’s smart-phones and tablets. It would then provide visitors to the trail with all sorts of useful and interesting information, such as:
As soon as we know if we’ve been given the grant from the heritage Lottery Fund, we’ll send out another E-newsletter to let people know.
If you’d like to get in touch about any aspect of the project, please contact us at: