Photo: Pipps Ford near Needham Market on the Ipswich to Stowmarket Navigation by Fergus Muir
(17 miles, River navigation controlled by the EA and riparian landowners)
After closure of the Stowmarket Navigation (also known as the River Gipping) in 1934 there followed many years of neglect, which resulted in the navigation becoming impassable.
The River Gipping Trust was launched in 2007 by members of IWA’s Ipswich Branch, and the Trust took over the practical restoration work and leading the campaign for this waterway in October 2008. Much restoration work on the 4 locks between Needham Market and Baylham has been done, but there is still much more to do. Three of the locks are virtually complete, ready for lock gates. The Trust is hoping to complete work on the fourth (at Pipps Ford) this year, so it too will be ready for lock gates.
Over the next couple of years the Trust is planning to build a new footbridge across the river near Baylham and thus restore the original footpath (towpath) route alongside the river bank (its current route is away from the river, next to the railway line). Discussions with the landowners to build the bridge, with permissive path to it are ongoing, and the Trust need to raise the necessary funds for the bridge material. The Trusts team of volunteers will carry out bridge installation works. Work has already commenced on the permissive path alongside the river leading to the bridge.