Dame Stella Rimington unlocks the secrets of the Brecks by train

Thursday, 1 August 2013

A newly decorated ‘Brecks’ train was launched by Dame Stella Rimington (Ex Director General MI5 and Brecks resident) on Wednesday July 31st at Norwich Station.  Greater Anglia and The Brecks Partnership have ‘wrapped’ a Class 170 train used on the Norwich to Cambridge route through the Brecks in enticing images, to promote this little known, but fascinating area, of Norfolk and Suffolk.

The Brecks is a truly hidden gem covering over 1000 square kilometers in the heart of East Anglia with a fascinating past and loads of things to see and do in such a small area.  Support to develop tourism for the over 300 tourism related businesses in The Brecks has been demonstrated by local MPs Elizabeth Truss, Matthew Hancock and George Freeman.  Often hidden from view by the trees lies a wonderful world of forest adventure, miles of tracks and paths, good food and drink, great attractions and accommodation with amazing history and fun.  Thousands of rail and car passengers pass through en route to more well known destinations, such as the Norfolk and Suffolk Coasts, Norwich and the Broads, not knowing what they are missing. The Brecks Partnership secured funding from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE) to deliver a number of projects to promote the Brecks - including gateway signs, a new website, the Brecks Explorer newspaper and supporting the Brecks Food and Drink Festival.  Greater Anglia has provided matched funding to install the Brecks decals on the 3 carriage train that will be in place until at least July 2014 and seen by over 14 million annual rail users.

Jonathan Denby, Head of Corporate Affairs for Greater Anglia said:

“We are delighted to play our part in promoting The Brecks, through this exciting project with the Brecks Partnership.  With the hourly, convenient and comfortable Norwich – Cambridge train service calling at Thetford and Brandon, rail is a great way to reach the key stations for this beautiful and attractive area of our region.  The specially-liveried modern Class 170 train will not only promote The Brecks to passengers along the entire Norwich to Cambridge corridor, but also along other rail routes in the region - from Norwich to Sheringham, Great Yarmouth and Lowestoft and from Ipswich to Lowestoft, Cambridge and Peterborough.  We hope to encourage many more people to enjoy the best of the Brecks, accessing the area by train, to the benefit of the local economy.

Brecks Partnership Manager Neil Featherstone said:

"We are very grateful to Greater Anglia and Stella Rimington for helping us unlock the secrets of the Brecks for rail users and the wider public. The Brecks has an amazing story to tell to both residents and visitors with carriage images representing Exploring the Past, Enjoying the Present and Embracing the Space. Whether you fancy an exciting swing in the trees, exploring some beautiful gardens or enjoying great food and drink, followed by a quiet walk across a wide open heath, there is always something for you here."

Dame Stella Rimington said:

"I first discovered the Brecks more than 20 years ago as a calm, friendly and beautiful place to relax at weekends and escape from the stress and hurly burly of my job.  Now I'm retired, I live here all the time and find it a great place to dream up plots for my novels.  I've had to buy a bigger house to accommodate visitors - friends, children and grandchildren, who all love the walks, the history and of course the great food."

The Breckland area extends from Castle Acre in the north to just above Bury St Edmunds and Newmarket in the south and includes Thetford Forest, the largest lowland forest in the UK with miles of quiet tracks and paths to walk, cycle or ride your horse. It is one of the great biodiversity hot spots in the country with almost 13000 species recorded - including over 2000 species of national conservation concern. There are five market towns at Mildenhall, Brandon, Thetford, Watton and Swaffham with attractions such as High Lodge, Oxborough Hall and Go Ape, the Neolithic flint mines at Grimes Graves, the West Stow Saxon Village and the Green Britain Centre in Swaffham, so there is loads to see and do.