Visitor Development 2019-2020

The AONB team and Stour Valley partners have secured funding of £142,601.50 from LEADER, the rural grants programme established by Defra from EU funds, and administered by Suffolk County Council.

The project - "Improving the Stour Valley for Visitors" - will run until Autumn 2020. The grant supports development of high quality visitor products and services that link different kinds of tourism providers, to extend the tourism season and to encourage visitors to stay.

The project activity will take place within the Wool Towns LAG area, with a focus on the river Stour valley from the Haverhill area through to Manningtree, plus the Stour Valley hinterland including the Wool Towns such as Lavenham and Long Melford, and the surrounding countryside (see map below).

This is a brief summary of the project outputs:

  • Staff, 1.4 FTE. Two posts, based with the AONB and working across the Stour Valley.
  • Project Coordination and Practical Improvements.
  • Events and Communications
  • Events x 16 (including art theme roadshow, film showing, heritage symposia)
  • Trails, leaflets x 15, including food trails x 3 and 1 Wool Towns guide
  • Develop programme of art workshops for shoulder/winter season 
  • Develop series of podcasts
  • Provide x 7 information boards (along Stour Valley Path/access points and at Foxearth Meadows Nature Reserve)
  • Improve the Stour Valley Path by removing x 18 stiles and replace with accessible gates; replace surfaces on two stretches of SVP near Dedham/Flatford
  • Staff, when not working on projects specifically mentioned above, will be building awareness and doing range of communication after writing a Communications Plan, working with local businesses, holding regular Stour Valley meetings, supporting work of Wool Towns Association and River Stour Festival, writing copy for trails, research and develop opportunities for cyclists and walkers, scoping signage options, securing funding for future work, undertaking all necessary LEADER claims and reports.

Some of the outputs of this project (such as leaflets, film clips and links to podcasts) can be found in the 'Visiting' section of this website.

For more details please contact Oka Last and Katherine Davies, Stour Valley Visitor Development Officers:

E-mail:, Telephone 01394 445225.