That’s Diss

There’s more to this town than the Mere

EDP Norfolk - - Inside -

DISS COULD be pretty much the only place in the world you can walk on wa­ter.

A new float­ing board­walk, which com­bines a pon­toon with a path around part of its fa­mous Mere, is al­ready a huge suc­cess and quite pos­si­bly unique.

The board­walk loops out on to the lovely lake at the heart of Diss and be­cause it is float­ing, gives peo­ple the sen­sa­tion of ac­tu­ally step­ping out on to the wa­ter.

“I don’t know of any other float­ing board­walk,” said Sheila King, pro­ject man­ager of the £3.4m Her­itage Tri­an­gle pro­ject which is link­ing the his­toric streets clus­tered around the church and Corn Hall in the town cen­tre with the lake it­self and sur­round­ing park­land.

Peo­ple can now walk around part of the six-acre Mere on the unique wooden pon­toon, loop­ing out into the lake from deck­ing.

“It was an in­cred­i­bly dif­fi­cult pro­ject. We couldn’t build it on piles be­cause of the lay­ers of silt at the bot­tom of the Mere,” ex­plained Sheila.

The Her­itage Tri­an­gle re­gen­er­a­tion has al­ready in­cluded the restora­tion of the 1850s Corn Hall, which has been trans­formed into a re­gional arts and her­itage cen­tre, and re­designed cen­tral streets to al­low peo­ple to en­joy walk­ing through the area. There are also new in­for­ma­tion boards, telling some of the sto­ries of the town’s past, and newly land­scaped and planted gar­dens.

“The in­spi­ra­tion for the float­ing board­walk was that the Mere is such a cen­tral fea­ture of Diss but you can’t walk around it. The idea was to cre­ate some­thing of in­ter­est, and a path to bring peo­ple into the old part of town,” said Sheila. “It’s rel­a­tively short but to be able to walk out on to the wa­ter just has a won­der­ful feel to it.

It runs from King’s Head Yard and Mere Street and will con­tinue fur­ther when a planned new Wether­spoons is built.

Up in the heart of the old town, the beau­ti­ful build­ings host around 60 in­de­pen­dent traders.

There is also a com­plex of artists, de­sign­ers and crafts­peo­ple and mak­ers at de­sign­ers­mak­ers21. The hub hosts peo­ple run­ning small cre­ative busi­nesses, pro­duc­ing textiles, paint­ings, prints, sculp­tures, mo­saics, jewellery, stained glass and more is based in a warren of Vic­to­rian rooms and in­cludes gal­leries, work­shops and stu­dios. It is open to the pub­lic 10am-5pm, Thurs­day to Satur­day.

“Diss has got these lovely his­toric build­ings where peo­ple have lived and worked for more than 500 years, but it’s not just cutesy cho­co­late box, it’s also got a real spirit to it,” said Sheila. The Her­itage Tri­an­gle pro­ject was led by a part­ner­ship be­tween The Diss Corn Hall Trust, Diss Town Coun­cil and Diss Mu­seum.

“To be able to walk out on to the wa­ter just has a won­der­ful feel to it”

Above: Diss Town sign Left: The new board­walk across Diss Mere Top left: An icy Diss Mere in Fe­bru­ary 1969

Top: Diss Mere and Diss Church Above: Diss Mere scene dated 1953

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