Diss Beacon of Hope
The coronavirus pandemic has been a time of great challenge. As the virus has disrupted our daily lives, people across Diss have faced loss and hardship: in their homes, in their families, and in their businesses. The Beacon of Hope is our town's focus for commemorating COVID-19:
Remembering those we have lost
Honouring those who helped us through
Encouraging us to hope for better times ahead
Facing St Mary's Church and overlooking the Mere, the Beacon of Hope will be lit on special occasions. In due course the Beacon of Hope will have a plinth around its base, which will house a time capsule. The schoolchildren of Diss will be invited to contribute to this, creating a unique material record of this tough moment in our town's history.
Beacon of Hope Lighting Ceremony
The Beacon of Hope was lit for the first time on Monday 21st June 2021 at its official Lighting Ceremony.
"A single sunbeam is enough to drive away many shadows."
St Francis of Assisi
The Diss Beacon of Hope project includes the creation of three Beacon Trails around the historic town of Diss and its surrounding villages: two for walking, and one for cycling. They are fully signed and free for everyone to use, at any time.
We decided to create these trails:
To encourage us all to get 'out and about' in Diss again, exploring and appreciating all our town has to offer after a time when many of us have been stuck at home.
To commemorate the 'lockdown loops' of daily exercise which were a lifeline for so many people during lockdown.
To promote gentle daily exercise to boost health and wellbeing across our community for the future.
"Walking is man's best medicine." Hippocrates
Short walking route
The Short Beacon Walking Trail takes you around the historic centre of Diss, starting and finishing at the Beacon of Hope in the park. The circular route is designed to be fully accessible for pushchairs and wheelchairs. This trail is a chance to admire the architectural treasures of Diss, discover our wonderful shops and cafes, and enjoy the peaceful places right in the heart of our town: the Boardwalk, Parish Fields, and the Entry.
There is also a "What can you spot?" challenge for children as they explore the trail.
Creating this trail has also allowed us to update and replace the pedestrian maps around central Diss.
In future, we hope to use the Short Beacon Walking Trail to host a sculpture trail around Diss.
Long walking route
For the keener walker, the Long Beacon Walking Trail offers the chance to get out of the town and explore Diss in its wider rural context. Heading out of Diss on the Angles Way and Boudicca Way, this route takes you to the medieval manor of Frenze, historic Scole (complete with highwaymen and ghost stories, not to mention a dragon!), and the gentle beauty of Stuston and Palgrave. If you’re lucky, you may even spot our famous white deer herd on the way home up the Lows. The best thing about this route is how little of it is on roads: most of this 12km circular route is made of quiet farm tracks, field edges and footpaths. This trail is a chance to unwind with nature, appreciating the beauty of the Waveney Valley. Allow two and half hours for this; and don’t forget to take a picnic!
A map for the long walking route will be uploaded soon.
Butterfly on Boyland Common, Credit Nicholas Lingwood
The Beacon Cycling Trail is a quiet and gentle circular route of 15km aimed at the amateur cyclist, families and children. Venturing out of Diss from the top of the Heritage Triangle through the pretty villages of Brewers Green and Snow Street, the trail works its way up to the wildlife haven of Boyland Common to the north, continuing through Shelfanger and back down the Heywood into the heart of the town. This trail takes you on winding roads through picturesque green commons, and out across some spectacular vistas of open farmland on either side of the tiny roads, before returning to the Georgian elegance of Diss’ historic centre.
If you complete one of our Beacon Trails, we'd love to see photos of your journey!
Share your images with us on social media or via email with the hashtag #DissBeaconTrails