Car Free Day | 22nd September

What would Bungay look like with fewer cars on the roads? On September 22nd every year communities across Europe take back their streets for a day. This year Bungay is joining in and we’re asking everyone to leave their cars at home for the day. There are some great events planned and local traders are offering special discounts and services – see below.

Like almost every other town, city and village in the UK, Bungay was not designed to accommodate cars – instead the town evolved around the needs of pedestrians, who shared the roads and paths with draught animals and those on horseback. Over the last 100 years the car has come to dominate the roads; walkers have been pushed onto pavements and cyclists squeezed between the two.

Motor vehicles have brought huge benefits, but there are obvious disadvantages. Aside from segregated and potentially dangerous roads, we suffer air and noise pollution, damage to historic buildings, the loss of open spaces to road building, and health problems linked to a lack of exercise. As the arguments about Bungay’s new one-way system rumble on there’s one simple action we could take to reduce pressure on the town: leave our cars at home.

Car Free Day, which emerged from separate campaigns in big cities like New York, Berlin and Amsterdam, can trace its roots back to the 1950s. The current annual event is 15 years old and aims to encourage people, for just one day, to reduce their car use. In a rural area like ours where public transport is often limited, cutting back on car use can seem difficult, but Department for Transport research shows that a fifth of all journeys are less than a mile and two thirds are less than five miles. We’re asking people to think about those trips on the 22nd – is walking an option, could you hop on your bike, a bus or even car-share?

In many towns and cities Car Free Days have eventually led to huge changes in the way transport is organised – in Germany and the Netherlands many towns now have car free centres and improved public transport, pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. Here in Bungay our immediate aims are more modest, but we have persuaded Anglian Bus to run 2 services between Beccles and Diss where currently there is no Sunday service. If this one day trial proves a success we hope Anglian Bus will consider making a permanent timetable change. So if you’re not a cyclist or a walker why not take a trip to one of the other beautiful towns in our valley – or invite your friends to Bungay.

Car Free Day Events
(All activities start at the Buttercross.)

9am: Town Mayor Judy Cloake and Town Reeve Richard Cundy will see the Godric Cycling Club off on their regular club run (which is for faster riders). The Club are always keen to see new faces, so do feel free to join them.

10am: As part of Sustainable Bungay’s on-going series of walks around the town there will be a Wellbeing Walk across the Outney Common. Join Tony and others for a gentle walk and conversation.

10:30: Margaret Sheppard will lead a group through the lanes for coffee in Beccles. A more leisurely cycle ride than the Godric Cycling club run!

1:30pm: Josiah Meldrum will lead a group along the back roads to join the Bungay Community Beekeepers for their open day at Aldeby. Those who’ve cycled to Beccles with the 10:30am group are welcome to join at Aldeby.

2:30: Guided walk around Bungay led by local historian Chris Reeve for The Waveney and Blyth Arts. Booking essential: phone Chris Reeve on 01986 893155 or email Waveney and Blyth Arts members £3/£4 non-members (children under 12 free); Tea and cakes at St Mary’s church afterwards (optional) £2.50.

Car Free Day Specials

Buttercross Cafe – a free drink for anyone using the cafe on Sunday 22nd

Earsham Street Cafe – 10% discount for Car Free Day

Tutti Frutti – Tim will be opening his green grocers shop on Sunday morning.

Anglian Bus – laying on a special Sunday bus service between Beccles and Diss. For information about the special Beccles to Diss bus service see the Anglian Bus website: or click here to view it: Car Free Day Bus Timetable

For more information about any of these activities please email