The final section of a 50-mile path running through the heart of East Hampshire has been completed.
A one-and-a-half mile stretch, connecting Whitehill & Bordon to Liss, is the last link in the chain for the Shipwrights Way.
The Shipwrights Way is available for walkers, cyclists and – where possible – horse-riders, linking the towns and villages of East Hampshire to the beautiful countryside on their doorstep. It runs from Alice Holt Forest southwards over the South Downs and all the way to the sea, finishing at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.
The latest section was built with the help of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) along the edge of Longmoor Ranges.
As well as completing the Shipwrights Way the new bridleway provides the perfect access into the South Downs National Park for residents of Whitehill and Bordon.
It will provide a link to the nearest train station, at Liss, while ensuring the continued use of the Longmoor Ranges for training by the MoD.
The Shipwrights Way connects seven train stations, three country parks and other places of interest and will support the rural economy, the area’s tourism industry and encourage sustainable transport. It runs in a continuous route through East Hampshire, including a spur to Liphook.
The project has been delivered by a partnership between East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, South Downs National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission. Funding for this section has come from the M3 Local Enterprise Partnership, the MoD and developer contributions.
Cllr Ken Carter, EHDC’s representative for the Shipwrights Way, said: “This route will be the only off-road access for cyclists and horse-riders leading south from Bordon into the South Downs National Park. Not only will people be able to explore and enjoy the countryside but local pubs, shops and tourism businesses will also benefit.”
Councillor Andrew Gibson, Executive Member for Culture, Recreation and Countryside at Hampshire County Council, said: “Completing the Shipwrights Way is excellent news. The route is already very popular, and this final section will no doubt make it even more attractive to residents and visitors, providing access to some of the county’s most beautiful countryside while boosting the local tourism economy.”
Cllr Mark Kemp-Gee, Hampshire County Councillor for the Alton Rural ward, added: “This section of the Shipwrights Way represents the last piece in the jigsaw. This easy-to-follow, well-marked path will help people discover the many places of beauty and historic interest in the area.”
To find out more and a map of the new route, go to www.shipwrights.org.uk.