Around 100 walkers, cyclists and a horse-rider braved the weather to experience the beautiful East Hampshire countryside at the opening of the Liphook, Liss and Petersfield sections of the Shipwrights Way on Sunday (24 March).
Damian Hinds MP declared the route open at the picnic area in Liss, and started the walkers and riders on their journeys north to Liphook and south to Petersfield.
The long distance path runs through the heart of East Hampshire, across the South Downs National Park to Hayling Island and finishes at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard.
An information fayre ran through the morning, with information from the four partner organisations: East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, The Forestry Commission and South Downs National Park Authority, along with bike registration and crime prevention advice from Hampshire Police and bike health-checks from Quench Cycles.
Local Walking for Health volunteers ran a sponsored walk/cycle in conjunction with the opening to help raise money for the Buriton Village to Village Charity Group. The fundraising total is not yet known, but the group raised a significant amount towards books for 19 schools in Ghana.
Damian Hinds MP said:
“It was great to see such a large turnout for the opening.
“With the area’s network of bridleways and footpaths, beautiful countryside and welcoming pubs, we have the opportunity to really develop our inbound tourism, and the Shipwright’s Way will play a key role in this. In addition, it will give local residents the chance to get out and explore the local area, and will be of great use to commuters as they travel to work.”