A HUGE community effort has opened up a new pathway between a forest and a country park.
There has always been a good network of gravel paths at Staunton Country Park, in Leigh Park, and Havant Thicket, near Rowlands Castle.
But a good path to link the two sites was missing – until now.
Portsmouth Water has led a project to provide a new linking path across their land at Havant Thicket, to open up a wider area of countryside for walking and cycling that can be used all year round.
The work involved moving back fences to provide more space, cutting back vegetation, clearing out an old ditch to improve water drainage, and constructing an 8ft wide surfaced path.
The £7,400 project was funded by Portsmouth Water, Hampshire County Council and from money from individual councillors’ allocations.
Simon James, the Forestry Commission manager of Havant Thicket, said: ‘The Forestry Commission was delighted to be involved in this project to link our woodland in with the country park to provide wider recreation opportunities for dog walkers, cyclists and users of mobility scooters.
‘It shows what can be achieved when several organisations get together.
‘We hope to carry out further improvements in Havant Thicket during the coming year.’
The council’s Countryside Service will be improving signage from Staunton Country Park to Havant Thicket, including way marking a new circular cycle route.
The plan is to get the new signs in place by the spring.
Councillors Sam Darragh and Ann Buckley, from the county council, each gave £700.
Cllr Buckley said: ‘I would like to praise the team for all their work.
‘This route on the edge of Leigh Park and Rowlands Castle will be well-used by local residents and provides a great off road route for youngsters who are learning to cycle.’