Pathway to the Downs is officially opened

Portsmouth Grammar School pupils, back from left  to right: Sam Rush, Oliver Clark, Hermione Barrick, Michaela Clancy, Ilana Berney, Lizzy Greenfield, Charlotte Phillips, Grace Goodfellow, Caleb Barron, Robert Merriam. Front row, left to right: Katie Morrison, Gemma Webb, Lana Watt, Alfie Perry-Ward

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THE first two sections of a 60-mile countryside path for walkers and cyclists will be unveiled this weekend.

Shipwrights Way is the name being given to a new footpath linking Portsmouth to Alice Holt Forest, near Farnham.

The first two sections of the path are being opened on Saturday – 10am at Alice Holt Forest and 3pm at Queen Elizabeth Country Park, near Clanfield.

Over the next 18 months the two sections will be joined up via Bordon, Liphook, Liss and Petersfield.

The route will then be extended south to Portsmouth, through Rowlands Castle, Havant and Hayling Island, giving a continuous path for people to explore and enjoy the countryside.

Councillor Keith Chapman, in charge of culture at Hampshire County Council, which is a partner on the project, said: ‘It’s been quite some time since a new long-distance route was created in Hampshire, and where better to do it than in east Hampshire to link the South Downs with Portsmouth’s ship-building heritage?

‘It is hoped it will boost the local tourist economy.’