Portchester footpath to the coastline is now designated a public right of way

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A new footpath in Portchester is being designated a public right of way – but the county council won’t be maintaining it.

A resident put the plan for the route to be designated forward in 2017 and a dedication by deed has been entered, meaning Hampshire County Council is setting aside private land for public purposes. The footpath in question is next to Wicor Copse and is owned by Abri, the land developer to the north of Fareham Footpath 111.

In 2023, Abri agreed to dedicate a route between three points, incorporating the route voluntarily. After further talks with Fareham Borough Council (FBC), which owns land south of Abri’s land, it was agreed that a pre-existing route with a hard surface running between Audret Close and the England Coast Path would also be dedicated by agreement.

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In recent months, Abri has built a hoggin path – a form of gravel – 1.2 metres in width over part of three sections. The final section of the route remains a grass path, but discussions between Abri and the borough council are ongoing about how to connect it to the pre-existing metalled path. By the end of this grass point, the path merges with a metalled, 1.8 metre-wide path that the borough council currently maintains.

The Portchester footpathThe Portchester footpath
The Portchester footpath

The path starts at a junction with Audret Close and runs between houses, emerging into the public open space maintained by the borough council. It also meets the recently confirmed King Charles III England Coast Path route.

A Hampshire County Council report said that the path will be recorded as a common law dedication so it does not have to maintain it. It said: “Because both Abri and FBC have indicated they are content to continue to maintain the proposed routes, it is not appropriate to record public rights via a creation agreement under the Highways Act 1980 since this would confer maintenance responsibility on the county council. It is therefore proposed that the paths will be recorded via a common law dedication.”