Third section of country path unveiled in bid to create 60-mile route

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THE most northerly section of a 60-mile countryside path for walkers and cyclists has opened.

The two-mile stretch of the Shipwrights Way connects Bentley Train Station to Alice Holt Forest, north of Petersfield.

The work is part of an ambitious bid to create a continuous path from the forest to Portsmouth – the journey taken by logs to the dockyard to build ships.

The latest stretch is the third to be opened.

It will connect to three miles of path leading from Alice Holt Forest towards Whitehill, while another two-mile stretch from Buriton to Queen Elizabeth Country Park has been completed.

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

The project is being put together in partnership between East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, the Forestry Commission and the South Downs National Park.

Councillor Ken Carter, chairman of East Hampshire District Council, said: ‘East Hampshire is filled with beautiful countryside and places of historic interest but many people don’t know where they can go to enjoy them.

‘The Shipwrights Way gives people an easy, well-marked path to follow, and they know where they will end up and what facilities there will be when they get there.’

County councillor Mark Kemp-Gee said: ‘This is about encouraging people to go outside, enjoy the countryside and learn about local history.’