Stile Makeover For Hampshire's Countryside!
14 November 2012
Hampshire residents will benefit from better access to the countryside thanks to a new initiative by Hampshire County Council.
The 'Stiles2Gates' scheme, will see ageing or particularly high stiles in Hampshire, substituted with gates or kissing gates to enable easier access for children and residents with limited mobility. Where appropriate, Countryside staff will also seek to completely remove structures to leave accessible gaps.
The project will see at least 50 stiles taken out across the county by the end of 2013. The work is being supported by the South Downs and New Forest National Park Authorities, and funded from the County Council's 'Community Challenge Fund', aimed at helping rural communities improve the quality life for local people, particularly those who are vulnerable or disadvantaged.
Work has already begun with five new gates installed on the Breamore Estate in the New Forest and a further fourteen gates in the North Hampshire area. This will continue in various locations across the county in the following months with the co-operation of the local landowners.
Hampshire County Council Executive Member for Culture and Recreation, Councillor Keith Chapman, said:
"Hampshire's Countryside Service is continually working to bring Hampshire's beautiful countryside to a wider audience. This project will enable even better access across the county for walkers and ramblers, especially for those with young children or limited mobility."
"The plans will also provide countryside visitors and those who may be less confident with the assurance that they are able to explore without the worry of coming across difficult or neglected stiles."
This project follows a similar programme last year which saw a number of stiles replaced with gates across the county.
The County Council has almost 3,000 miles (4,800 kilometres) of rights of way that provide a variety of landscapes to explore.
To report a damaged stile please contact Hampshire County Council's Countryside Service - firstname.lastname@example.org or call the 0845 6035636.