The BBC Countryfile team recently filmed at locations along the Shipwrights Way, for a show scheduled for 6pm on Sunday 12 May on BBC1 (and then available on iplayer).
The two-day visit included: presenter Matt Baker log boat building at Butser Ancient Farm with an experimental archaeologist; conservation of HMS Victory & HMS Warrior in Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard; and The Cockleshell Heroes at Eastney. Presenter Julia Bradbury also paddled a replica Cockle on Portsmouth Canoe Lake.
Thank you to the 100 walkers, cyclists and horse-riders who braved the extreme cold to experience the beautiful East Hampshire countryside at the opening of new sections of the Shipwrights Way on Sunday 24 March. Damian Hinds MP declared the route open at the picnic area in Liss, and started the walkers and riders on their journeys north to Liphook and south to Petersfield.
An information fayre ran through the morning, with information from the four partner organisations, along with bike registration and crime prevention advice from Hampshire Police and bike health-checks from Quench Cycles.
Local Walking for Health volunteers ran a sponsored walk/cycle in conjunction with the opening to help raise money for the Buriton Village to Village Charity Group. The fundraising total is not yet known, but the group raised a significant amount towards books for 19 schools in Ghana.
Damian Hinds MP said:
"It was great to see such a large turnout for the opening. With the area’s network of bridleways and footpaths, beautiful countryside and welcoming pubs, we have the opportunity to really develop our inbound tourism, and the Shipwright’s Way will play a key role in this. In addition, it will give local residents the chance to get out and explore the local area, and will be of great use to commuters as they travel to work.”
The project is working with an artist, Richard Perry, who has recently been talking to communities along the Shipwrights Way in order to inspire sculptures which 'tell the story of the landscape'. These will be carved mainly in creamy Portland stone, and most will be around waist high and around 50cm square. He has held seven workshops, with a very positive response and lots of ideas, ranging from a pick-axe head with a (rare and rather pretty) cheese-smail crawling across it in Buriton chalk pit to a re-creation of a statue of the goddess Venus found at a Roman villa en route, to oysters and Mulberry Harbours in Hayling Island. QR codes next to each sculpture will link to more information, perhaps images of old maps or of people living/working there in the past, oral history recordings, birdsong or even playlets or story trails to recreate past events.
It is a new long-distance route which links villages and towns in east Hampshire through some beautiful countryside. Eventually, it will run from Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, down across the South Downs to the sea at Portsmouth. The route will be open to walkers and cyclists and, where possible, horse-riders and people with disabilities.
As much as possible, the route is off-road, using rights of way and permissive paths. Starting from Alice Holt Forest, it passes through Bordon, Liphook, Liss, Petersfield, Queen Elizabeth Country Park, Staunton Country Park, Havant, Hayling Island and via ferry into Portsmouth, finishing at the Historic Dockyard - around 50 miles in all, and including seven rail stations. It will form part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network route 22 linking London to Portsmouth.
Nearly all of the route is now open - approximately 47 of the 50 miles, including an unbroken 40 mile stretch from Liphook through to Portsmouth (sections 5-12 inclusive). Detailed maps and information are available for each section by clicking on the maps/leaflets tab above. We are working with the MOD to fill the last gap in the route, around Bordon, and hope to open this in 2014.
The name reflects the use of oak grown at Alice Holt Forest for Tudor shipbuilding, linking this site with Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, home of the Mary Rose and HMS Victory.
The project is a strong partnership between East Hampshire District Council, Hampshire County Council, South Downs National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission , who have pooled their resources and expertise.. Representatives of each of these organisations together form the steering group which is directing the project; Cath Hart is the Shipwrights Way Project Officer reporting to this group.
It was long-held Forestry Commission aspiration to provide a long-distance route linking two large areas of woodland - Alice Holt Forest near Farnham and Queen Elizabeth Country Park near Petersfield. This idea was discussed and then developed by the Hampshire Action Team (HAT) for East Hampshire - a feasibility study was carried out in late 2009 which showed that the project was achievable and the partnership was then established to deliver it.