Hampshire Countryside Service

Shipwrights Way Feasibility Study

The primary aim of the feasibility study is to establish the potential for developing a multi-user route linking Alice Holt Forest to Queen Elizabeth Country Park (QECP).  The route is to be suitable for cyclists and walkers, and, where possible, horse-riders and disabled users.

The consultants were asked to identify a main route travelling north to south through East Hampshire, using traffic-free routes wherever possible generally avoiding tarmac surfaces.  They were also asked to identify links from the core route to major settlements and particularly to railway stations, namely Liphook, Liss, and Petersfield.

Such a project has a number of important roles to play: tackling obesity and improving community health; providing recreation facilities and tourism attractions; providing opportunities for sustainable transport whilst reducing congestion; encouraging social inclusion and improving quality of life.  It is envisaged that the Shipwrights Way will provide these benefits on two levels: as a resource in its own right and as a sustainable transport route to the major countryside attractions of Alice Holt and QECP.

The consultants have identified a preferred route which is achievable in 2 years and a longer-term ‘aspirational’ route.  

The emphasis will be on providing the best quality experience for the widest number of users – this may lead to a braided route in some areas where alternative routes will be available to different user types.

The Consultants carried out surveys of the proposed route, which included:

  • Current surface type and conditions
  • Repairs/ improvements required
  • Signage  - existing and required for a promoted route
  • Hazard assessments (particularly road sections)
  • Basic ecological survey ( i.e. to record anything that looks problematic along the way esp. badgers, bat roosts or other protected species)
  • Identifying a suitable ‘demonstration section’
  • Assessment of on-going maintenance issues (e.g. vegetation management, river    erosion, shared use with farm vehicles, etc)
  • Identify possible cycle parking locations

Overall the study showed that it is feasible to create a multi-user route between Alice Holt Forest and Queen Elizabeth Country Park, it also found:-

  • It has good connections to railway stations and towns.
  • It will be a challenge to improve paths in certain areas of the route.
  • A benefit is the lack of gates and stiles for the user to contend with.

The overall route is 28 miles long with approximately two thirds being off-road.  At present the exact final route is still under consideration and we will present the preferred route once this has been identified.