Shipwrights Way. The story continues. And it's getting worse
Says Sue Booton
"Recently my daughter and I have been riding on the route. Our two main concerns, apart from the surface of Hardings Ride are the link from Abbots Wood to Hardings Ride along the road and the FC carpark adjacent to Hardings Ride.
"This section of road is not good, the traffic is fast, at times very busy and and there is a notorious dangerous bend. This could all be so easily resolved by using an adjacent track in Abbots Wood, that was, until a few years ago used by horseriders.
"Riding along Hardings Ride is hazardous, particularly at weekend and holidays. The reinstating of the fence along the boundary of the picnic area has helped but the crossing point from the carpark needs improving. Children rush from the carpark straight across Hardings Ride or people stop with pushchairs and young children and dogs to look at the horses. Our horses are generally good with most things, but the problem is to many people in one particular area that unsettles the horses.
This problem is going to get worse as more visitors are encouraged to use the new facilities of the FC and I think the gates either side of Hardings Ride should be reinstated asap.
"The problem with the surface along Hardings Ride is very disappointing, not only for horsesriders but diffucult for cyclists and virtually impossible for pushcairs. This is a very bad beginning for the new Shipwrights Way, particularly at the start of the busy holiday season and I cannot believe we have to wait until the Autumn to resolve the situation, considering how much money has already been spent."
Says Andy Smith, Head of Countryside, Hampshire County Council
"I have looked into the issues which you have raised.
"The rangers who stopped you whilst you were riding the Shipwrights Way through Alice Holt shouldn't have done so. You don't need a permit to ride this route.
"Cath Hart, the Project Manager, raised this issue at the recent Shipwrights Way Steering Group. David Williamson, who represents the Forestry Commission on this Group, was concerned to hear of this incident and agreed to make sure that all FC staff understand about the Shipwrights Way and not to stop people riding the route.
"The issue of the surface on Harding Ride ought to be resolved soon. No new surfacing work has been done since the path was improved back in March. The problem is simply a result of the smaller fines not having settled in those locations where the path's surface has previously been disturbed for pipeline or cable works. Here, the bigger scalpings have been exposed as the finer surfacing material has not compacted well. This does need improving and the contractor will return in the Autumn when the wetter conditions are more suitable to bedding this material down."