Smart new path is a big boost for Woolton Hill
WITH a pull of a pink, blue and white ribbon, the new Woolton Hill all-weather path was opened to the public.
The path – which is made from Fittleworth sandstone, similar to those found on National Trust properties – stretches across the village field, from the southwest corner on Trade Street near Woolton Hill surgery to the northeast corner on Church Road.
Construction took place over a two week period, and on Wednesday last week it was formally opened to the public by Paul Davies, the new executive headteacher of The Schools of Woolton Hill – a new federation combining St Thomas’s Infant School and Woolton Hill Junior School.
Speaking at the opening, Mr Davies said: “The path is an amazing resource for the village.
“It’s going to mean our children and their families can come to the school safely, particularly in those winter months when those roads are far too dark.”
The path was funded by a grant from the Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council Local Infrastructure Fund, and East Woodhay Parish Council reserves.
Parish council chairman James Mitchell said: “It’s an excellent improvement to the village.
“The field is a covenant gift to the parish and the parish council are custodians of that gift.
“It’s gone from being a field that nobody used, to having a path through it, and now having a permanent path that enables families to safely cross and go from one side of the village to the other side without having to use country lanes, which are dangerous.
“Apart from the fact that it opens up a beautiful view of the countryside from this area, it gives safe access around the village.
“It’ll help kids off the roads, and just general walking around the village.
“It’s much safer for everybody and it’s proving very popular and a real improvement to the village amenities.”
The path is a ‘permissive path,’ which means that the parish council as landowner has granted access to the public, as opposed to a public footpath which is a legally protected right of way for the public.
The council said it can close the path at any time without notice, particularly if conditions for using the path – displayed on signs at the entrances – aren’t met.
Councillor and project manager Mark Rand added: “We’ve tried to do it as aesthetically pleasing as possible by making it meander across the field rather than being a straight line.
“The big benefit will be over the winter months – previously the field was not able to be used because it was muddy and too sodden for people to walk across, and now they’ll be able to use it all year round.
“And it’s great to have the support of the schools.”