Gates replace stiles to aid countryside walkersBy Laura Nightingale
November 21, 2012
PEOPLE with mobility difficulties will soon benefit from better access to Hampshire’s countryside thanks to a new initiative.
Hampshire County Council’s Stiles2Gates scheme will see ageing or particularly high stiles substituted with gates or kissing gates to enable easier access for children and residents with limited mobility.
Where appropriate, countryside staff at the council 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.
Councillor Keith Chapman, executive member for culture and recreation at the council, 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.”
The work is being supported by the South Downs and New Forest National Park Authorities and funded by the council’s community challenge fund, aimed at helping rural communities improve the quality of 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 14 gates in the North Hampshire area.