Overview

We are a community group based in Hale and surrounding area undertaking a feasibility study into the possibility of creating a route free of motorised traffic, connecting Salisbury to Alderholt (nominally called the Charford Way) which can be used by local people whether travelling by foot, bicycle or horse.

There is a disused railway line that, in various states of existence, lies between Alderbury and Alderholt and the group are at the early stages of considering if this former transport artery could form the basis of a traffic-free route, either using the former route or passing close to it in areas where it has been built upon or irreversibly changed.

The route would link the settlements of Alderbury and Whaddon, Downton, Breamore, Fordingbridge and Alderholt, passing through a varied landscape of chalk downland, housing estates, water meadows, tree-lined paths and embankments.

To the north it would join with the National Cycle Network Route 24 into Salisbury (under development) and to the south has the potential to be continued along the old railway through Verwood, West Moors and Wimborne where it would link to the Castleman Trailway (Ringwood to Poole)

Benefits

1. Reducing congestion on the roads as more people will be cycling for short journeys.
2. Bringing health benefits to local people who choose to walk or cycle rather than use the car.
3. Creating new links between communities, and encouraging volunteers to get involved in a project with huge long term benefits.
4. Attracting visitors who will use local pubs, restaurants, cafes, shops and accommodation.
5. Providing all weather surfaces for dog walkers to use throughout winter.
6. Providing access into the New Forest National Park for visitors via Breamore, and connections with established recreational cycle routes within the Forest.
7. Providing a good cycle ride for visitors staying at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre who could reach the route via Woodgreen and the Avon Valley path.
8. Encouraging more pupils at The Burgate School and Sixth Form Centre to cycle or walk to school, thus reducing dependence on parents for lifts.
9. Providing the communities of Hale, Redlynch, Morgans Vale, Woodfalls, Lover and Downton with a relatively traffic-free route to Salisbury.
10. Allowing residents in Alderholt to safely cycle or walk to Fordingbridge avoiding the treacherous B3078.
11. Passing through chalk downland and water meadows and providing glorious views across the Dorset and Wiltshire countryside and through the Avon Valley.
12. Eventually linking to other long distance cycling routes.