Footpaths repaired and improved

Published: 21 March 2023

Much of the funding for the projects carried out by the Isle of Wight Council's Rights of Way team has come from the Isle of Wight Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partnership through its Access for All Fund.

Work has included resurfacing or repairing more than 1,600 metres of public bridleway or footpath as well as footbridge replacement and the installation of new boardwalks/platforms and steps.

Darrel Clarke, Rights of Way manager, said: "The Rights of Way team were delighted to be granted this additional funding which has enabled us to enhance popular public rights of way within the AONB. 

"Works had to be completed swiftly and at a time of year when ground conditions can be challenging and we would therefore like to thank landowners and contractors for their support."

Similar funding is expected to be available for 2024/25 and the Rights of Way team and AONB unit are looking forward to working together again.

Richard Grogan, Isle of Wight AONB lead officer, said: "The Isle of Wight AONB Partnership are pleased to be working in partnership with the Isle of Wight Council on these improvements.

"These projects are part of a wider partnership with other landowners which has completed ten access improvement projects under the Access for All fund including replacement of gates and installation of a disabled toilet."

Works have included the following projects:

• Public bridleway N108 (Dark Lane), Carisbrooke - surfacing improvements: A popular path on the outskirts of Carisbrooke providing off road routes to Gatcombe and the wider public rights of way network.
• Public bridleway GL44.56 Godshill Park Farm, Freemantle — surfacing improvements: Public Bridleway GL44 forms part of the rural sections of the Red Squirrel Trail, a cycling route popular with residents and visitors.
• Public bridleway GL36/NC43, Donkey Sanctuary - improved multi-use bridge: As well as providing a sustainable transport link to the Isle of Wight Donkey Sanctuary, public bridleways GL36 and NC43 are popular with all users and provides access to the AONB.
• Public footpath T22, Alum Bay - surfacing improvements: Public footpath T22 provides pedestrian access to one of the most popular and iconic beaches on the Isle of Wight, Alum Bay.
• Public footpath V124, Binnel Bay - beach access improvements: Public footpath V124 to Binnel Bay has had a challenging access down the eroding coastal slope. These works have made this easier for people to use.

Councillor Jonathan Bacon, Cabinet member responsible for rights of way, added: "We are very grateful to the Isle of Wight AONB team and all our partners who have helped us to achieve these improvements.

"The results look wonderful and I’m delighted we have been able to use sustainable materials where we can.

"We know that having accessible routes across the Island is key to getting more people walking and cycling and making it the natural choice for short journeys or longer hikes exploring our wonderful countryside and biosphere."