After many years as an unexplained missing link, a public footpath has been successfully upgraded to a multi-user route, connecting a dead-end bridleway to Strawberry Lane. This now gives riders from Brighstone, Mottistone and Hulverstone a direct route to the Tennyson Trail across Mottistone Common, passing the iconic Longstone.
The dead-end bridleway frustrated local horse riders who were unable to pass through a Forestry Commission barrier on the route from the top of Mottistone Down towards the Longstone, and so they were forced to turn around.
Instigated by the National Trust, the project sees the creation of a new multi-user route, available for use by walkers, riders and cyclists, and so it will be much used by the whole community. The project was assisted by the IWC Public Rights of Way Department, the Isle of Wight Ramblers and the I.o.W Bridleways Group.
The surface improvements and drainage together with clearance work and the new gates required to ensure the safety of grazing stock have all been achieved as a joint venture.
The opening of the new route was celebrated on Sunday 14 September, when Mr Robin Lang, Countryside Manager for the National Trust, Isle of Wight, hosted a gathering of representatives of all Public Rights of Way users along with Mr Darrel Clarke, Head of the Isle of Wight Council Public Rights of Way team at their Longstone Farmhouse HQ in Strawberry Lane at Mottistone.
For the I.oW Bridleways Group it was a double celebration as their contribution of a new bridlegate to the scheme is a first for them and the culmination of four years of fundraising. Being able to fund a new gate on a completely new route is a real bonus and Mr Andrew Turner very kindly accepted an invitation to perform a gate opening ceremony for the I.o.W Bridleways Group.
Everyone present at the ceremony expressed their gratitude to Mr Robin Lang, who has overseen the project from inception to completion. In turn, Robin Lang thanked everyone who had contributed towards a very successful outcome.