Money to improve cycle path from Midhurst to Stedham

CYCLISTS could soon find Midhurst to be a cycling haven.

Improvement works in the pipeline for the town look set to see it take centre stage as one of the most bike-friendly areas of the South Downs National Park.

In his report to Midhurst Town Council on Monday, county councillor Gordon McAra told the council there was more than £50,000 set aside by the county council for the upgrading of the path between Stedham and Midhurst.

“It adds to Midhurst’s growing reputation as a centre for cycling, which is very good for visitors as well as locals,” he said.

Works include widening stretches of the path, putting in road crossings and road markings in June Lane, Midhurst.

Around £5,000 was spent last year on the works, with £10,000 set aside for this year and around £40,000 for the following year. The total cost of the enterprise is around £56,000.

“It’s actually quite a major project,” Cllr McAra added.

“It’s very good from the Midhurst point of view because we’re trying to develop a tourist offering for Midhurst as a cycling offering for this part of the South Downs.”

Speaking of the cost of the project, he told the council it was probably the large single-cycle route that the county council was dealing with at the moment.

“So it says something about Midhurst,” he added.

After the meeting he described the cycle trail as ‘part of a network of routes’.

“It puts Midhurst on the cyclists’ map,” he said.

“It’s not only good for local residents but it’s good to attract businesses – and it’s healthy too.”

He added: “In a national park you would think cycling is a given. The heart of the national park will have the heart of the national park cycle route.”

Further to the trail from Midhurst to Stedham, Cllr McAra also told Midhurst Town Council of £13,000 that is being spent on the Serpent Trail, which snakes from Haslemere High Street through Liphook, Milland, Fernhurst, Petworth, Fittleworth, Duncton, Heyshott, Midhurst, Stedham and Nyewood before reaching its final destination after 64 miles in Petersfield.

Cllr McAra said the £13,000 was being spent on improving signage, which he said would also help to boost Midhurst as a central tourist offering for the area.