Volunteers celebrate cycle and bridleway improvements at Silchester Roman Town
Volunteers have celebrated the completion of a six-month project, overseen by Hampshire County Council, to create a new and safer route for horse riders and cyclists at Silchester Roman Town countryside site near Tadley. The upgrades took 54 people 771 hours of volunteer time and involved the installation of 400 metres of fencing, equivalent to the height of the Empire State Building.
The County Council’s Executive Member for Countryside and Regulatory Services, Councillor Russell Oppenheimer said: “I want to thank all the fantastic volunteers who have delivered this herculean project. The end result of their hard work is a package of improvements that will make this historic Hampshire site in one of the country’s best preserved Roman towns, more accessible to people on a bike or on horseback. This is a great example of how our Countryside Service works with over a thousand volunteers to protect and preserve the county’s environment. There are a wide range of ways people can get involved from conservation and horticulture work to guided walk leaders, surveyors and path wardens.”
Funded by the Armed Forces Covenant Fund, the improvements at Silchester Roman Town include: the upgrade of two footpaths to bridleway standards, the creation of a safe 490m route for horse riders and cyclists and replacing stiles with three gates that provide better access for visitors with limited mobility. The volunteer team installed 400 meters of fencing, including 181 fence posts, and cleared vegetation to make the bridleway wider and safer for horse riders.
The project was completed with the help of local cyclists, ramblers, and horse riders alongside volunteers from Walking with the Wounded (a charity to help injured former British Armed Forces servicemen and women in their transition from the military to civilian life); and Newbury Building Society.
The Countryside Service is responsible for the management of 7,400 acres of land for wildlife, over 80 sites, 71 heritage features and almost 3,000 miles of rights of way public access. Find out more about volunteering opportunities online at www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryside/get-involved/volunteering
Silchester Roman Town is one of the best-preserved Roman towns in Britain. It is one of the very few that has had continuous occupation since the Iron Age. The principal ruins are the third century town walls of which an impressive, almost entire circuit still exists. They front an earlier second century rampart with an outer ditch. Visitors can also see Iron Age outer defences alongside the car park. Find more information about visiting Silchester Roman Town.