This path has been used since time immemorial by cyclists to travel between the A27 and Warsash. It gives access to Sustrans Route 2 east to the Gosport ferry and Pompei and west via the Hamble ferry to Southampton. Recently NO CYCLING signs have been placed along the path and a very aggressively-worded sign prominently placed by the ferry landing saying that the land is privately owned (by HCC), cycling is not allowed on the path and the police intend to monitor the situation, challenge cyclists and take action. Walkers are encouraged to challenge cyclists as well!

I am sure some members of SCC will be familiar with this path and will not be aware of the new restriction. The path has never been a designated shared use path but local custom has always accepted cycling.

After investigations by Portsmouth Cycle Forum it transpires that Hampshire County Council will take into account evidence of continued cycle use of this path, and may adopt this as a shared use path:

I am happy to clarify that anyone is free to make an application to demonstrate that rights exist over a route other than those that are already recorded. In this instance I believe that you are seeking to demonstrate that the route is wrongly recorded as a Footpath as you believe that the path has been used by the public at large on bicycles for a long period and therefore ‘higher’ rights have been acquired. As I explained on the phone, this use needs to be for an uninterrupted period of 20 years or more before the use was called into question.

Applications should be made in the correct way to the County Council, supported by the relevant evidence. It is our job to assess the evidence and to decide whether it is sufficient to warrant the making of an Order to change the status of the route (to show higher rights than just Footpath).

It is therefore imperative that all those who have cycled the path during the last 20 years, and who feel it should remain open to cyclists, should complete a “user evidence form”.

Joanne Newell has kindly agreed to collate responses and submit them to HCC. Here are the instructions from Joanne:

Please find attached the 5 page User Evidence form (Questions 1 – 19 plus map)

Please complete the form, and also highlight on the map the route you have cycled (The map is not terribly clear so I have included an attachment which shows a map with the highlighted route)

If you can forward the form on to anyone else who can provide evidence of use, then that would be helpful.

Please return completed forms to:- 9 Gray Close, Warsash, Southampton, SO31 9TB.

I have put my name forward to collate these forms, as there is another section which needs completing before they can be submitted, and it may be off-putting for some people, as notices have to be served on landowners etc. Therefore if you wish me to collate your forms into one pack, then please return to me. If you wish to submit your own full application, you need to contact Sylvia at Hampshire County Council on 01962 841841 for the full pack.


  • 4th December 2009 at 4:49 PM

    If you cyclists weren’t so ignorant of other social users of this facility you maybe would never have been banned in the first place. Although I had no input in the ban being put in place I am all for it. There is not a single one among you who actually ever uses an audible warning device (eg bell) and you regularly scare the shoot out of me. A cough or simple “Excuse me” would suffice but you are all just too ignorant to be bothered.

  • 4th December 2009 at 4:53 PM

    My comment is ‘awaiting moderation’. Why? It’s not rude and there are no bad words in it. Does your filter only allow you to receive what you want to hear? I guess it’s what one comes to expect from cyclists

  • 4th December 2009 at 10:56 PM

    All comments are moderated by a human being, because the vast majority of comments are spam, which we want to prevent appearing on the site. You are not being singled out for moderation just because your comment was not approved three minutes after you sent it. I have now approved your comment, even though it’s not a sentiment which members of the cycling campaign are likely to agree with.

  • 15th December 2009 at 11:19 AM

    As a very frequent cyclist (and avid walker) on this fantastic river path, vital commuter link and stunning recreational resource, I can confirm that (unless I have obviously been seen by them) I always ring my bell, slow right down and say ‘good morning’ to walkers, even when their dogs are doing their best to snap my ankles off! I have stopped and spoken to many walkers since the absurd signs went up, and I can state that Graeme’s outlook is in my experience universally absent amongst them; they are perfectly happy to share the path with cyclists, as they have done for as long as anyone can remember.

    One of the objects of the campaign to change the status of the path is to address any concerns by enabling the erection of signs warning path users of the presence of bikes, pedestrian priority etc, and to enable cycle calming measures at blind corners etc (of which there are very few on this broad gravel path with excellent visibility). This cannot be done on a ‘footpath’. Many footpaths were designated as such in the 1950s, when parish and town councils were trusted by the County to decide the status. Many of these local councils comprised land owning gentry who designated paths to suit their own narrow interests. The urgent imperatives of the modern world (carbon reduction, energy conservation, reduced traffic congestion, health promotion) are such that new ways need to be found to open up these vital shortcuts to people on bikes; narrow, selfish attitudes cannot be allowed to deter those who wish to cycle. The Rights of Way legislation (dating from 1936) is impossibly archaic in the modern context.

    The good news is that the police have been confronted with the innaccurate, divisive and dangerous wording of their signs on the river path and they have removed them. The councillor responsible for initiating the No Cycling signs in response to the complaints of a very few landowners and pathside dwellers is now, having been made aware of the enormous demand and requirement for cycling on the path, actively encouraging the County to dedicate their parts of the path for cyclists use.

    However it is still important that people who wish cyclists to continue to enjoy the right (currently by ‘presumed dedication’) to cycle the full length of the path submit evidence forms to enable a change to ‘restricted byway’ status. Forms can be downloaded from locksheath

  • 15th December 2009 at 11:23 AM

    That website is (there are no gaps in locksheathpeople)

  • 15th December 2009 at 4:53 PM

    I guess mr Jefferson is not only ill informed but he is the ignorant one as there is no actual ban on cycling, should he have the ability to understand what the legal position is he would discover that higher rights by cyclist might exist and therefore cyclist will continue to use the path in there normal courteous manner. It is mr Jeffersons who should consider his lack of social skills.

  • 18th December 2009 at 10:55 AM

    Update from Heather:

    The police notice banning cycling has now been removed (4th December), but the county no cycling sign remains. These notices on the Warsash residents forum is a wonderful example of how to gather evidence to prove that a footpath should be converted to a bridleway or restricted byway. There are several more similar ones in the county. we need to do the same for these, but where is the most appropiate web forum to do this?

  • 18th December 2009 at 10:56 AM

    Update from John (CTC Hampshire):

    There’s plenty in this conflict to interest the newspapers!

    The Daily Echo printed a story and photograph on Friday, and it’s on the web at
    (I wonder whether “the National Association of Cyclists” means CTC?)

    For a more detailed and helpful piece of reporting, see

  • 30th July 2014 at 10:49 AM

    This has been a foorpath/cycle path for over 60 years. My husband has cycled along this path most of his life, he is over 60. When employed at Moody’s boatyard he used to cycle from Locks Heath to Swanwick using the path. He has worked at Hamble for over 20 years and he still uses the path. If my father-in-law were still alive, he would be able to give you more evidence that this has always been used as a footpath/cycle path. I believe it was used by the army during the second world war as a cycle path when preparing for D-Day. If you look there are still some old landing craft along the shore.Why should one resident be allowed to stop cyclists from using the path, afterall he moved there knowing that it was a footpath and was also used by cyclist. If he could not accept that, then he should not have moved there. It’s always the same, those with money think they have power to bully people.

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