East Hampshire Footpaths Party

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East Hampshire 'Fill The Gap' Footpaths Party

When and where?

Weekend of September 22/23, Petersfield area, Hampshire.


Whilst town coverage is good, coverage of countryside footpaths and walking trails is rather patchy - but two of the biggest concentrations are in the Southampton/New Forest area and the Haslemere-Petersfield-Midhurst triangle on the boundaries of Hampshire and West Sussex in southern England. As a result of recent activity the gap (of about 10 miles) is starting to close.

So, the idea of this party will be to try and close the gap, achieving a swathe of near-complete-mapping of footpaths stretching from Hindhead (Surrey) in the northeast to the New Forest in the southwest, making OSM and Freemap real solutions for people who want to walk in this general area. (A long term aim would be to close the footpaths gap between Hindhead and Weybridge but one step at a time....)

About the area

Whilst not mountainous the area is very pretty with rolling hills and wide, open views and whilst the weather in NW Europe can never be guaranteed, September in southern England is normally reasonably warm and dry. Indeed, this party is on the first anniversary of the New Forest party where we enjoyed near-constant sunshine and temps in the low twenties C.

Lots of good real ale pubs in the area too if you're into that :-)

For a general impression of the area see Freemap - this shows existing coverage, relief (contours in feet) and also overlays photos from Geograph.

Meeting details

  • Meet 9.30 - 10am in Caffe Nero, 18 The Square, Petersfield. Can't find anywhere with free wi-fi in Petersfield but they do it for £5 an hour which could be worth it on the Sunday morning in particular.
  • Map from 10am - 6pm (both days). Possible lunch meet in East Meon, depending on what people are doing.
  • Saturday evening meeting point likely to be the Flower Pots, Cheriton, just off the A272 between Petersfield and Winchester. Andy Street can take 3 to 4 in his car. If lots of people come though, this'll likely change to somewhere more accessible to public transport.

Who should come?

Whilst mostly aimed at walkers there are some bridleways and 'green lanes' suitable for off road cyclists, and also country lanes though the priority will be on the off road stuff.

Andy Street will be bringing a laptop with serial port for evening editing. In view of the diffuse nature of the area, general lunchtime meets will probably not be practical.

Specific ideas

Completely map Butser_Hill, the highest summit of the South Downs. There are many permissive paths up this hill which are not shown *at all* on OS maps.

Good path network round of East Meon which could be mapped without resorting to road walking.


Hampshire County Council make available rights of way maps on the web here (beware - not Firefox friendly :-( ). Though I (Nick W) am not a lawyer, I believe that - just like using a road atlas to plan a route which will then go into OSM is not a violation of copyright - these maps can be used for *planning* purposes. However actually *copying* the rights of way status from these maps is not advised, as it could be a copyright violation. Even though council rights of way information is in the public domain, the fact that the rights of way are overlaid on an OS map means that copying the status from these online sources is questionable.

Also, to put a right of way in to OSM at all there must be some sort of back up evidence on the ground (signpost, evidence of use, local knowledge) - if the only evidence is presence on the Hampshire maps, again I would play safe and not put it in.


IMPORTANT: Please let me know (on nick_whitelegg@yahoo.co.uk) if you do not have your own GPS unit, as I can collect some from SteveC if this is the case.

Nick W

Andy S

Rik van der H. I planned a continuous hikingtour (130 km) around/through New Forest, counterclockwise from Southampton. Friday till Monday. See http://www.opentrail.net. Proposals for good spots to pitch my tent along the route are welcome !

Ben - Maybe...

Roger + ColinH

Daniel Challen probably

Rob Neild probably