Path Accessibility Fund: Romsey, Hampshire

Replacing seven impassable stiles with pedestrian gates helped tackle a persistent barrier in this part of Hampshire

While out exploring Hampshire’s track and trails with his local group, Les Mildon, footpath officer for Romsey Ramblers, began to notice significant barriers on his walks, particularly affecting those with reduced mobility.  

“In my role with Ramblers, I regularly walk with people in their 80s, often with some mobility issues. Indeed, yesterday, whilst walking on the borders of the New Forest, some members had to crawl through the rails of a few stiles which were too high and were missing steps.”  

So Les decided to do something about it: he applied to the Path Accessibility Fund.    

“When the Ramblers funding was brought to my attention, the mention of 'accessibility' made me think of those members”.


Les had identified a walk with seven stiles along it that were either “broken or … so unsuitable as to make them impassable by many walkers due to the height of the steps/top rails and barbed wire crossing the stiles. In at least 2 cases, anyone other than the most agile walker has to crawl under barbed wire fences rather than climb the stiles.  Whilst not ideal, even this approach is impossible in wet weather.”   

With his route selected, Les originally applied for £2500 to enable his local path maintenance team to replace all the stiles with more accessible gates. In the meantime, he worked with Hampshire County Council to obtain landowner permission. And after discussing the issue with the council, they agreed to fund three of the new gates themselves, with the Path Accessibility Fund stepping up to cover the cost of the remaining four.  

Awarded a grant of £1137, Les set to work replacing the stiles with accessible pedestrian gates and also worked to improve the waymarking in the local area. Not only do these new gates make the whole area more accessible – they’ve also helped create part of a circular route around the village of Michelmersh.  

Uttlesford Ramblers walking on a grass path, tree-lined on one side with two dogs along for company.

Path Accessibility Fund: Little Sampford, Essex 

By working in partnership with the parish council and a local volunteer group, Utttlesford Ramblers transformed a popular walking route in north Essex.

People standing behind a new path gate in a field.

Path Accessibility Fund: Abergynolwyn, Gwynedd

In 2023, our Path Accessibility Fund helped open up access in Gwynedd by replacing rotten wooden stiles with self-closing gates.