On 25th October, after ten years of efforts by various groups, including the CTC, the missing link between Horndean and Petersfield was open for use.
Until then, cyclists, walkers and horseriders had no direct route, and had to use the extremely steep hills at Buriton or South Harting.
Years ago the A3 road from London ran over this hill and they recut the road beside it at a lower level to make it easier for motor traffic to get over, This road is extremely busy and has no cycle path.
The old road is still there but chopped through at one point so it isn't continuous.
A new link has at last been made to give walkers, cyclists and horse riders a manageable alternative to the severe hills further East.
The existing road from Horndean uses the old main road which runs alongside the A3 and leads into Queen Elizabeth Country Park where there is now a gentle ramp up to the layby on the A3 and from there rises to meet the disused old section of the main road to Petersfield.
So, a dozen riders from CTC set out the following day and we were among the first to try this new route.
The weather was good and traffic light on these once major roads now serving local communities, but still tarmaced over and in places still having traces of the white lines from when the carriageway was part of something else. At QECP we had arranged to meet one of our members who lives in Petersfield and had ridden down to meet us so she actually rode the Butser link before the rest of us, but after meeting up we rode North to Petersfield, stopping on the way to assist another cyclist with a puncture.
A pleasant stop in Petersfield for refreshment and our little group made the return journey picking up the new link and tackling the north face of Butser. This is steeper than the rise out of QECP.
I am not ashamed to admit that I was working hard but our eleven year old member, Katie Anne soared past me and waited at the top.
From there it is all downhill into the Park, and pretty much all downhill to Horndean and our way back to Havant.
You can find out about the CTC's activities and where we meet at http://www.portsmouthctc.org.uk