The Shipwrights Way is a historic bridleway running 50 miles through Hampshire, from Alice Holt Forest to Portsmouth Dockyard. In 2016, Aquascience were contracted to design and construct a new, 2.5km section of bridleway, replacing a section of the route that previously ran along the busy A325. The new route ran through Woolmer Forest SSSI, land controlled by the Ministry of Defence and in close proximity to a gas main.
Aquascience completed the project in two phases; design and then installation. The design phase took into account the known ecological status of the SSSI, primarily the presence of protected amphibians and reptiles, and the main design elements, which were:
- Designation of the precise route in consultation with the MoD
- Design meeting Hampshire County Council bridleway standard specification
- Design of the culverted crossings by a qualified engineer
- Slopes, embankments and raised works in waterlogged areas
- Preparation of a site-specific ecological RAMS
- Mitigation works for the gas main and preparation of drawings for SGN approval
The installation phase involved works carried out using specialised path construction equipment from MP & KM Golding which formed the path tray, laid the sub-base and compacted and cambered the new surface.
Prior to path laying, tree stumps had to be removed from site and the surface organic matter removed to provide a suitable surface. Where tree roots were close to the path tray surface, root guard material was installed for added protection. A number of culverts were installed using twin wall pipe set on a gravel bed to negotiate ditches.
The project was highly successful and now provides a safe cycleway for users away from the adjacent busy A325.