Sopley Parish is very fortunate in having thirty public rights of way (twenty-nine footpaths and one bridleway), covering a combined distance of nearly 20 kilometres and crossing a variety of habitats and landscapes.
All of the footpaths and bridleways in the Parish are shown in detail on the definitive rights of way map for Sopley (see button below)
All of the Sopley Parish rights of way are accessible to both residents and visitors alike. Some of the paths provide pedestrian links between the villages and hamlets of Sopley, Ripley, Avon, Shirley and Bransgore whilst others connect to form part of the Avon Valley Path – a 54 kilometre long-distance walking trail that follows the River Avon from Salisbury Cathedral to Christchurch Priory.
None of the rights of way footpaths in Sopley border open access land and nearly all of them are situated on privately owned farmland. Consequently, it is important that all walkers stay on the footpaths, understand and abide by the Countryside Code and take particular care to respect the rights of the local landowners and farmers. Links to the Countryside Code and additional advice from the Ramblers Association can be found at the end of this article - but the key messages to remember are :
Enjoy the outdoors:
- plan ahead, consult up-to-date maps and be prepared for adverse conditions (including mud !)
- follow local advice and signs
Respect other people:
- please consider the local community – drive slowly and carefully near horses and livestock, do not leave parked cars blocking gates and access ways and do not cause damage to crops, trees and hedgerows
- leave gate, fences, hedges and other property as you find them and always follow the signposted paths
Protect the natural environment:
- leave no trace of your visit and take all litter home with you
- take care not to disturb wildlife or livestock
- please keep dogs under effective control at all times – this means either on a lead or within your sight and able to return to you immediately on command
Lastly, if you encounter any problems whilst walking the Parish rights of way network - for example, damaged gates, stiles and bridges or paths blocked by obstructions / overgrown vegetation – please let the Parish Clerk have the details and we will endeavour to organise repairs / remedial work as quickly as possible.
Useful Links :
Avon Valley Path : http://www3.hants.gov.uk/longdistance/avon-valley-path.htm