Our support to Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership (CRP) is providing visitors to rural Hampshire and local residents of the area with better access to public transport.
The CRP, working in partnership with its neighbour East Hampshire CRP, has embraced a £30,000 funding pot from our Community Engagement Fund to work in partnership with local groups and bus operator Bluestar to make it easier to access the local area and its heritage.
The funding has enabled the partnership to turn its objective of "increasing station interconnectivity and providing sustainable transport" into two new projects.
The first, the South Downs Rambler Rail Bus, now provides a Sunday summer service for residents and visitors to this historic area between Winchester and Petersfield stations; not only has it increased use of public transport, the project also encourages walking as a social and health improvement activity.
The bus service will be repeated during 2019 and 2020, with the potential to extend the route to a wider area.
The second project focuses on the Itchen Navigation, a modified river, created in 1710 to transport barges of coal and timber. Now a conserved trail, it is also a sustainable habitat for otters, water voles, salmon and rare dragonflies.
To promote the attraction as an educational and leisure activity, Three Rivers CRP has produced accessible information to make the trail easier to access by public transport.
The partnership has boosted passenger and visitor numbers, promoting the projects at events and through all media, including an augmented reality app, also sponsored through the CrossCountry Community Engagement Fund.
Mark Miller (left) and Nick Farthing of Three Rivers CRP