GOSPORT residents and visitors can step back in time this summer by participating in Walking Past, a programme of healthy and historical walks.
Gosport Voluntary Action (GVA) was awarded a Heritage Fund grant in 2019 to develop and deliver this project, which aims to encourage the Gosport community to become more connected and actively involved with the area’s rich heritage. After major successes, not least having the routes featured on The Outdoor Guide’s national website, the original launch event in Spring 2020 was thwarted at the last minute with the introduction of lockdown, and the interim has brought many twists, turns and tribulations.
It was therefore a jubilant day, when on 11 July 2021, this prized project was able to officially take its long-awaited first steps! Beginning a Summer Series of five Walking Past walks, devoted volunteer Ann led a group along the Queen Victoria’s Railway route, truly in the spirit and dressed for the occasion in the style of its royal namesake.
Other Sunday walks this season include the Forts and Walks on 1 August, and Mottes and Trenches on 8 August (both starting at 10am). Volunteer-led walks along these routes will also take place during Gosport Heritage Open Days (HODs) in September (10-19).
Walking Past’s presence on The Outdoor Guide (www.theoutdoorguide.co.uk) will also allow the long-term option to access the routes online and do a self-guided walk with the same historical content.
This accomplishment has been possible thanks to the flexibility of The National Lottery’s Heritage Fund, allowing the project’s timeframe and objectives to be revised, as well as the cooperation of partner organisations including Gosport Borough Council, Heritage Action Zones, the MOD, Gosport HODs, Lee Residents Association, Gosport Access Group and Disability Forum, and the Gosport Society. The contribution of the volunteers in researching and developing the routes, as well as leading the guided walks, cannot be overemphasized, not to mention their patience and perseverance!
Photo courtesy of Ben Hall