What is the history so far?

The whole project was conceived in 2012 when a short section of the disused railway (on the east side of the main line) was designated as a public footpath, with permissive cycling.

Groups of volunteers, including the South Downs National Park volunteers, have helped to clear the trees and brush by hand to keep the route open, improve the biodiversity etc.

Volunteers were asked to become a Friend of the Line.

The Friends of the Line group have met several times and it was agreed that it would be great to see more of the line carefully managed and more sections open to the public.

In 2014, the Friends of the Line agreed to call it the Watercress Way so that it could be described easily.

In September 2015, Friends of the Line held an inaugural EGM to start a charity called "The Watercress Way".

It was decided to link two sections of line to the Drove routes to create a circular route, but that nothing needed to be done along this “Drove’ section except signage at a later stage.

Creation of a formal charity- a CIO - will enable the group to apply for funds, respond to consultations, make representations, formally create a project plan, purchase items for use or display etc.

This decision has the support of the South Downs National Park and Hampshire County Council.