THE renovated and upgraded Priest’s Way Path, linking Swanage to Langton Matravers, has been officially reopened.

Civic leaders and representatives from the organisations that made the £150,000 project possible took a walk along the newly-reopened ancient pathway after a dedication ceremony on January 29.

The thoroughfare, which was closed in September for repairs, now boasts a Purbeck stone plaque commemorating this latest upgrade.

Project spokesman Ian Vaughan-Arbuckle, who has been instrumental in ensuring the three-mile track was maintained, said the opening ceremony went well.

He added: “All in all it was a very positive occasion.”

Youngsters from Langton Matravers’ St George’s Primary School also attended, some of them in period medieval dress.

Before the work, some walkers said the pathway had deteriorated so much that it was becoming almost impossible to traverse in places.

Dorset County Council’s highways department carried out the repairs, after parish leaders lodged a grant application last year to bankroll the work.

Ian, who delivered a presentation to the 50 people who attended the opening at Spyway Barn, said: “Even though we’ve spent £150,000, there wasn’t enough money to repair all the places that needed attention. There are parts of the path that require further work.”

And the recent stormy weather has been giving the new surface an intense workout, according to Ian.

He said: “On the whole it’s been a great success, and the volume of water coming down and being channelled away in the right direction is amazing.”

The Path for Communities Fund grant application, administered by Natural England, was supported by Swanage Town, Worth Matravers Parish and Langton Matravers Parish councils.