THE SHIPWRIGHTS Way is a 50-mile long distance path which links Alice Holt Forest, north of Bordon, and the coast at Portsmouth.

As its name suggests, the route is approximately on a line which could have been taken by timber felled for use in constructing British navy ships of the Georgian and early Victorian period.

With this being half term week, many children will have been out among the trees of Alice Holt Forest, enjoying the fresh air and activities on offer, most likely unaware of its importance as a source of raw material throughout history.

According to local historian and East Hampshire councillor Adam Carew, the name Alice Holt has nothing to do with a girl or woman called Alice but the term is a corruption of Aelfsige.

Aelfsige was the name of two powerful Saxon Bishops of Winchester. The first, who went on to become Archbishop of Canterbury, became Bishop of Winchester in 951.

He died of cold while crossing the Alps when on his way to see the Pope. His will survives and shows that he was married, with a son, Godwine of Worthy, who died in 1001 fighting against the Vikings.

Aelfsige II was bishop from about 1012 until his death in 1032.

The word ‘holt’ in Alice Holt’s name indicates its primary function was for timber production rather than hunting.