IT took them almost 40 minutes to march from their closure-threatened shop and post office to its counterpart in the next village.

Their one-and-a-half-mile route took them along the narrow, twisting roads that separate Tiptoe from the neighbouring village of Hordle.

Tiptoe is one of 62 communities in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight that could lose their post office under a national closure programme.

Villagers will have to travel to a similar facility in Vaggs Lane, Hordle, if they lose their battle to save the Tiptoe branch.

Yesterday about 20 placard-waving demonstrators took to the streets to highlight the potential impact on elderly and disabled people if it closes.

Campaigner Mandy Hayes said: "Getting from Tiptoe to Hordle and back is fine if you've got a car but walking between the two villages is extremely dangerous.

"There are lots of bends but no pavements and - as we've seen today - the roads flood when it rains."

Fellow marcher Anne McMurtry said: "We're all able-bodied people but a lot of those who depend on the post office aren't and don't have cars.

"We were quite safe because our group was very noticeable. However, cars whiz up and down Vaggs Lane, making it extremely hazardous for someone walking on their own."

Another campaigner, Sarah Newman, said the local Cango bus service was also under threat of closure.

She added: "Tiptoe Post Office is a facility where people can keep in touch with other residents. Villagers will feel socially isolated if it shuts."

The marchers took almost one-and-a-half hours to complete the three-mile round trip to Hordle and back.

Jill Coombe, who has worked at Tiptoe Post Office for 21 years declined to comment on the protest.

But last month she warned that the shop would close if the post office were axed.