YOU can ditch the car and go green on your days out this summer with the revival of a free bus service.

The bus will take in a number of popular attractions, including the Sir Harold Hillier Gardens and Mottisfont Abbey, plus some new ones for this year.

Provided by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership the service will run every Sunday and bank holiday until September 25.

With the rising cost of petrol and concerns about the effect that car use has on global warming it’s a great opportunity to save money and have a great day out without increasing your carbon footprint – plus visit some great Hampshire attractions.

It is operated by Test Valley Community Services and funded by Sir Harold Hillier Gardens, Kimbridge Restaurant and Farm Shop, Stockbridge Parish Council and the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership.

The bus is free but there is a donation box on board for any voluntary contributions.

It will run from Romsey railway station via Mottisfont and Dunbridge railway station to Stockbridge High Street and back.

The timetable has been drawn up to correspond with connecting trains, although connections cannot be guaranteed. The first bus leaves Romsey railway station at 10.50am – perfect for trains from Salisbury which arrive at 10.31am or from Southampton, arriving at 10.24am and 10.28am on Sundays. The last bus returns to Romsey Abbey at 5.48pm.

This year the route has been extended to include Houghton Lodge Gardens, Horsebridge, Kings Somborne and Stockbridge. This temporarily reinstates part of the Sprat and Winkle railway line that used to run between Romsey and Andover but closed in 1964.

“There’s far more to visit and do, so we hope passenger numbers will go up again this year,”

said a spokesperson for Three Rivers Rail.

People who use the service can go even greener by picking up local produce from Mottisfont Abbey and Kimbridge Farm Shop.

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