Closed footpaths at a popular Andover beauty spot are set to reopen after a new bridge was installed.

The footpaths at Rooksbury Mill Nature Reserve have been closed for some time since issues were identified with the bridge during an inspection. As a result, paths between the orchard and Barlows Lake have been closed.

However, a new footbridge was installed this week by Test Valley Borough Council (TVBC), allowing the paths to reopen to the public.

Rooksbury Mill has a long history, potentially dating back as far as the Domesday Book. What is known for certain is that a number of mills have existed at the site over time, with many destroyed by fire, whether through lightning or accidents. The mill building was heavily damaged in an arson attack in the early 2000s, and was later restored as a private home.

Following World War Two, and the closure of the mill, the lakes were created from gravel pits, with the gravel extracted and used for construction work. More recently, the site was used as a trout farm, until it was bought by TVBC in 2001.

It was designated as a local nature reserve in 2008 and received a green flag award for its quality in 2009.

Many footpaths pass through the site, and forms part of TVBC’s Local Plan to join up riverside walks and cycle routes in Andover.

However, the footpaths were closed late last year after an inspection found they were unsafe. This left walkers having to take alternative routes around the site, with the orchard cut off from Barlows Lake.

However, following work to replace the footbridge, these paths are now reopen. TVBC said that a “few finishing touches to the footpaths are due to be completed shortly.”