SWC 58, formerly Book 1 Walk 3: Mottisfont Abbey Gardens, West Hampshire Chalk Downs, Dun & Test Valleys and the picturesque market town of Romsey
Length: 22.2 km (13.9 mi) [shorter options available]
Ascent/Descent: 310 m; Net Walking Time: ca. 5 hours
Toughness: 5 out of 10 (will feel tougher due to the current high mud content, especially in the woods)
09.20 Exeter St. Davids train from Waterloo (Clapham 09.27), change at Salisbury for Chandlers Ford (arr. 10.42, platform 3 or 4; dep. 10.56, platform 6), arr. Mottisfont & Dunbridge 11.14.
[Alternatively, if you want to beat the group by 10 minutes: 09.05 Weymouth & Bournemouth train from Waterloo (Clapham 09.12), change at Southampton Airport [Parkway] for Salisbury (arr. 10.13; dep. same platform 10.25; waiting room and café across the overbridge), arr. Mottisfont & Dunbridge 11.04. We’ll catch you at the Abbey or the church…]
Book an off-peak day return to Romsey for £15 no later than the night before, on the SWT-website or at a SWT-ticket office (but not the machines)
Return trains from Romsey are at xx.07 via Southampton Airport [Parkway] (102 mins) or at xx.20 via Salisbury (118 mins).
Last train: 22.20, with a much longer journey time (just thought I’d mention that because of the high number of very agreeable tea, coffee, drink and food businesses in Romsey).
First posting of this new version of the walk, we will take the opportunity to check the walk directions.
This walk explores woods and rolling chalk hills in the Dun and (Lower) Test Valleys of remote West Hampshire. An early highlight is the NT-owned (and ticketed) Mottisfont Abbey, a historical priory and country estate, with an arm of the River Test, Hampshire's longest and finest chalk stream, running through the stunning grounds, which also include a famous walled rose garden, trompe-l’oeil murals from Rex Whistler, and several lunch options. Walk back past the 12th century St. Andrews church, one of the few Grade I-listed churches, and follow the waymarked Mottisfont Estate Path. The route incorporates all the important features of the estate, mainly varied ancient woodlands – several of which are good bluebell woods – but also some managed for timber or coppicing, historical farmland and the Dun River Meadows. After lunch in Dunbridge the route gets a little more undulating, as the Test River is followed – mostly from a distance – all the way to Romsey, a picturesque market town. You pass all its sights: Romsey Abbey, a beautiful church the size of a cathedral, the War Memorial Park, the medieval King John’s House and Tudor Cottage, some narrow historical lanes and an exhausting selection of tea and pub stops.
Three shorter options are described, one of which follows the original Book 1 version of this walk. For details see Page 2 of the pdf.
The lunch stop
on the full walk, as well as on the second longest walk option, is The Mill Arms Inn
(11.1 km/6.9 mi). On the short walk options lunch is either at one of the places within the grounds of Mottisfont Abbey
(ticketed entry unless NT-member) or a little off-route along the walk at either the Kimbridge Restaurant & Annie’s Tearooms
or at The Bear and Ragged Staff
. See Page 2 of the pdf for details. For tea
, Romsey has an abundance of good quality cafes, bistros, pubs and restaurants. See pages 2, 9 and 10 of the pdf for details.
For walk directions
. For summary
, height profile
, and gpx/kml files
p.s.: if you fear getting bored on the long journey (or indeed if your favourite newspaper has just finished its print run and you got nothing else worth reading), you could do worse than downloading this excellent brochure explaining the sights along the Salisbury to Southampton line: http://www.threeriversrail.com/photos/Publications/three_rivers_line_guide_2014.pdf