Length: 18km (11.2 miles)
, with shortcuts of 15.6km (9.7 miles)
or 9.1km (5.6 miles)
Toughness: 4 out of 10: one big hill climb. T=3.15 9.35
(Weymouth-bound) train from Waterloo
, arriving 10.32.
From Clapham Junction
get either the 9.22
(Haslemere-bound) or 9.27
(Exeter-bound) train to connect with the above train at Woking
(arriving 9.42 or 9.45 and departing at 10.00)
For walk directions
. For GPX
Buy a day return to Winchester
unless you plan to cut the walk short at Shawford
below), in which case buy a day return to there.
This walk made a nice pre-Christmas outing a few years ago. At its end, next to Winchester Cathedral, you come to a large Christmas market
- even larger this year, my spies tell me, with the new addition of a food court
and a British craft section.
Before that, some walking. Passing through the historic centre of Winchester and not letting yourself get too distracted by its numerous points of interest (exhaustively detailed in the walk document and on the home page for this walk)
, you go out along the ancient water meadows and up onto the Iron Age hill fort
of St Catherine's Hill.
At this point two short cuts
- The River Short Cut
goes along the Itchen River to Shawford, a very pretty path through the water meadows which is also gravel and so dry underfoot
. There is motorway noise in its early stages but this fades. This gets you to lunch a bit quicker and is ideal for those who want to walk at a slightly slower pace but still be with the main group for lunch. It makes a total walk of 15.6km (9.7 miles)
- The Tourist Short Cut
is for those who want to get back to Winchester by lunch time to visit the Christmas market in more detail or perhaps go round the cathedral (a full guided tour
of which is included in the walk directions and on the home page
for this walk). This route also includes a pretty riverside approach to St Cross Church which is not on any other route. This makes a total circular walk off 9.1km (5.6 miles)
** Another way to get back to Winchester early
would be to do the main walk or River Short Cut to lunch and then get a train
(19 past the hour) back to Winchester from Shawford - the station is right by the lunch pub - or one of the thrice hourly number 1 buses
- see walk directions for the location of the bus stop. Lunch
on both the main walk and River Short Cut is at Shawford at the capacious (and hopefully not overbooked) Bridge Inn
. There is also now a tea room
opposite the pub serving the usual sandwiches and paninis etc.
After lunch you follow a long downland curve, mainly on easy paths, with distant views of the cathedral and St Catherine's Hill, to arrive back in Winchester. The famed tea room at St Cross is not open this time of year, but the Christmas market beckons in any case. Winchester also has oodles of other tea options
- see the home page or walk document. Trains back
from Winchester are at 18
past till late, the 18 and 48 ones being slightly quicker.