This is the 14th and final stage of a walk from Eastbourne to Winchester along the South Downs Way (SDW) one of the National Trails. The total length of the walk is 160km or 100 miles although if you follow all my stages you will have walked 185km.
Distance 13.6 km
There were no buses to The Milbury’s Inn (except on Wednesday and Saturdays) so as it was a Tuesday we took a taxi from West Meon to that isolated pub. From the cross roads the SDW goes north for a couple of hundred metres then turning left on a stony track. This remains on an almost straight and level route for more than 2km, through mainly broad fields of rape and winter wheat. Through the yard of Holden Farm the SDW continues on a new tarmac path to cross the A272, continuing on to a field where the path is just inside the field boundary, turning left to follow the adjacent boundary across Ganderdown. The path resumes it straight north-west direction between clumps of trees to reach a minor road at a crossing of tracks. Here the SDW goes left up Temple Valley, past a farm at the junction. The track is squeezed between a forbidding private wood on the left and a large arable field behind an electric fence on the right. The path emerges between two small woods on either side, onto the great natural bowl of Cheesefoot Head (where Gen. Eisenhower addressed a vast mass of troops before they embarked for the D-day landings in June 1944). A kestrel hovered below us in the centre of the bowl. The dominant feature in the landscape here is the gleaming white buildings and satellite dishes of Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium beyond the main road. To the south the entire length of the Isle of Wight, more than 20 miles distant, was visible though hazy. The SDW crosses the A272 again and shortly turns right, crossing Telegraph Hill and finally turning towards Winchester itself, though the town is not yet visible. A few hundred metres further on, just after a barrow in an adjoining field, Winchester appears ahead, a compact town of low rise buildings stretching up a low hillside. The squat-towered cathedral is barely distinguishable from the town houses at this distance. We saw a buzzard glide smoothly down to land high in a tree, surveying its surroundings but ignoring us. Now the path winds gently down on tarmac towards the posh village of Chilcomb, full of fancy farms and historic large houses. At a T-junction the path goes right then turns through ninety degrees before coming to another T-junction. Here the walkers’path goes into a field, proceeding diagonally across it for around a kilometre to reach a footbridge across the M3. Then a final dull section along suburban streets. On reaching Petersfield Rd. bear right downhill to cross into Wharf St. which leads to a footbridge across the River Itchen, close to the site of a mediaeval mill. Turn right onto the Riverside Walk and continue until you reach Bridge St, then turn left to reach the statue of King Alfred, the formal end of the South Downs Way, handily placed for cafes and the bus station.
SU 56953 24530
30U 626994 5653313
Basic Equipment for Hiking
- Sturdy, comfortable and waterproof hiking boots or approach shoes
- Layered, moisture wicking clothing
- Hiking socks
- Rucksack (with rain cover)
- Protection against sun, rain and wind (hat, sunscreen, water- and windproof jacket and suitable legwear)
- Hiking poles
- Ample supply of drinking water and snacks
- First aid kit
- Kit para bolhas
- Bivy / survival bag
- Survival blanket
- Pocket knife
- Cell phone
- Navigation equipment / map and compass
- Emergency contact details
- The 'basic' and 'technical' equipment lists are generated based on the selected activity. They are not exhaustive and only serve as suggestions for what you should consider packing.
- For your safety, you should carefully read all instructions on how to properly use and maintain your equipment.
- Please ensure that the equipment you bring complies with local laws and does not include restricted items.
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