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This Week's Walks - Archive

Please see the Saturday Walker's Club This Week's Walks page.

This is an archive of walks done by the Saturday Walker's Club. You should only need to use this page if the SWC website is down.

Blog Archive

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Saturday Second Walk [Fully Revised Walk] - SWC 58: Mottisfont & Dunbridge to Romsey

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 cafĂ© 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 in Dunbridge (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 click here. For summary, map, height profile, and gpx/kml files click here.

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:


DAC said...

Intend going.

Anonymous said...

I hope to attend and visit the gardens jfk

Karen said...

n=7 w=light-showers-sunny-spells

6 off the train at Dunbridge, all prepared to do the main walk. The morning was slightly overcast and there were occasional light showers. The morning route followed the Mottisfont Estate Path, looping back to Dunbridge. The route took us along the edge of some lovely bluebell forests. First time for this walker to see such a display and now get why everyone looks forward to them. Very beautiful.

A good lunch for 5 at The Mill Arms in Dunbridge. The picnicker joined for a drink and a familiar face popped in to say a quick hello. Just off the train from London, she was off to visit Motissfont Abbey and gardens. Didn't see her for the rest of the day - maybe she did one of the routes in the afternoon?

More showers in the afternoon, but with the sun breaking through. Some very muddy patches in Squabb Wood, but the group tackled them with good humour. It's April - there will be mud. Arrived in Romsey just a little too late for the teashops. Visited the various sites described in the directions. The abbey is particularly impressive. Refreshments at The Old House at Home, then one walker took off for the train, leaving five to dine at Romsey's hottest spot, The Olive Tree. Good dinner. 21:07 back to London, changing at Southampton Airport Parkway.

A good opportunity to visit a part of the country you might not often find yourself in, especially on a SWT £15 deal ticket. The possibility of sightseeing at both start and finish - NT-owned Mottisfont Abbey and interesting Romsey. And four possible routes to choose from - main walk and three shortcuts. A grand day out.