Backup Only

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, 1 December 2018

Saturday walk - Winchester Circular - Downs, history and a Christmas market

Length: 18km (11.2 miles), with shortcuts of 15.6km (9.7 miles) or 9.1km (5.6 miles) possible
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 click here. For GPX click here.

Buy a day return to Winchester unless you plan to cut the walk short at Shawford (see ** 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 are possible.

- 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, 25, 48 and 56 past till late, the 18 and 48 ones being slightly quicker.

1 comment:

Walker said...

N=11 on this walk. The weather was better than expected - W=light-rain-soon-fading-to-misty-cloud. By 12.30 it was dry, if overcast (patches of blue sky to the north failing to come our way).

This made a good winter walk with the paths firm underfoot throughout. But chalk and rotting leaves are a lethal combination and we had two falls in the morning. One resulted in a swollen wrist whose owner took it off to A&E after lunch, getting the train back from Shawford. We hope the injury did not prove serious.

Eight of us lunched at The Bridge. Very cosy and capacious though we would probably have managed to get a table even if we had not booked. Our arrival coincided with a rush of other orders, unfortunately, and we also had the annoying ten minutes wait to order from the table. Despite frantic staff activity, meals then issued from the kitchen at a glacial pace. Though to be fair they said 40 minutes and 40 minutes from ordering was about right. The food was nice when it came, though by this point (2pm) I might have found the carpet tasty.

In the afternoon the group twice pioneered alternative routes. One was recorded for posterity, the other will have to wait for the next walk check. We got split up at the end but at least three of us lingered in the very busy and extensive Christmas market by Winchester Cathedral, drinking mulled wine (or tea in my case) and wondering whether we really needed a pepper pot shaped like a chess piece or a £25 pair of alpaca socks. The answer proving to be no, we shoehorned into a pub. Two then got the 6.48 train.