Although Shawford boasts a railway station it is a small village, now without shops, on the southern outskirts of Winchester.

It lies on the western banks of the River Itchen and the Itchen Navigation, a canal established in the 17th century for cargoes between Winchester and Southampton.

The canal flourished until the middle of the 19th century when it was superseded by the railway. Today the remains of some of the locks can still be seen.

On the eastern banks of the Itchen is the village of Twyford, which takes its name from two fords that crossed the famous Hampshire Trout river at this point.

This walk with just one climb is along clearly defined paths, including sections of the canal towpath and quiet residential roads. It visits both villages plus nearby Otterbourne while the route affords some fine views when it reaches the top of Shawford Down. And for the followers of the comedy TV series, One Foot in the Grave Shawford’s pub The Bridge was the setting for the demise of Victor Meldrew, who was run over as he left the station entrance opposite.

Start from the car park at the base of Shawford Down which is along a track off the B3386 immediately to the west of the railway bridge and The Bridge pub.

The main road through the village, the B3386 links Compton near junction 11 of the M3 with Twyford. From here walk back to the road and turn right past the pub.

Cross a bridge over the canal and past entrances into Shawford Park on the right.

1 When the road bends right look for and follow a signed footpath on the left side of the road into a meadow. Here take the right fork along a grass path across the meadow to cross a metal bridge on the far side. Follow the path around to the right to a gate before crossing a bridge over one of the main streams of the River Itchen.

A gravel track leads to a tarmac lane alongside the church in Twyford and an old barn at Mildmay House. Here turn left along Church Lane a tranquil and pretty route fronted by old houses and their mature gardens including the entrance to Twyford Lodge.

2 At the end of the lane reach the main road but immediately turn left along a lane marked as a footpath and past an old mill. Go through a wooded section and a metal gate to follow a grass path alongside the edge of a field across the water meadows.

To the right the M3 can be clearly seen. Go through a pedestrian gate beside a larger gate, cross a stream and continue across more of the water meadow to another bridge and gate. Beyond walk on to the banks of the Itchen Navigation with the remains of Compton Lock to the right.

Turn left along the old towpath to enjoy a pleasant waterside stroll back to the main road through Shawford. Cross the road, turn right past The Bridge and beneath the railway to return to the track and parking area at Shawford Down. Go through a wooden gate and follow a path up to the stone memorial.

3 Continue along the grass path which heads diagonally uphill across the Down to woodland on the far side. A clear path leads to a wooden gate and beyond along an earth path through a woodland strip before emerging on to a gravel drive serving a quiet residential estate. This soon joins a surfaced estate road. Continue ahead to admire the large homes, many of which enjoy beautiful views across the Hampshire countryside.

Reach the junction with Cross Way and turn right past a large Tudor-style house.

At the next T-junction turn left into Fairfield Road before following Grove Road around to the right out to Winchester Road, the main road through Otterbourne.

Turn left along the road past several road junctions before turning left into the car park entrance at the Old Forge. Walk through to the back of the car park to follow the signed path through a metal kissing gate and uphill across a field. At the top go through another kissing gate before descending diagonally across a second field to reach Kiln Lane. Turn left along this sometimes busy lane around bends for about 150m before turning left beside black railings along a signed footpath through the old Otterbourne Churchyard.

Beyond follow the path as it curves to the right through a field and beneath a railway arch before crossing a stile. The path runs through an area of scrub. When the main route goes sharp left by paddock fencing look for and cross a stile with a route marker. The path runs along the edge of a wildlife area and at the far side cross a stile on to a drive. Continue ahead along a gravel track beside railings around the Water Authority pumping station. The track bends right and crosses the Itchen Navigation to continue along the edge of the water meadows. Reach a gate and follow the signed path to the left between a post and wire fence. Go through a metal kissing gate, turn left along a stony track across the Navigation then immediate right by an old barn.

The path joins a drive by a concrete railway embankment and this straight route can be followed as far as a row of pretty cottages. Turn right past their front gardens then left along the signed route between the river and another line of cottages.

Reach the road in front of The Bridge and turn left to return to the car park.


Itchen Way closure at Shawford.pdf

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