Thursday 4th April 2013
Got the bus from Fishbourne to Clarence Pier Southsea. Clarence Pier is where the hovercraft goes from to the Isle of Wight.
Continue northwards through the amusements. Another very cold day although it does not seem to be as windy as before. Walked on top of the fortifications along the Millennium Promenade, a marked way. Unfortunately ended prematurely so went down to street level. There is a statue here dedicated to European emigrants to America. Then go past the Round Tower. Turned right at the Seagull, presumably an old pub and then right again to go round Camber Quay which is a small harbour surrounded by modern houses. This is the Isle of Wight ferry dock.
Could not get round so had to go back to the emigrants’ statue and past it and the Wellington pub on the right and the Sally Port Inn also on the right. Reached Portsmouth Cathedral and passed it and the Duke of Buckingham. At the roundabout turn left on on St Georges Road opposite Portsmouth Grammar School (GR635996). Turn right as St Georges Road swings right signposted Gosport Ferry. Passed under the railway bridge to reach the bus station and the ferry terminal. Took the ferry across the harbour.
Turned left off the ferry and went along the waterside with yachts on the left and flats on the right. Crossed a small footbridge over some water to reach a road and carried on ahead at Haslar Marina over Haslar Bridge (GR620992). Continued on the road past the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and the Royal Hospital Haslar which is obviously a military hospital. At the end of the road turn left onto Clayhall Road reaching Haslar Prison as the road swings to the right.
The road bears right at a stone pillar and then just after the next right-hand bend where the fort can be seen on the left, a footpath leads off left to Fort Gilkicker (GR607975). Take a path to the left of the fort and then right onto the beach. Looks like it is going to be a hard slog along the beach, but actually it soon becomes a good path leading to the Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Station (GR601980). From here there is a road along the beach and the wide promenade cum road leads up to Stokes Bay Sailing Club and a café. And indeed a wine bar where you can get a drink.
Continue with playing fields on the right and a shingle beach on the left beyond which the Isle of Wight can be clearly seen. A memorial here records the departure of Canadian troops for D-Day. Reach Number 2 Battery which is now a diving museum. The way along the beach is fenced off because of the firing range at Browndown, but there is a gate and it is open. Cross the pebble dunes to reach what looks like an old coastguard station at Browndown Battery (GR583989). This was real hard work over the pebbles but eventually at the end of a firing range there is a better path alongside the obstacle course. At the end of Browndown beach leave the military area through a gate in the fence and head on towards the sailing club.
On the walk into Lee-on-Solent there is a good grassy area above the promenade. Decided to finish the walk here as the weather was getting worse and was not sure if it would be possible to get transport from Warsash, the original aiming point. Lee-on-the-Solent is a rather desolate place on a day like this. No pub that I could find, no mobile signal to call a taxi and quite probably no taxis. Eventually caught a bus that went all round the housing estates to Fareham. Caught a similar bus from there to Gosport Ferry. The ferry arrived at Portsmouth just as the Coastliner 700 left so rather than wait thirty minutes got an expensive taxi back to Fishbourne and the Bull’s Head.
Days from Chepstow 119
Miles today 7.8
Miles from Chepstow 1584.1