Thursday 25th July 2013
Drove to Christchurch from Southampton and got a taxi to the station and a train to Lymington Town (GR328958). Weather is about 18 degrees, very cloudy and been a little rain.
Out of the station, up Station Road, turn left and then a couple of hundred yards along turn left down Quay Hill on to Quay Street on to the marina opposite the ferries (GR328956). Bought a crab sandwich and ate it on the quayside. Leaving the Ship Inn behind carry on down the road alongside the quay. Reach Bath Road Recreation Ground and cross it to reach the water’s edge opposite the ferry terminal (GR331954).
At the Lymington lifeboat station turn left and then right on a public footpath along the water’s edge. There is a large open air seawater swimming pool here which also seems to have canoes in it. Built 1833. Hundreds of boats here on the moorings plus the Isle of Wight ferry seems to be coming in and out quite regularly. The weather seems to be improving.
Enter the marina car park at the end of the first bit of which there is a Solent Way fingerpost and then another one to the left through where boats are parked. Leaving the boatyard the path turns left. At the next sign a small loop can be avoided by going straight ahead down some steps rather than going left (GR338944). Looking ahead it is clear that there is East Coast style embankment walking to be done. On the way round the embankment by a small sailing club reach a causeway that is signposted for the Solent Way and cuts off a bit of the embankment (GR329940).
At the old saltworks (GR327934) it is possible to avoid going down to Woodside Farm and back again by crossing the sluice. To cut off part of the Solent Way around Oxey Marsh, turn right and then left and then left again over a small bridge. At the junction of the tracks turn left and reach the water again opposite the Isle of Wight (GR329930) and continue to the right along an embankment with lagoons inland on the right.
After a long the walk round the embankments reach the road at Keyhaven (GR308916) and turn left to reach the Gun Inn. Couple of pints and a jacket potato and then continued on to the marina and as the road turns right took a footpath straight ahead. Turn right at the water. Keyhaven was quite a nice place with the sailing boats and the pub was quite good.
Walking round the edge of an internal lagoon reach the road (GR303910) which has sign saying it is flooded at high tide and indeed there is a car surrounded by water. Continue on the path and reach Hurst Spit (GR300909), cross a wooden bridge and climb up the steep pebble embankment in front. Decided to avoid the shingle by using the footpath immediately to the right of the bridge. Walk alongside the nature reserve to reach the art deco looking building which is a café. Follow the road and promenade into Milford on Sea.
Milford on Sea seems to be quite a modern place with new houses set some way back from the sea. Pass the bowls club. This is proper sea here having left the Solent and the Isle of Wight behind. Leaving the centre of Milford on Sea the path gradually climbs up onto some low cliffs. The high point is reached just after Paddy’s Gap which is still in Milford.
As the houses of Milford on Sea peter out the path which is a good gravel path on top of the cliffs becomes a good earthy path. Continue to climb and the cliff (Hordle Cliff) is really quite high – as high as seen since Hastings perhaps. After a trig point (GR263923) in the fields, the path begins to descend. Reach the golf club as Barton on Sea comes into view. Hordle Cliff was probably about the best bit of today’s walk being a good clifftop walk.
At the end of the golf course get to Barton on Sea which has a large green area on top of the cliffs between the cliffs and houses. Stopped for a cup of tea at the Beachcomber Café and then carried on along the clifftop. The clifftop path (Barton Cliff) ends at a wire fence in front of a caravan park at the end of the houses of Barton (GR227932). Turn up a footpath alongside the last house in Barton. Barton is a pretty unremarkable place. The path leads into a modern housing estate from which, as always, it was difficult to find a way out.
Eventually reached the main road (GR) and turned left. The road goes round a couple of bends and a couple of entrances to the holiday home park and then begins to drop down hill. Cross a bridge (GR223939) and turn left onto a footpath into Chewton Bunny Nature Reserve. The sea is one kilometre away. This is a path going through woodland alongside a river and I guess that this would be called a chine as we are now nearly in chine country.
When the path reaches a road turn left downhill. As the path comes out of the wood turn right to reach a small road leading down to the sea. Take a cliff path off to the right. Actually the path is well above the beach but is under the cliff. Eventually take a zig-zag path up to High Cliff Castle. Went through the castle grounds to reach the main road (GR203934). Turn left at the main road. Continued on the main road across two roundabouts to reach the Premier Inn at Somerford.
Days from Chepstow 122
Miles today 15.3
Miles from Chepstow 1628.8