Choosing to #GetOutside and have a walk doesn’t have to mean driving out to the nearest patch of countryside. There are many towns and cities where you can feel like you’re in the middle of nowhere with quite a short walk. Winchester is one of those places. This 6.5 km Winchester walk starts in the city centre, but you’re soon crossing fields and water meadows. From St Catherine’s Hill you get fantastic views over the city and would barely know there’s a busy motorway just a stone’s throw away.
There are lots of places to park around Winchester, we chose the Chesil Street car park just around the corner from the start point. It is a pay and display, but is free on a Sunday. Start off outside the Bishop on the Bridge on Winchester High Street. Take the footpath that runs down the side of the pub, alongside the River Itchen. Stay on the path, keeping to the right of the weir, until you reach College Street. Turn left here onto College Walk and turn right at the end of the road. Continue to the end of this dead end and turn left to join the footpath alongside the waterway.
Follow this path for some time, passing the back of the college and St Cross and crossing Garnier Road, rejoining the path by the water. When you emerge onto a second road, Five Bridges Road, turn left and follow the road to the end. When you reach the footpath at the end of the road, it’s worth turning right for a short diversion onto the old viaduct, which is now a cycle and footpath. The views over the meadows are lovely – although the M3 behind you is quite noisy!
When you’re ready, retrace you steps and follow the path towards St Catherine’s Hill. When you reach the gate on the right, turn to head up the hill, following the steps to the top. It can be a hard climb, but the views from the top really are worth it. Once you’ve had a rest and explored around the fort, start to head back down the hill and zig-zag through the woods until you reach Garnier Road. Join the footpath, keeping the water on your left hand side and you’ll begin to head back into Winchester.
When you join Chesil Street, you can either turn left and head back to the Bishop on the Bridge and your starting point, or take a detour to visit the large number of coffee shops and pubs that Winchester has to offer.