Stage 1: Sholing Station to Allbrook — Itchen Way
Kit P planned a hike.
January 20, 2021
The first stage of the Way works its way through the heart of the historic maritime city of Southampton. This hike first wanders through a wonderful wooded park before catching the sea breeze at the edge of Southampton Water. The route follows the Itchen closely, through nature reserves and open parkland between the two halves of the city. History and nature come together on this walk and the importance of the river is evident wherever you look.
Starting at Sholing train station, hike to Millers Pond, where an ancient mill once stood. Set in a nature reserve, this is the beginning of a vein of green space which offers calm and serenity in a busy city. Hike south-west to reach Weston Point with its jetty, reaching out into the mouth of the Itchen.
At this point, the Itchen converges with the mighty River Test to create Southampton Water. The Water is a tremendously busy shipping channel and, looking south-west, you’re likely to see container ships, cruise ships, sailing yachts, kayaks, ferries and pilot boats. If you’re lucky, you might catch sight of a hovercraft.
The trail turns north and into the eastern part of the city to Peartree Green. Residential roads take you past the suburb of Bitterne to rejoin the river at Riverside Park. A popular green space, see the miniature railway and watch as moorhens tiptoe across your path. Exploring the park alongside the river, you’ll see the old Woodmill and then the grade II-listed Mans Bridge.
Leaving the city behind, the trail heads through the increasingly green valley with nature reserves and a country park. Expect lots of air traffic here, as Southampton airport lies alongside. The Way continues, hugging the meandering Itchen until Allbrook, where this stage ends.
There is a small selection of accommodation in Allbrook but catching the E1 bus to nearby Eastleigh provides far more options. To reach the beginning, catch a train to Southampton Central and change for Sholing. Supermarkets, pubs and other food outlets can be found with ease near the route at many points so you won’t go hungry.
Bit busy now!!
March 14, 2021