Stage 3: Kings Worthy to Cheriton — Itchen Way
Kit P planned a hike.
January 20, 2021
If you thought the River Itchen couldn’t get any prettier, this final stage of the Way will charm the hiking socks off you. This route runs alongside the river through ancient countryside with Saxon villages and sheep bleating in the distance. Waterfowl and animals such as otters and water voles call this home, so keep a watchful gaze. The Itchen dwindles towards the end and it’s barely a stream when you reach Cheriton. You’ll pass through the village to reach the source just to the south.
Starting in Kings Worthy, the route follows the river along its northern banks to Martyr Worthy, a tiny village. Soon after, you’ll reach the Saxon settlement of Itchen Abbas where the Way crosses the river. I’ve added in a detour to Avington Park here, a grand 16th-century mansion. Privately-owned, it’s sometimes open to the public but if it holds no interest, simply continue along the trail to the south.
The next village en route is Itchen Stoke, tiny but with a long history. You’ll cross the river to reach it and almost immediately cross back over to its twin, Ovington. There’s a delightful pub here and all this river crossing gives you plenty of time to admire the serene water.
You’ll skirt the south-west corner of New Alresford before walking south to Tichbourne and along the teeny Itchen to Cheriton. This village, situated in the South Downs National Park, is almost absurdly picturesque with its little stream and numerous thatched cottages. The trail doesn’t quite end here though and continues a little way south.
The source of the Itchen lies at the end of the road past New Cheriton and isn’t necessarily all that obvious. Still, you’ve made it to the end (or the beginning) of the Itchen Way. To celebrate, explore the National Trust’s fantastic Hinton Ampner House next door.
Cheriton has a small selection of accommodation but advance booking is a must as it is limited. You can catch the number 67 bus to Winchester or New Alresford, both have well-linked train stations but are on different lines, so choose carefully. It’s worth noting that the 67 doesn’t run on Sundays. If you are here on a Sunday, a taxi to New Alresford might be the best option.
To reach the beginning of this route in Kings Worthy, arrive by train in Winchester and take the Spring bus to Kings Worthy. There’s a small supermarket in the town although it’s a little walk from the river. There’s nothing else en route except by going into New Alresford, so plan ahead. There are several pubs on the trail though.