We walk towards Shawford and Otterbourne along the River Itchen on the 12th and final walk of the 12 walks challenge. It’s also the longest. Starting in Badger Farm, the path skirts Compton and leads across Shawford Down to the River Itchen on the Eastern side of the railway line. The path by the river can get muddy in wet weather. It crosses from the right to the left bank a few times. At Highbridge we leave the river, cross the railway line again and climb up past Otterbourne Grange to Otterbourne Hill. Further on, past the village of Otterbourne the road leads back to Shawford before crossing the M3. Sheperds Lane is a lovely residential street that leads to Meadow Barn and Silkstead. From here a wide path returns back to Yew Hill butterfly reserve and the open land between ‘Texas’ and Oliver’s Battery.
Start and end point: Sainsburys
Length: 19.5 km / 12.1 miles
Time: 4 hours 30 minutes at a swift pace + breaks
Difficulty: Moderate – 335 m total ascent
Parking: Sainsburys car park (though watch any potential time limits imposed by car park operator as this is a fairly long walk), alternative street parking in Oliver’s Battery
Public transport: buses to Sainsburys (bus #5) from Winchester City Centre
Variation: Instead of walking on the main Otterbourne Road from to Shawford, it’s possible to cut back down to the river (across a graveyard) and re-join the route from the southern end of Shawford Down
Walk#9 is another fairly long and hilly walk.
Highlights of walk#12
Shawford Down is a nice bit of open land besides the Shawford Railway station. We love the southward tour of multiple sluices along the Itchen way. A short stretch along Otterbourne Road is quite urban, but leads to a network of farmland and good vistas around Yew Hill.
This walk is part of the 12 walks challenge. Photos were taken in June 2020.