Hampshire’s Countryside Walks
Hampshire’s landscape is a rich fabric of contrasts and the beauty of some of England’s most inspiring countryside and coastline can easily be experienced on foot.
Open downlands, tranquil valleys, charming villages, lowland heaths, ancient woodlands and an attractive coastline can all be explored through walks in Hampshire on 3,000 miles of footpaths, bridleways and byways. Many of these routes can be downloaded via the Visit Hampshire website.
One of Hampshire’s long distance walks is the South Downs Way. The route begins in Winchester and stretches 100 miles to Eastbourne. Along the route are unspoilt views of countryside, small hamlet villages and the English channel. The South Downs Way is a hilly but rewarding route for walkers and mountain bikers. Lonely Planet has even included the South Downs Way in its 1,000 Ultimate Adventures book. More and more people are taking breaks to conquer the whole of the South Downs Way. There are many pubs and places to stay scattered not too far off the route for walkers and cyclists looking for a hearty meal or to rest their head, including Wallops Wood Cottages!
The Shipwrights Way is a new long-distance route which links villages and towns in East Hampshire through some beautiful countryside. It runs from Alice Holt Forest near Farnham, down across the South Downs to the sea at Portsmouth. The route is open to walkers and cyclists and, where possible, horse-riders and people with disabilities. As much as possible, the route is off-road, using rights of way and permissive paths. It finishes at the Historic Dockyard – around 50 miles in all, and including seven rail stations. It forms part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network route 22 linking London to Portsmouth.
You can follow in the footsteps of Jane Austen on a circular walk around Chawton and Farringdon or enjoy the Jane Austen Trail from Alton to Chawton. Or experience the stunning views over the Hangars and Steep, near Petersfield on the Edward Thomas walk. Other literary walks can be found on the East Hampshire District Council website.
You can find many of Hampshire’s GPS mapped routes here, including walks in the glorious New Forest National Park, waymarked walking trails in Hampshire’s Country Parks and city walks in and around Winchester, Portsmouth and Southampton. All routes include descriptions, elevation profiles, interactive maps and GPS downloads and there are more than 150 scenic walks on the Hampshire County Council website.
Dog owners and dog walkers are catered for too. Many of Hampshire’s countryside areas, including some of our country parks, have facilities just for our furry friends – River Hamble Country Park has an enclosed dog walking field and there’s a dog walking trail coming to Queen Elizabeth Country Park!