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Winchester and St Catherine's Hill

There are currently 1 comments and 8 photos online for this walk.

Winchester and St Catherine's Hill
Author: Richard, Published: 14 Oct 2011 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guidestar1 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guidestar1 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guidestar1 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guidestar1 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide
Hampshire, Winchester
Walk Type: River or lakeside
Winchester and St Catherine's Hill
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide boot Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide boot Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide
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A 5 mile circular walk from Winchester railway station in Hampshire. The walk gives a lovely mix to suit all tastes. You will have chance to explore Winchester itself, a historic bustling cathedral city, before the walk passes through the tranquil water meadows and along the River Itchen. The route then climbs St Catherine’s Hill, the site of an ancient hill fort which provides stunning views across the city, before descending and continuing along another stretch of the river and back to the city.

The walk follows a mixture of pavements, river banks, towpaths and grass paths. There are a few steady ascents/descents plus one fairly steep climb up the wooden steps to the top of St Catherine’s Hill and a fairly steep descent down the grass/gravel paths on the other side of the hill which are uneven and can be a bit slippy (if you prefer you can adjust the walk and use the steps for the descent as well). There are no stiles, just a few gates and dogs are welcome on St Catherine’s Hill. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

The walk starts from Winchester railway station in Hampshire. If you are travelling by car, the nearest parking is in the Gladstone Street pay and display car park on the corner of Gladstone Street and Station Road B3404 (at the time of writing this car park was free on Sundays). Approximate post code SO23 8TJ.

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Walk Sections

Winchester station to Winchester College
Winchester station to Winchester College

Start point: 51.0662 lat, -1.3198 long
End point: 51.0572 lat, -1.3155 long

Leave the station by the main city side exit and turn right along Station Road. (From the Gladstone Street car park exit via the vehicle entrance and turn left along Station Road). Continue ahead and as you draw level with a bridge over the railway, follow the road to the left and downhill (Upper High Street).

Pass the Westgate public house, turn left, pass through the arch and continue downhill down the High Street. At the traffic lights turn right down Southgate Street. Continue ahead and you will pass the Royal Hampshire Regiment Museum on the right and then the Green Man pub on the left. After about another 50 yards, turn left down Canon Street.

Continue to the end of the street and then turn right into Kingsgate Street. Continue ahead and you will come to the high walls and impressive wooden gates of Winchester College on your left.

Winchester College to River Itchen
Winchester College to River Itchen

Start point: 51.0572 lat, -1.3155 long
End point: 51.0488 lat, -1.3126 long

Winchester College is a public school which was founded by William of Wykeham and many of its buildings date back to the early 1300s. It was set up with the intention of educating poor boys before they moved on to New College, Oxford.

Continue ahead and pass The Queens Inn on the right, and then take the next road on the left (Garnier Road). Follow this road as it crosses two river bridges and take time to admire the adjacent water meadows which are owned by Winchester College.

A little further along you will come to a railway bridge over the road, with a car park immediately before it on the right. Go into the car park and take the path alongside the River Itchen. You have two choices here – either the slightly higher, wider (and drier!) stone bridleway, or the narrow mud towpath which runs immediately next to the river.

River Itchen to St Catherine’s Hill
River Itchen to St Catherine’s Hill

Start point: 51.0488 lat, -1.3126 long
End point: 51.0463 lat, -1.3119 long

Continue along your chosen path with the river running to the right. The tow path and the bridleway will eventually join together.

Immediately after this point there is a wooden gate to the left with an information board about St Catherine’s Hill. Pass through the two gates and then fork left to climb the wooden steps up to the top of the hill.

At the top, follow the path with the beech trees to the right and then take the path into the centre of the beech copse.

St Catherine’s Hill to River Itchen
St Catherine’s Hill to River Itchen

Start point: 51.0463 lat, -1.3119 long
End point: 51.0512 lat, -1.3106 long

St Catherine’s Hill is a chalk hill, the top of which is ringed by the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort. In the centre there is a copse of beech trees which contains the site of the 12th century chapel of St Catherine.

Continue through the copse and exit at about a ten o’clock direction to reach the ancient mismaze, a maze cut into the grass. The origin of the maze is a mystery, but many believe its origins lay in penitential ritual whilst others believe it to be purely recreational. The maze is 624 metres in length and comprises a number of nested squares.

Continue ahead with the maze on your left and start the descent from the hill through the tunnel of trees ahead. Follow this path as it bends to the left and heads gently downhill. As you emerge at the end of the tree covered section, turn right down the steep grass bank (take care) and then downhill down the mud and bare root path. Pass through the gate ahead, through the tunnel under the railway and then you will emerge back into the car park.

Turn right through the car park back to the main road, cross the road and then take the footpath opposite marked as Pilgrim’s Trail which runs with the playing field on the right and the river immediately to the left.

River Itchen to Winchester
River Itchen to Winchester

Start point: 51.0512 lat, -1.3106 long
End point: 51.0664 lat, -1.3182 long

Continue ahead along Pilgrim’s Trail with the river on the left. There are plenty of suitable places here for dogs to have a quick dip in the chalk bed river. At the end of the playing fields continue ahead to pass a number of small cottages on the right.

When you reach a gate ahead (with a ‘Private – no access’ sign), turn right away from the river and then turn left down a small tarmac lane. At the T-junction with the road turn left and pass over the river via the bridge. Follow the road as it bends to the right (College Walk) and then as it bends to the left (College Street) past a vehicle barrier.

At the end of College Street, turn right under the arch (Kingsgate) which has the small church of St Swithun Upon Kingsgate above it. Turn left into St Swithun Street and you will reach the Green Man pub again at the top on the right.

Turn right along Southgate Street and follow the road to the end at the traffic lights. Cross over the road and go ahead into Jewry Street, passing a number of restaurants, cafes and wine bars on the left.

Pass the public library on the left and then at the traffic lights turn left. At the next traffic lights turn left again (Sussex Street) and then take the first right (Gladstone Street) to reach the car park or the station.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2011 by the author Richard and may not be reproduced without permission.


1 responses to "Winchester and St Catherine's Hill"

A really good walk. We took a detour into the cathedral gardens on the way back rather than going up St Swithuns Street. Great fun, but is quite tough with kids.

By Dougiebearin on 2016-08-27 14:09:15

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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8 images to "Winchester and St Catherine's Hill"

386_0Cheekychook1427454468 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
At foot of St Catherine's Hill
386_1Cheekychook1427454471 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970

386_2Cheekychook1427454472 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
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386_3Cheekychook1427454474 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
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386_4Cheekychook1427454476 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
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386_0Cheekychook1427724863 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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386_0Cheekychook1427724870 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
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386_0Cheekychook1427724893 Winchester and St Catherine's Hill walking guide Image by: Cheekychook
Uploaded: 01 Jan 1970
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