We live in Winchester, enjoy country walks and country pubs. A good day hike is to ride the 64 bus to Alresford and hike back snaking along the Itchen river and taking in the best pubs, namely The Bush Inn at Ovington, The Chestnut Horse at Easton, and finishing with a celebratory pint at either The King Alfred or The Mucky Duck back in Winchester.
We've always wondered what the rest of the Itchen Way was like from Winchester to the sea at Southampton. Looking at the map, it seems like the Alresford to Winch leg is about a third of the journey, and Winch to Southampton is two thirds. We toyed with the idea of splitting up the latter leg and B&B'ing half way. But that would mean staying in Eastleigh for the night, and that's the express lane to spoiling any nice walking route. So hooking up with our trusty walking companions, Nicola and Neil, we decided to try and walk the second leg in one day, with the backout plan of diverting to one of the train stations on the outskirts of Southampton if it all got too much.
All told, starting from home, doing a diversion to the lunch pub, and walking back from the end point to the station and then home, it totalled just under 21 miles. The longest we have ever walked in one day I think. It's flat though and good paths, so easy walking.
The main issue with this walk is finishing in Woolston, Southampton and its neighbouring sewage works. Think East Berlin before the wall came down and you're not far off. What a depressing, stinky end to an otherwise charming walk. The only way to summarise this is start at the Southampton end (near Woolston train station) and walk upstream to better views and cleaner air!
Nb. we will re-walk Alresford to Winchester section soon and add the photos, mileage and route map to this page.