The 4th part of the long-distance Solent Way goes from Southampton, along the coast to the attractive village of Hamble. At just under 10 miles and on a hot, sunny day, it was exhausting. I was surprised by how much walking there was on stony beaches. On the other hand it was nice that for most of the walk there was water to be seen.
On arriving at Southampton Central station I walked towards the docks and saw a side view of this large liner, then on to the Hythe ferry where the previous leg of the Solent Way walk had finished.
The Hythe ferry runs between Southampton and Hythe. In these difficult times the ferry owner is appealing for financial support to enable the service to survive.
The service is used by commuters but also by visitors looking to enjoy a wonderful, short, boat trip from the port of Southampton. And when the ferry arrives at Hythe a rickety old train awaits those who choose not to walk the length of the long pier to Hythe Village. It’s a terrific experience for any visitor to Southampton.
You can go to the appeal support page by clicking here.
Many times I’ve travelled on the 10:12 from Clapham Junction towards Southampton.
In the last year of my mum’s life, when I had become fed up with the drive, I would catch this train to visit her in her care home. I’ve also used it to carry on beyond Southampton to Brockenhurst and eventually Lymington, one of my very favourite places. From Lymington you can walk or catch the little ferry to Hurst Castle, you can walk around the coastal path, and you can catch the larger ferry to the Isle of Wight. I love ferries, large and small.
Over the past 12 months I’ve also caught the 10:12 in order to reach the starting points of the four sections of the Itchen Way walk – Southampton, Eastleigh, Winchester (twice).
On most of these train trips, I’ve bought a coffee and KitKat from the on-board trolley service (I’m a creature of habit), and on most of these times I’ve been served by the same East-European lady with the lovely smile. And though I remember her, she probably doesn’t remember me.
On Tuesday I set off to start the last leg of the Itchen Way walk. I was standing on the Clapham Junction platform, waiting for the 10:12, when an express, non-stopping train shot past, but with its hooter blaring. The next thing I know is that station staff are active, moving waiting passengers away from the platforms. Someone had jumped under the express train. Chaos followed as trains were suspended in order to deal with the emergency. I abandoned any thoughts of doing my walk. Two days later I tried again, this time without incident.
I guess that forever, when standing waiting for the 10:12, I’ll spare a thought as the express train shoots through, for the person who had had enough.
I was brought up in St Denys, an area of Southampton. After the Second World War prefabs were constructed that would become my home for over a decade. Sometime after 1976 the prefabs were demolished, as was the adjacent paint factory, and modern houses were built. The following 4 maps show how the area has changed.
All maps are screen-shots taken from http://www.old-maps.co.uk
The Bargate is a Grade I listed medieval gatehouse in the city centre of Southampton, England. Constructed in Norman times as part of the Southampton town walls, it was the main gateway to the city. The building is a scheduled monument, which has served as a temporary exhibition and event space for Southampton Solent University since 2012. [Wikipedia]
The big wheel (circa 2017), which wrecks the view of the Bargate (circa 1180), will disappear at the end of October.
The Hythe Ferry runs from Southampton, across Southampton Water, to the small village of Hythe. The future of the ferry, which was under threat, has recently been secured. Although Hythe village is not particularly interesting, it’s worth doing the return trip, not only because a boat trip is always interesting, but also because at Hythe the ferry docks at the end of a 640 metre pier dating from 1870, and where you can catch the most rickety of trains, dating from the 1920s, to take you to the village. All the images taken on my trip today can be clicked for larger pictures.
I make no apologies for taking yet more pictures of the River Hamble and the pink ferries! It’s a lovely spot, with a small waterfront and a consistently reliable café. Hamble village is also charming, with several pubs.
The short ride on the ferry, across the river to Warsash, is well worth the modest fare.
I also found a second-hand paperback from 1990, Exploring the Itchen Way by Richard Kenchington, which I’ve just ordered from Abe Book. Perhaps I’ll make the effort to walk the Itchen Way or the Itchen Navigation, in the spring….