Solent Way (part 8) Hilsea to Emsworth

It was an eventful final section of the Solent Way that I walked on a sunny but sub-zero, January day. Starting at Hilsea and ending at Emsworth, the walk is supposed to be just 8 miles, but my 12.4 miles also included the stretch from Hilsea train station to the actual Solent Way path as well as extra miles caused by some unexpected backtracking (see below).

From what I saw of Emsworth I would hope to return to explore what looked to be an attractive, small town. Lots of small pubs and independent shops, a bookshop, a Victorian cafe on platform 2 of the station (charming), and a large harbour which I’m sure would be more interesting when the tide is in.

An eventful day had began with a fallen tree blocking part of my route, threatening a cancellation of the whole day. Fortunately, using my wonderful phone app, I found an alternative route. Whilst on the walk, flooding had swept away part of the Solent Way, requiring some backtracking and rerouting across fields leading to lots of mud as well as a face-off with cattle (one with horns) blocking my way. I couldn’t face more backtracking so by making a lot of noise I managed to create sufficient space to be able to dash past the now rear-facing cattle. Phew.

To top it all, my return journey home began with a train bus-replacement service from Emsworth station. It didn’t turn up, neither did the next one 30 minutes later. I was almost certain that I was waiting in the wrong place – it clearly wasn’t the station.

In the end I found a bus stop where I could pick up a local bus service, though not the rail replacement. The rest of the journey happily went to plan.

What a day to finish off the Solent Way, long-distance path. Now I need another challenge…..

The 60 (actually 71!) miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 7) Portsmouth to Hilsea

The 7th of the 8 sections of the Solent Way walk was, on a lovely, sunny and warm November day, uninteresting and tiring . Starting at Portsmouth and ending at Hilsea, the almost 10 miles was mainly along the seafront.

Nothing of interest once I had left Portsmouth other than a Hovercraft service to the Isle of Wight – I didn’t realise hovercrafts were still ferrying passengers. Sadly I missed out on taking a picture.

I’ll be glad when this walk, the Solent Way, is finished – only one section to go!

Picnic on the Southsea beach

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 6) Lee-on-Solent to Portsmouth

The 6th part of the long-distance Solent Way goes from Lee-on-Solent along the coast to the city of Portsmouth. It’s not a pleasant 7-mile walk – too much of it is along busy, main roads, but on a very hot, sunny day there was the chance to take some nice pictures of boats and blue sky.

I have fond memories of Stokes Bay which is just along the coast from Lee-on-Solent. As kids we would be driven there to sit on the beach, kick a ball around, to picnic, to play on the putting green (now a crazy golf), to have a knockabout on the grass tennis courts (now just hard courts). It’s still a largely unspoilt, but busy little seaside area.

The water between Gosport and Portsmouth is bustling with boats of all sizes, and the short and expensive ferry is well worth taking to get to the interesting city of Portsmouth. The city really requires at least a day to explore its delights – something for another day, perhaps.

7 miles coastal walk
£2.50 worth of yumminess

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 5) Warsash to Lee-on-Solent

The 5th part of the long-distance Solent Way goes from Warsash along the coast to the seaside town of Lee-on-Solent. At some point I must have lost the coastal path which resulted in much of the walk being along pebbled, sometimes sandy, beach. At 7 miles and on a hot, cloudy day, it was exhausting walking mainly along pebbled beach. Only at the end of the walk did the sun come out.

Lee-on-Solent is a pleasant seaside town. As kids we would pass through on the way to Stokes Bay which is a couple of miles along the coast. In later life my Mum liked to visit either the Penguin Café or the Blue Bird Café on the Lee-on-Solent front. At the end of my walk I sampled the delights of Kathy’s Seaside Treats Bakery.

It was not the most interesting of walks, plus I had some exhausting journeys to get to the start of the walk and to return home.

7 miles coastal walk

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 4) Southampton to Hamble

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.

A liner in Southampton, near the start of the walk
Southampton to Hamble

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

A rare selfie!

Solent Way (part 3) Beaulieu to Hythe

The 3rd part of the long-distance Solent Way goes from Beaulieu to Hythe. At just over 6 miles it isn’t the nicest of walks, much of it being along the sides of busy main roads.

Trains to Lymington followed by the 112 bus (Tuesdays & Thursdays only) to Beaulieu took me to the start of the walk. At the end there was the ferry across Southampton Water and then it was on to Southampton station and the return journey home. A long and exhausting day even though the walk was relatively short.

The next section is a short 6 miles from Southampton to Hamble.

Beaulieu at the start of the walk
Beaulieu to Hythe

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 2) Lymington to Beaulieu

The 2nd part of the long-distance Solent Way goes from Lymington to Beaulieu. At just over 10 miles it isn’t the nicest of walks, being along the sides of extremely large fields and mainly on quiet, country roads. ie There’s not much to see in the way of views.

It’s almost 3 years since I did the first part of the Solent Way. I hadn’t expected this delay in progressing through the 8 parts. The next section is a short 6 miles from Beaulieu to Hythe, followed by the ferry across Southampton Water for the 3rd leg, Southampton to Hamble.

The extremely pretty Buckler’s Hard looks as if it could justify a longer re-visit but on this occasion I was just passing through. On leaving I spotted this lovely boat being worked on in the boatyard and I got talking to its owner who, amazingly, lives only a few miles from me.

Lymington to Beaulieu

The 60 miles of the Solent Way

Solent Way (part 1) Milford on Sea to Lymington

Yesterday I walked the first leg of the Solent Way, the stretch from Milford on Sea to Lymington. I tend to dawdle and stop for photographs, so the 8 miles or so took about 4 hours.

Transport went smoothly – a train from London to Brockenhurst and another onto Lymington, followed by the X1 bus to Milford on Sea, and then the return journey after the walk.

I’ve done most of this part of the Solent Way several times over recent years, so it’s very familiar. It’s a flat walk on good surfaces, though the long, shingle walk along Hurst Spit demands a bit more effort. I couldn’t face the walk back along the Spit so I caught the little ferry to Keyhaven, missing out a short section of the Solent Way.

The beach at Milford on Sea. (That’s the Isle of Wight and the Needles in the distance)

At the start of Hurst Spit

Hurst Castle is at the end of the Spit and where there is a ferry to Keyhaven
The ferry (£3.50) avoids the long walk back down the shingle spit!
That’s Hurst Castle and the Spit in the distance, and beyond that the Isle of Wight and the Needles
It’s an ideal walk for cycling!
The yachts at Lymington can be seen in the distance
Lymington boats
Just time for an ice cream before heading home (It’s not only grandchildren who can have these treats)

The 8 Solent Way walks:

  • Walk 1: Milford on Sea ⇒ Lymington (9 miles) (✓ 4th July 2019)
  • Walk 2: Lymington ⇒ Beaulieu (10 miles)
  • Walk 3: Beaulieu ⇒ Hythe (6 miles)
  • Walk 4: Hythe ⇒ Hamble (7 miles)
  • Walk 5: Hamble ⇒ Lee On Solent (7 miles)
  • Walk 6: Lee on Solent ⇒ Portsmouth (6 miles)
  • Walk 7: Portsmouth ⇒ Hilsea (7 miles)
  • Walk 8: Hilsea ⇒ Emsworth (8 miles)

The Solent Way

Having completed the Itchen Way (30 miles in 4 stages), my next walk is the Solent Way (60 miles in 8 stages), starting at Milford-on-Sea and ending at Emsworth.

  1. Milford-on-Sea to Lymington (9 miles) (walked July 2019)
  2. Lymington to Beaulieu (10 miles)
  3. Beaulieu to Hythe (6 miles)
  4. Hythe to Hamble (7 miles)
  5. Hamble to Lee On Solent (7 miles)
  6. Lee On Solent to Portsmouth (6 miles)
  7. Portsmouth to Hilsea (7 miles)
  8. Hilsea to Emsworth (8 miles)