3 Shawford Down to Otterbourne
Stage 3 Shawford Down to Otterbourne
2 1/4 miles
Starting Point: Shawford Down Car park
Grid reference: 472249
Bus Route: 47
This stage takes the walker off the down along the path of the Itchen Navigation through Otterbourne Hill Wood and into Otterbourne.
From the park bench walk to the main road (Shawford Road) and into Shawford, turn right under the railway bridge. Those with hunger or thirst can now satisfy their needs at the Bridge Inn public house.
Pass Shawford Mission Hall on the right and immediately before the bridge, which gives the pub its name, turn right onto a tarmac footway. Follow the footpath past houses on the right and the stream of the Itchen Navigation on the left. Leave the path by a kissing gate and follow the stream. Soon the footpath joins a road with the embankment of a railway bridge on the right.
Shortly after a subway under the railway appears on the right, the footpath leaves the road to the left. follow the path alongside the Navigation towards farm buildings. Cross over a stile and cross the water by a footbridge, taking an immediate right turn over another stile.
Shortly after passing a weir, which sometimes can only be heard and not seen, cross a stile, turn right along a fence track.
Eventually the sound of another weir can be heard, and this can be seen where the track recrosses the water. Also, on view to your left on a tree is a sign "Beware of the Asps".
Once over the bridge keep to the main track past Hawksley Memorial Garden, and cross in front of the Southern Water Building now on your left. Enter the paddock in front of you by a stile in the post and rail fence and head diagonally across the paddock to leave by a stile in the opposite corner. Cross the next track and keep the fence on your right. Take a stile into a field and proceed diagonally across leaving by another stile to the right of a gate.
Turn right and go under the railway bridge. Keep to the track for only a short while before entering another field via a stile to the left of a gate. As you proceed straight ahead towards a belt of trees you will become aware again of the sound of the motorway traffic that the railway line has been shielding you from and Otterbourne Chimney stack can be seen again on the right horizon. A stile allows you to enter a belt of trees and there is a well defined path in front of you. You emerge from the trees into a clearing, actually an old graveyard, which once contained Old Otterbourne Church.
Keep to your path to emerge to emerge onto a roadway onto a stile, Kiln Lane. turn right along the road and in about 100 yards on the other side of the road, at its junction with a farm track, take the stile into a field. Follow the clear path through the field which rises gently uphill towards Otterbourne Hill Wood. Once into the wood follow the main path uphill. keep to the main path which is wider than side paths and is always going uphill.
Leave the wood by a metal 'pinch' stile. At this point you should turn right onto a tarmac roadway (Park Lane).
The lane to the right leads out to Otterbourne Common where refreshment may be taken at The Otter public house.