This is a nice six miler over downs and green lanes with extensive views across Winchester and the surrounding
area. Your walk starts in Shawford which was the location for the death of TV's most famous elderly curmudgeon, Victor
Meldrew, who was knocked down by a hit and run driver under the railway bridge opposite the Bridge Inn. If you are coming
by train, the railway station is at the very start and finish of the walk, there is some street parking for your car or if
you're a patron of Shawford Down ( I guess as that's part of the walk you are, but make up your own minds !) then you may
park in the car park.
From the Bridge Inn walk under the railway bridge towards Shawford Down. Take the path angling off to your left and cross
the Downs car park, heading up the steep grassy hill towards the prominent cross on the war memorial.
The view from the memorial is breathtaking as you look back down to the village and over the water meadows of the River
Itchen to Twyford with the spire of St Mary the Virgin and Twyford Prep School prominent amongst the verdant greens of the
British countryside at it's best.
From the memorial follow the mown path to your left, until you see a gate a short distance
off to the right. This leads you through a small wood and car park out onto the A31 Otterbourne to Winchester road, which
you must carefully cross to transit the M3 motorway via a small road bridge. Turn immediately right into Cliff Way which you
follow until reaching a T junction where you must turn left. This is Hurdle Way, the location of many fine residences, not
that you pay them much attention as the views over Winchester with it's almost thousand year old cathedral are stunning.
Keep forward as the tarmac gives way to a gravel green lane. Ignore another green lane to you left to keep going straight
on. At the top of the lane is a reservoir, and off to your right is Yew Hill Butterfly Conservation Reserve. Do not enter
the reserve, instead turn left keeping the reservoir on your right and continue as the lane starts to descend. In May when
I walked this way, it was at this point that I was serenaded by hundreds of sheep in the surrounding fields.
The lane continues to descend, a welcome relief for the legs ! and then becomes tarmac once more as you bear left towards
Silkstead. Here you can choose to take the first gravel lane on the left, leaving Silkstead Farm to your right, or the next
left to view some of the cottages. Either way you still end up in Shepherds Lane.
Ignore the first track on your right which leads down to Four Dell Farm, instead take the second right, which is still
Shepherds Lane and continue until it once again enters the realm of smart houses and tarmac.
Keep straight on, you can hear the motorway now. At the bottom of Shepherds Lane is a footpath to your right which oddly
enters a subway and brings you out on the A31 Otterbourne road once more. Carefully cross the road and go down Southdown Road
until at the right hand bend you will find a footpath to your left which leads you back onto Shawford Down. Keep to the path
on your right as it gently descends the down into the car park. From here you once more pass under the railway bridge to the
Bridge Inn which marks the end of your walk.