12 wonderful winter walks in Hampshire
- Credit: Rosalind Morgan/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Before a warming pint at the pub or after a hearty festive dinner, there’s no better feeling than a bracing winter walk. Luckily, our editorial team have rounded up the best places to go. Strap on your boots, wrap up cosy and get walking around Hampshire this season…
Where to go for a winter walk in Romsey
From tidal marshes and water meadows to spectacular views and peaceful woodland, The Test Way has a variety of habitats to explore, and Romsey is well situated to enjoy some or all of the 44-mile long-distance route which starts at Inkpen and ends in Eling. The section from Mottisfont to Romsey is five miles, and just beautiful at this time of year.
Where to go for a winter walk in Basingstoke
The nearby National Trust property The Vyne really comes into its own at Christmas, with fully decorated Victorian interior bringing joy and merriment throughout the season. If it’s a family walk, you’re looking for, then their new Percy the Park Keeper trail will fill festive hearts and bring the whole family closer to nature. You can pop to the shop too to find countryside inspired gifts as well as steaming mugs of hot chocolate in the café.
Where to go for a winter walk in Bedford Place
The frosty woodlands that cascade around Southampton Common make it a scenic spot for a cooler day. It’s the largest open space in Southampton, and is filled with lakes, ponds and wildlife. Loop around the path that winds around the perimeter, and even stop along the way for a play in the park.
Where to go for a winter walk in Southsea
Blow away the Christmas cobwebs with a stomp along the bracing Southsea seafront and enjoy the ever-changing coastal scenery. Whether it be whipped-up sea spray and blustery winds or calm and serene sunset strolls, the fresh sea air will do wonders for those woolly heads after an evening of indulging.
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Where to go for a winter walk in Hartley Whitney
Head just outside the village and you will find stunning West Green House and Gardens, a National Trust site whose gardens are a delight all year round but at Christmas, become an extraordinary light spectacular. From giant shimmering flowers to enormous water lilies, carousel to Christmas edible treats, this really is a magical time to experience the gardens as you’ve never seen them before.
Where to go for a winter walk in Botley
Meander along the leisurely figure-of-eight walk through Botley along the River Hamble, which looks especially delightful with touches of frost. The route follows part of the Strawberry Trail, which weaves its way through the area once known for the sweet fruit. After heading along Church Botley Lane, pass through Manor Farm Country Park. Once you reach the picturesque river, you can take a seat and admire the beautiful scenery before heading back. Pack a flask full of hot chocolate to sweeten up your view when you make it there.
Where to go for a winter walk in Stockbridge
Stockbridge falls halfway on the Test Way, which makes the town and surrounding areas beautiful for winter walking. Start at St Peter’s Church for a scenic circular route which follows the course of an old railway line both to the north and south of the town, as well as the surrounding downland before finishing at the River Test.
Where to go for a winter walk in Alresford
The best way to get to know the town is by embarking on its Millennium Trail. The self-guided walk is around a mile long and links together footpaths around the town, with illustrated boards introducing the history of Alresford, its inhabitants, railway line, wildlife and rural surrounds.
Where to go for a winter walk in Petersfield
You can’t spend the day in Petersfield without a wander around Heath Pond, and in winter its serenity and tranquillity will calm even the fuzziest of gift-buying brains. The 1.4-mile circular route is perfect for big and little legs, and there’s a children’s play area on the western corner for little ones who need to let off steam.
Where to go for a winter walk in Ringwood
Birds from all over the world travel to Blashford Lakes for the winter, with up to 5,000 arriving in Hampshire this month. The six bird hides and easy to walk, gravel paths make it a breeze to spot the various species, and with 8km of walkable route, you can go on for as long or as little as you like. Afterwards, you can have a warming meal at The Alice Lisle, where you can see beautiful views of the lakes.
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Where to go for a winter walk in Andover
Watch nature easing itself into the cooler seasons on a circular walk around Harewood Forest. The tall, trees coated in frost (or snow if we’re really lucky) will look like a wintry dream as you head on the nine-mile route, which can be shortened if needs be. See which birds and animals you can spot along the way, before looping back round. Afterwards, warm yourself back up at The Wyke Down with a roast or stone-baked pizza.
Where to go for a winter walk in Lymington
The sea air is always brilliantly bracing, but it is extra refreshing during these cooler months. Start at Lymington Marina, then follow the sign posts for the Solent Way. For a coffee on the go or a respite break, stop at The Haven for a pick me up, before continuing along the sea wall and heading to the nature reserve to spot wintering birds. On a clear day you might be able to spot the Isle of Wight in the distance too.