Whitsun Bank Holiday: Test Valley Way 26-28 May 2018

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Whitsun Bank Holiday: Test Valley Way 26-28 May 2018

Postby RichT » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:02 pm

A chance to walk the length of the Test Valley Way through some really pretty parts of Hampshire from Inkpen Beacon in the north down to the sea at Eling, near Southampton. There'll be some nice pub stops en route and the option of a visit to the National Trust's Mottisfont Abbey on bank holiday Monday morning.

Accommodation

Booking accommodation in Salisbury is recommended for the Saturday and Sunday night. Please book this yourself, and let Rich know you are coming on the trip at thurstonrichard@hotmail.com. Salisbury has a variety of accommodation and provides a great place for drinks and food. Due to the fact this is a bank holiday weekend, accommodation may become limited over time. Personal possessions will need to be carried for day one, and you may wish to carry them on day three to avoid returning to your accommodation.

One of the best accommodation options at the time of writing is:

- Sarum College - a Christian college next to the Cathedral (£81 single basic or £209 en-suite twin/double total for the Saturday and Sunday on Expedia);

You can also search for Cricket Field House and Sarum Heights as well as several other B&Bs. There is no Travelodge or YHA in Salisbury and the Premier Inn is quite distant from the station. The White Hart does not appear to have twin rooms. The Cathedral Hotel appears to be good value but possibly not as well rated. The Five Bells is cheaper and poorly rated.

Saturday

Kintbury to Longparish via Inkpen Beacon. 17-26.5 miles moderate to strenuous.

Current plan is to depart London Paddington 0906, arrive Kintbury 1009. There is one ascent of about 250m after about 5 miles, but the remainder of the trip will be quite flat, with a moderate pace. We'll take in some pretty villages and nice countryside and will finish in a pub in Longparish at 22 miles. We'll probably stop for a drink during the walk, too.

There are three choices for getting to Salisbury:

- Taxi to Andover or Whitchurch (Hampshire), train (20 or 29 mins) to Salisbury. Total walk length 22 miles.
- Walk for 2 miles, bus to Andover or Whitchurch (depending on the time we leave the pub), train to Salisbury. Total walk length 24 miles.
- Walk to Whitchurch, train to Salisbury. Total walk length 26.5 miles.

Check in to accommodation on arrival.

I've been asked whether there is an option to shorten today's walk: there is, by getting off the train one stop earlier (Newbury), and catching a taxi to Inkpen Beacon - this is the official start of the Test Valley Way. Doing this eliminates the large ascent and shortens the walk by five miles.

Sunday

Whitchurch (Hants) to Mottisfont and Dunbridge via Longparish. 20 miles. Length: strenuous. Pace: moderate.

Meet at Salisbury station for a train to Whitchurch. It is unlikely that there will be a rail service from London in time for this walk given it's a Sunday. We start to meet the River Test much more frequently from hereon, taking in some pretty villages and river scenes. Opportunity for 1-2 pub stops during the walk (as there are some nice pubs en route!) and at the end in Dunbridge or Salisbury. Train to Salisbury (19mins).

Monday

Mottisfont and Dunbridge to Eling 15.5 miles Moderate. Meet at Salisbury station for a train to Mottisfont and Dunbridge.

We'll walk the three-quarters of a mile to Mottisfont Abbey, an 18th Century National Trust-owned house with gardens and medieval priory, where we'll spend about 2 hours. Entry (optional) is £15, or free for NT members. You can travel 2 hours later if you don't wish to enter. We'll then catch a glimpse of Broadlands mansion and a bigger view of wetland habitats en route to Eling, where the Test finally meets the sea. Time for a celebratory pint!

Return rail travel on Monday evening is direct from Totton (three-quarters of a mile walk from Eling) to London Waterloo.

As usual, we'll take packed lunches each day.

Rail tickets

The trip is not very expensive, but it's worth buying the right combination of tickets to avoid paying more.

On the Saturday, suggest buying (before you travel):

- Off-peak return going out Saturday coming back Monday from London Terminals (or your chosen station) to Mottisfont and Dunbridge (£34.90 with a network card); and
- Single from Reading to Kintbury (£5.15 with a network card)

Travel to get to/from the walks on the Sunday and Monday will be £17.80 in total.

If you do not have a network card, you can travel with other members who do, and avail of the same discount.

Booking advance tickets would likely offer minimal or no saving; you are able to purchase the above tickets on the day.

Please could you let Rich know on thurstonrichard@hotmail.com if you are coming. Please ensure your Ramblers membership is current at the time of the trip. If you have any questions, just email, or call 07980 315065.

Looking forward to some excellent rambling!
RichT
 
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