A Short Walk around the River
Just a few miles from Winchester, this short circular walk around Avington and Itchen Abbas will suit anyone who enjoys a stroll in the country with the family. The starting point is a small ‘car park’ which looks across a field onto Avington Pond and the picturesque view that is Avington Park House. Sheep may greet you as you head west up the slight incline of the road, with the House and pond gradually disappearing out of view on the right. With the river running to the right a track will appear on the same side after half a mile. Walk up the path then cross the river along a pathway lined with an assortment of reeds and you will reach a bridge with the wideness of the River Itchen flowing under it. As you walk on passed a few houses, don’t miss the signpost on the right marked; ‘Alan King’s Way’. This is a stretch of the Itchen Way, and as you follow the high brick, moss covered wall, it will lead you through wide fields populated by a scattering of beautiful but disinterested cows. You may even catch a glimpse of a black swan in flight down by the River.
As you walk through the field, ignore the path on your left after a quarter of a mile and keep going down the Itchen Way, until you reach a road with the church, St John the Baptist, on the right. The Plough Inn is across the junction ahead if you fancy some refreshment.
Walking passed St John’s church down this quiet road, the village of Itchen Abbas seamlessly flows into the edges of Avington, passing more of the River, now heavily populated by white swans. The straight road that lies ahead will soon lead you to the ornate gates and tree-lined entrance that is the historic Avington Park House. As you pass by the impressive grounds and follow the road as it curves to your right, you will soon be next to St Mary’s of Avington. After ¾ of a mile take a final right, sign-posted ‘Easton’ and complete the final part of this circle. If you are lucky, the horned cattle will be grazing next to horses, as the car park and front of Avington Park House come fully into view. You have reached your destination!
Distance: 3.5 miles
Start Point: Avington Country Park car park SO21 1DE