Situated on the edge of the South Downs National Park, the Winchester district boasts panoramic views and plenty of opportunities to enjoy the rural heart of Hampshire.

Within the city of Winchester itself you will find gardens and parks with colourful floral displays. A short stroll away from the bustling high street you will find the tranquil water meadows.

If you're looking to explore further afield, Winchester is the gateway to the South Downs National Park - offering visitors rolling hills, woodlands, rivers, market towns and villages aplenty.

Pedal-power your way through Winchester and Hampshire's countryside.

There are many trails designed especially for cyclists to explore the scenic landscapes and countryside characteristic of Winchester and the surrounding area. For more information and downloadable trails take a look at Hampshire County Council's cycling pages.

Bikeabout Bicycle loan Service

Leave the car behind and head for Winchester to borrow a bicycle from the Bikeabout bicycle loan service. For an annual registration fee of £50 per individual you can borrow a bike as often as you like. On joining the Bikeabout scheme you will also receive a free cycle helmet, personal reflective jacket and cycle map. The scheme operates from Winchester Tourist Information Centre and Shopmobility in The Brooks Shopping Centre.

The outskirts of the city very quickly open out onto the countryside and a number of long-distance walking paths with plenty of welcoming hostelries along the way.

St Swithun's Way starts at Winchester Cathedral and follows in the footsteps of the many pilgrims who paid homage to St Swithun as it weaves its way through the picturesque Itchen Valley, taking in pretty rural villages before it ends in historic Farnham.

The Clarendon Way joins the two Wessex cities of Winchester and Salisbury and crosses the Test Valley between Kings Somborne and Houghton.

The Itchen Way journeys up from the Solent at Southampton up the Itchen Valley to the source of the river at Hinton Ampner. The route passes Eastleigh and Shawford and then into Winchester, starting the final part of the Clarendon Way from St Cross to the city centre. From here walkers follow the course of another long distance walk, The Three Castles Path, which leads on to Windsor. 

Wayfarers' Walk follows some of the old tracks used by shepherds driving their animals to sheep fairs in Farnham and New Alresford. This countryside was also the inspiration for Richard Adams' best-selling book Watership Down.

For walks and trails in the South Downs National Park take a look at our South Downs pages.