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Three Winter walking routes from our Ambassadors

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Walking in and around Winchester is a great way to get outside for fresh air in the Winter months. Most walks can be linked together, which means you are able to decide how long you want to explore.

Here are some suggestions of great walks around Winchester from our ambassadors.


One of my favourite walks is very close to where I live. It’s the Abbotts Barton nature reserve, just on the edge of Winchester and only a 20-minute walk from the railway station.

I love it in all weathers, even when the wind is tugging at the beautiful line of trees, almost blowning you away. But, just now, with the winter light, it’s perfect for a short or longer walk, depending on how you feel.

The path takes you all the way round the reserve, where you can enjoy beautiful wild flowers in the summer, skylarks singing their hearts out, and even lizards scampering on the dry paths. Currently the fields are grazed by Hampshire white cattle, sheep and some very photogenic deer.

Louise West, Winchester Culture Ambassador

Keats Walk

The South of England is known to be home to some of the best chalk rivers in the world. The bed of the River Itchen is chalk, which means it filters out any impurities and makes the water extraordinarily clean, allowing nature to thrive, from wild watercress and wildflowers to trout.

The crystal clear waters of the River Itchen that flow through the city even has its own dedicated walk: The Itchen Navigation, also known as the Keats Walk (due to the poet John Keats’ poem “To Autumn” about the river.) 

To start your adventure along the River Itchen head towards:

  1. The National Trust property Winchester City Mill (and pick up a delicious coffee and cake to go!) and join the start of the Itchen Navigation, keeping the river on your left and continue on this path until you see a metal plaque on the riverside railings explaining more about The Weirs. 
  2. The Weirs is a type of dam that controls a river’s flow and water level. From this point keep following the path with the river on your left and head towards Wolvesey Castle (this is a great point to drop into the castle ruins and explore) and the Water Meadows. 
  3. The Water Meadows is a beautiful stretch of the walk, and this is the perfect time to take those Instagram wintery shots with St Catherine’s hill in the background! Keep following this stretch of path through the meadows until you reach Garnier Road (this is quite a busy road!). Cross the road and re-join the walk and head towards Hospital St Cross.
  4. At this point, you can either stop and enjoy the delights of Hospital St Cross and circle back to Winchester City Centre or continue the Itchen Navigation from here. If you wish to continue the walk and do the full 10.4 mile route the full map is available here.

Charlotte Walker-Watts, Winchester Culture Ambassador


Wintertime in Winchester is precious. You can meander along the frosty water meadows whilst walking in from or out towards Shawford and visit a few pubs along the way.

Why not download the indiewinch festive map and find a new independent business to support next year. Have you tried tacos at Overdraft, pigs in blanket toasties at the Cabinet Rooms or cheese boards at Basil Leaf deli? The options are endless across the city, and the map will guide you to discover new things. Make 2024 your year of Winchester discovery.

Suzy Dierckx, Winchester Independent Business Ambassador


The Winchester Ambassadors are a group of volunteers who enjoy sharing their passion for their city. They were assembled to provide visitors with a local’s view of the city and its attractions. Their thoughts, insights and tips are independent and are not paid for. The Winchester Ambassadors are not affiliated with any of the brands or businesses mentioned in their posts or endorsed by Winchester City Council.