Hampshire is stunning, there’s no denying that and sometimes it’s nice to visit somewhere off the beaten track. These 7 walks in Hampshire offer everything a family needs from rivers, country pubs, beautiful parks and rich history. It’s no wonder we all love living here– I know I do!
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We asked other local parents about their favourite places to walk in Hampshire, which may not be quite so well-known.
Waggoners wells is a National Trust area located in Grayshott, East Hampshire. With its 3 stunning lakes which run into one another via manmade waterfalls and rivers, a vast amount of woodland and walks that are perfect for families and dog walkers alike, it is the ideal place to spend on a Sunday afternoon.
It is free to park and walk around, just make sure you take your spare coins to make a wish in the well! Also, pack a change of clothes and your wellies during the wetter months because there are just so many parts for your kids to scramble around, like on the exposed roots on a bank going up to the woods, parts of the river to jump in and the walkways can get very muddy. Unfortunately, there are no facilities here so make sure you take snacks and water with you.
Running through the city of Winchester is the River Itchen. As it leaves the city it passes by St. Catherines Hill and continues onto Southampton. You can follow it via different trails and each are just as interesting as the others.
As I said, you can head towards St.Catherines Hill (also a great place for the kids) and follow it along the footpath here, past St.Catherines Wheel and up to the viaduct. You could also enjoy sitting by it on the opposite side of the road where there is a large green area with tennis courts.
This is a popular spot in the summer and the river provides the best way to cool off on a hot day. I have seen people bring their inflatables down to enjoy the summer in a typically British fashion! A little further down the road is a more secluded walkway which I only discovered myself just last year.
The path runs parallel to the one at St.Catherine’s Hill and eventually brings you to The Church of the Hospital of St.Cross. There are free roaming cows here so do be cautious with your smaller children. However, just around the side of the church you could set up a picnic on the grassy area and enjoy soaking up some of the history that this city has to offer.
Selborne is probably best known for Gilbert White’s House but hidden away between the Selborne Arms and houses is a wooded pathway to the most fun walk I used to take as a child– The Zig Zag.
The path zig-zags, as you can probably gather from its name, but as you take each step and gradually get higher above the quaint village (and more out of breath!) it is most definitely worth it, the views from the top are amazing! From here you can choose to either walk back down or to investigate the surrounding woodlands which can also lead you back down to the car park.
Fordingbridge is a small, riverside town in the New Forest. The River Avon runs through it which provides plenty of beautiful walks and sights, but as we are looking for gems that the kids will also like, I have been told about a great playground they would adore. The park includes a large play area, climbing frame, skate park, grass areas to play on and even a paddling pool. There is also a riverside kiosk located nearby so you don’t need to worry about packing too much up for the day.
On the downs, a few miles west of Winchester lies Farley Mount Country Park. This is a large area of open countryside and woods, including chalk down grassland, Forestry Commission plantation and the Ancient woodland Nature Reserve, Crabwood. Here you will find plenty of trails, wooden play areas hidden within the trees, den building and beautiful wildlife to take in. There are plenty of areas to park up and at and walk from so you may want to do a little research prior to visiting so you can pick the perfect spot for you and your family.
This small, quiet village which overlooks the Solent is part of the larger Keyhaven Nature Reserve, which spans almost 500 acres of land. With mudflats and salt marshes, it is a haven for wildlife. Keep your eyes peeled for Barn Owls, brown hares, a variety of birds and rodents. There are plenty of trails to follow and so much to explore, however, do bear in mind that the village has no shops but there are a couple of sailing clubs and a pub.
Opposite the very popular Queen Elizabeth Country Park lies one of the highest points in Hampshire, Butser Hill. It provides a lovely walk for the whole family and even though it may feel like a bit of a steep climb, once you reach the top the views are completely worth it. On a clear day, you will be able to see for miles, possibly even to the sea. Coming back down is great fun for the kids, you cannot resist a little bit of hill rolling and running!
Butser and its surrounding areas sit on Ancient land which brings a lot of interest to its history, in its spirituality as well as scientific investigation. If you wanted to make a day of being in this area and are intrigued about finding out more you could also visit the nearby Ancient Farm too. There is a charge for this attraction and opening times do depend on the time of year but it is a brilliant place to take the children and it will really help to get them interested in local history.
I hope some of these hidden gems bring you and your family lots of fun. If you’re looking for more ideas on what to do then come join our Facebook group “Things to do in Hampshire with kids” to find all the family friendly events and groups that are happening right now.
If you enjoyed this post and would like some more ideas on things to do in Hampshire then head over to the Things To Do section here on Hampshire Mum where you’ll find over 50 day out ideas in Hampshire that the whole family will enjoy. You could also pop over and follow our Facebook page here or our Hampshire days out Pinterest boards for lots more ideas on what you can do as a family in Hampshire; Days Out For The Kids in Hampshire and Cheap and Free Days Out in Hampshire.
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