Netley Walk

On the freshly charged scooter to Winchester, the train to Southampton, a free bus to the Town Quay for the start of the walk, (supposedly to Hamble although I didn’t make it that far.)

I started with a look around the Quay, with car docks, ferries and restaurants. Strange shiny dome over the water:

Military and Industrial presence all around, with cargo ships docked nearby and so many car imports. Casinos.

The Solent Way starts here after the ferry from Hythe. I walked through the south of the city, past some of the old town walls, the worlds oldest bowling green and through a park to Ocean Village. Traffic getting quieter in the corner under Itchen Bridge, I went up some crumbling steps, 30 years old, to the Bridge. Haze clearing in the midday sun, Samaritans signs all across the bridge.

Across the river was like the other side of the tracks. The old Vosper yard being demolished and grim old shops, sewerage smell.

A sad old bench along the entire wall of a works building. The security guard asked what I was doing when I took this: ‘Just having a look’:

Glad to reach the shoreline, I continued along the Solent Way to Weston, with its 60s blocks and 30s shelters:

Past the blocks and West Wood is another type of dwelling altogether, Netley Castle, and behind it the ruins of Netley Abbey.

Across the Water the whole way, the oil refinery of Fawley. After looking around the abbey I lay in the shade under an oak tree, a world away from the city and docks and run down suburbs.

Then through the village with bright terraces and cottages to the water again at Netley Hard, and into the Royal Victoria Country Park. The sea wall has crumbled here, material sucking into the sea at high tide, so the Way goes through the park, which was once the site of a huge hospital used from the 1860s until after WWII. Half a mile long! The chapel remains, along with some of the outbuildings, now used for Police Training, including what was the asylum. The chapel is a visitor centre.

This is where I cut the walk short, wandering around the park, watching a bit of a dog show, or agility contest, and then through the marshes back to the village.

Finishing up at the station to catch the train back to Southampton Central. A walk of great variety, seeing so much in a short afternoon’s walking.

The Hamble adventure must wait till next time, probably starting at Netley, walking the remainder of the coast to Hamble, across the ferry to Warsash and up to Bursledon…

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