South Downs winter walks around East Meon and Cheriton

South Downs winter walks around East Meon and Cheriton


To mark the launch of the winter walking season, the National Park is launching a brand-new Miles Without Stiles routes which is ideal for people of all ages and fitness levels.

Miles Without Stiles routes have been specially created as gentle journeys that are suitable for people with limited mobility, including wheelchair users, families with push chairs, dog walkers and less agile walkers.

Allison Thorpe, who leads access and recreation for the National Park, said: “Whether you’re looking for a gentle stroll with the children and grandparents, a high-octane hike, or a romantic ramble, there’s something for everyone in the South Downs National Park this festive season.

“Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year, but it can also be quite hectic. Just taking a couple of hours to escape and connect with nature in the South Downs can do wonders for your wellbeing.

READ MORE: Winchester named best UK city to spot Father Christmas

“If it’s a clear evening, you could always try a moonlit stroll at one of our 10 Dark Sky Discovery sites and take some images for our astrophotography competition which has a top prize of £100 this year.

Hampshire Chronicle:

“As always, leave no trace and do keep dogs on leads around livestock.”

The picturesque village of East Meon, once owned by the Bishops of Winchester, is home to many historic buildings including the Old Court House.

The Ye Olde George Inn and the Izaak Walton Public House offer local food and real ales, along with a roaring fire. 

The walking guide suggests two circular walks, both starting at the imposing Norman church of All Saints.

One walk of four miles should take approximately two hours and the second, a longer walk of eight miles, which can be completed in around four hours.

Cheriton has a church which sits upon an ancient barrow and the crystal clear River Itchen, which rises nearby, running alongside thatched cottages.

It’s also steeped in history as it was the site of a decisive battle in the English Civil War.

The Battle of Cheriton took place on March 29 1644 in the fields to the east of Cheriton.

The Battle was between the Royalists led by the Earl of Forth and the Parliamentarians under Sir William Waller.

The Parliamentarians won, halting the Royalists advance to Winchester and forcing King Charles I’s troops on the defensive, leading to their eventual defeat in 1645.

For those looking for a longer winter walk, the 10 mile Cheriton loop, starting and finishing at Cheriton village hall.

Post-walk, pop into The Flower Pots Inn or The Hinton Arms to rest and recover with a traditional pub lunch.