The River Itchen

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Article By: Matt Lynch
9 months ago
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Hampshire and the South Downs National Park are famous for their chalk streams. The River Itchen is one of the finest examples of them. The water is stunningly clear, so much so that you can stand on the river bank and spot trout gliding amongst the reeds, suspended in the steady flow. The river is exceptionally clean and the chalk bed filters out many impurities allowing wildlife to flourish in the water and along its banks. It's the perfect location to spot wildlife and look out for the species that call this natural ecosystem home. The river is renowned as one of the best fly fishing spots in the UK and large swathes of watercress grow naturally in the northern section of the Itchen. There's a short walk called The Weirs which starts at the Winchester City Mill and stretches round to Wolvesey Castle. A more serene section will take you south past the prestigious Winchester College and into the water meadows. You can follow the path until it intercepts Garnier Road where you can then loop back into Winchester city centre. This walk should take about an hour. If you wish for a more challenging walk with better views yet, follow The Itchen Navigation path to St Catherine's Hill. After a 70 meter climb up +100 steps you'll be granted with a spectacular view over Winchester and across the River Itchen valley. This walk should take another hour added on from the water meadows. TOP TIP - If you're looking for another fantastic hill view in Winchester, go to the St Giles Hill viewpoint. Although it too has a steep climb, it's closer to the city centre and requires a shorter walk for similar sweeping sights. To find it, walk east towards the King Alfred statue. When you reach the statue continue in a straight line over the bridge that cross the River Itchen and follow the small path into the woods and up the hill in front of you. Keep climbing the numerous steps and follow the signs leading you to the viewpoint up top.
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  • The Itchen Navigation, Winchester SO23, UK
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