Follow the Solent Way along the beautiful south coast from Milford on Sea to Emsworth.
The route starts off at Milford on Sea and heads along the coastal marshes to Lymington with splendid views of the Isle of Wight. This section runs through the beautiful Keyhaven Marshes where you can look out for a wide variety of birdlife. You also have the option of heading along the long shingle spit to Hurst Castle, one of Henry VIII's Device Forts.
At Lymington the route heads inland through the New Forest towards Hythe passing the excellent Beaulieu Motor Museum, the pretty Dibden Inclosure and the Beaulieu River as you go. At Hythe you cross Southampton water on the Hythe Ferry taking you to Southampton where you follow the coast to Gosport and Lee on Solent. On this section you will pass the delightful riverside villages of Hamble-le Rice and Warsash, catching a ferry over the River Hamble between the two settlements. Near here there's also Alver Valley Country Park and the delightful Titchfield Haven nature reserve at Fareham. Here you will find 369 acres of River, fen, pools, reedbed and meadow with a variety of wildlife to look out for.
From Gosport a ferry ride takes you over the River Hamble to Portsmouth with its fascinating maritime history. Highlights here include the D-Day Museum where you can see the Overlord Embroidery. This tells the story of D-Day and the Battle of Normandy in 34 extraordinary hand-stitched panels with a total length of 83 metres.
The final stretch leads you around the attractive Langstone Harbour to the finish at Emsworth Quay.
This is a fantastic walk with much to enjoy including beaches, promenades and marshes with an abundance of interesting wildlife. There is also a strong historical aspect with forts, museums and ships to explore particularly around Portsmouth.
Solent Way Ordnance Survey Map - view and print off detailed OS map
Solent Way Open Street Map - view and print off detailed map
Solent Way OS Map - Mobile GPS OS Map with Location tracking
Solent Way Open Street Map - Mobile GPS Map with Location tracking
On the walk you could stop at Titchfield Haven's on site cafe for refreshments. In the visitor centre there's also interesting exhibitions of local artists work and nature photography. It's a delightful place to stop and rest your legs in scenic surroundings.
For some lovely sea views while you eat head to The Osborne View, just to the east of the reserve at Hill Head, near Farnham. It's the only remaining pub along Hill Head Beach front, with direct access to the shingle beach. Affording stunning views across the Solent (on a clear day of course!) the pub is named after Osborne House (residential home of HM Queen Victoria) on the Isle of Wight. With over 400 outside covers spanning a raised decked patio and large garden, together with a separate outside bar, it's the perfect place to enjoy a meal outside in the summer. You can find the pub on Hill Head Road with a postcode of PO14 3JP for your sat navs.
The Ship Inn in Langstone is superbly positioned for a pit stop. The family-friendly seaside pub overlooks Sweare Deep and Emsworth Harbour. There's a fantastic outdoor area right next to the water and a cosy interior with a warming fire. You can find the pub in Langstone with a postcode of PO9 1RD for your sat navs.
Pictured above the Ship Inn at Langstone. A great place to relax outside with a drink on a summer day.
In Warsash you can stop off at the wonderfully positioned Rising Sun. It's over 200 years old and includes and upstairs section with wonderful views over the river. It's the perfect spot to relax with a drink after your exercise. You can find them on Shore Road at a postcode of SO31 9FT for your sta navs.
Near Beaulieu you will pass the delightful riverside village of Buckler's Hard. Here you will find the notable Master Builder's. The main draw here is the Riverview Restaurant terrace where you can sit outside and enjoy views of over the river and countryside. The hotel also has an interesting maritime history dating back to 1729 when it was built. The most famous tenant was Henry Adams, the Master Builder of ships for Nelson’s Navy, including three of the ships which fought at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. Inside there's an olde worlde feel with oak beams and big open fireplaces. You can find them in the village at a postcode of SO42 7XB for your sat navs.
The town of Lymington is another fine place to stop at. At the other end of the route there's The Ship Inn in Lymington. The inn is located in a great spot next to the quay, in the town centre. In the summer you can sit outside and enjoy views to all the boats in the marina. Inside there's a stylish and contemporary decor with a cosy log fire for the winter months. They do excellent food and can be found at Quay Hill with a postcode of SO41 3AY for your sat navs. There's nice views from the adjacent quay to the boats heading across the Solent to the Isle of Wight from Lymington Pier.
Further Information and Other Local Ideas
As you pass the quay in Southampton you will also pass the historic city walls. You can see more of this on the circular Southampton Walls Walk which takes you to some of the interesting historical sites in the city centre.
For more walking ideas in the area see the Hampshire Walks and the New Forest Walks pages.