The Clarendon Way
A 24 mile walk joining the two Wessex cities of Winchester and Salisbury, a perfect weekend walk.
In contrast to the Test Way (which runs from the hills overlooking Berkshire, down the Test Valley to the coast), the Clarendon Way crosses the Test Valley between Kings Somborne and Houghton.
It starts beside the waters of the Itchen in the heart of Winchester and ends near the Avon at Salisbury Cathedral. It provides a splendid variety of scenery along the way, ranging from the water meadows of the valleys with their charming villages through woodland - ancient as well as modern - to downlands with far-ranging views.
The Clarendon Way is named from Clarendon Park on the eastern edge of Salisbury. The Park contains the site of Clarendon Palace, a royal hunting lodge for Norman Kings, but later expanded by the Plantagenets into a great county house. Almost nothing remains now, only a few feet of flint wall lying a few yards from the Clarendon Way.
At Winchester one sees smaller remains which are even older, a few stones beside the River Itchen which are all that survive from the Roman wall built around the City in the 3rd Century. A mile down the valley lies the hospice of St Cross where even 400 years ago the choir boys carved their names on the stalls in the chapel.
From the Itchen Valley the route climbs to Oliverís Battery, a hill from which the Roundheads bombarded Winchester in the Civil War, then on to Farley Mount, an extensive informal Country Park managed by Hampshire County Council. It goes on through Parnholt Wood, via Kings Somborne to the Test Valley and Houghton, then across open farmland to the valley of the Wallop Brook and the village of Broughton, a convenient half-way point.
West from Broughton the route follows a Roman road through Buckholt to Winterslow, crosses the hills with fine views to the village of Pitton, then passes through the woods of Pitton, then passes through the woods of Clarendon Park. Emerging from the woods the spire of Salisbury Cathedral beckons from the Avon Valley two miles ahead.
The Clarendon Way Route
Salisbury to Clarendon Palace (3 miles)
The Way leaves Salisbury via Milford Street to Milford Road and Queen Manor Road. Through Rangers Farm, it bears right across a field and up to King Manor Hill where it enters the woods near the remains of Clarendon Palace.
Clarendon Palace to Broughton (8 miles)
Beyond the edge of the wood a left fork takes the walker to ĎFour Cottagesí, then behind the houses it crosses the fields to the village of Pitton, emerging by the school. It takes the walker over the hills to emerge by the church at West Winterslow then on to Middle Winterslow and along the Roman road to Buckholt. A well-defined track leads direct to Broughton.
Broughton to Oliverís Battery, Winchester (9Ĺ miles)
The way lies along Rectory Lane then takes a path along the back of the village to join a track leading to Houghton. A short length of road leads to a footpath which crosses the River Test by a footbridge and shortly also crosses the Test Way. After passing through Kings Somborne the Way turns south-east across farmland to Parnholt Woods. There follows the stretch through Farley Mount Country Park then on minor roads to the outskirts of Winchester at Oliverís Battery.
Oliver's Battery to Winchester City Centre (3Ĺ miles)
After passing through the housing estate at Oliverís Battery, walkers cross a main road on a footbridge and descend via an old track, Whiteshute Lane to St Cross. They then follow the network of streams along the Itchen Valley, past the Winchester College playing fields to the City centre.