Length: From 0 up to 18 miles
Duration: up to 7 hours
Access: Easily accessible for walking, wheelchair, pushchair
Car Park: Free car parks at Wickham & West Meon
It is always great to get outside into the countryside and enjoy a good walk. But sometimes this is not possible for a multitude of reasons. Maybe you are confined to a wheelchair, have very young children in pushchairs/buggies or need aids in order to walk such as walking sticks or a frame. Either way this should not be a barrier to getting outside and going for a walk.
Across the country there are numerous old railway track walks and canal towpaths that are easily accessible to all. The Meon Valley Trail is one such walk, consisting of a linear walk from Wickham to West Meon or vice versa. From end to end the walk is 9 miles long which can offer up a myriad of walking possibilities.
Wickham SU 574 115
West Meon SU 642 236
There is no route as such because you just stick to the path. This is a great walk to do if you are just starting out as you can walk for 10, 20 or 30 mins then turn back. As you get fitter or more confident than you can increase the length of the walk. During the late spring a 30 minute walk from Wickham takes you to the most amazing Blue Bell fields deep in the woods. For the more observant there is a wide range wildlife to be experienced.
If you are feeling overly adventurous and fancy walking the whole way then there is a very good bus service between West Meon and Wickham, allowing you to get back to your car. If you fancy doing the whole return journey then you will need to allow at least 6 hours plus time for rests and food. The trail runs along side the A32 with several access points throughout the route where you can enter or exit the trail. Most of the small villages and hamlets that you pass have pubs serving food and drink.
Along the route are many places of interest but none more so than Droxford. On the 2nd June 1944, Winston Churchill, members of his war cabinet, President Eisenhower and the French leader Charles de Gaulle, the Canadian President William Lyon McKenzie King and the South African leader Jan Smuts, all met on the Royal train, in the siding at Droxford. Their purpose was to hold last-minute talks about the invasion plans for D-Day.
A word of caution though. During the winter or very wet summer, part of the path can become very wet and muddy and may, at times, become impassable. This particularly true of the northern end near Old Winchester Hill. throughout the country there are many walks like this along old railway tracks and canal tow paths. Check out your local tourist information service for walks local to you. Just 20 minutes 3 or 4 times a week out in the fresh air can have an amazing effect on your health and life.
Download the Meon Valley Trail Leaflet
PDF supplied by South Downs National Park