The book is supported by the Three Rivers Community Rail Partnership, My Journey and Transition Southampton. Their details are given at the front of the book.
The blurb describes the book as containing over 30 self-guided river themed walks for all abilities from rail stations in South Hampshire and Salisbury, including Chandler’s Ford and Eastleigh.
The book gives walks from all of the stops on the Chandler’s Ford shuttle train service which are Salisbury, Dean, Mottisfont and Dunbridge, Romsey, Redbridge, Millbrook, Southampton Central, St. Denys, Swaythling, Southampton Airport Parkway, Eastleigh, and Chandler’s Ford.
The book also lists walks from other stations easily reached using our shuttle service including Bitterne, Woolston, Sholing, the Royal Victoria Country Park, Netley Abbey, the Hamble Rail Trail, Bursledon (all reached from St. Denys and/or Southampton Central).
Walk 27: the Chandler’s Ford loop
Most of the places have more than one walk assigned to them though Chandler’s Ford does not. We are Walk 27 which is described as the Chandler’s Ford loop and takes you along the Monk’s Brook into Bodycoats Road, Oakmount Road? and eventually via Chalvington Road and School Lane back to the station again.
Each walk has a lovely aerial photo with the route described shown in green. On the opposite page are full, clear directions. There is also an indication of the length of each walk and its difficulty.
Also listed are cafe stops (not individually but where to look for them. On our walk, this is listed as the Monk’s Brook pub and various cafes in Bournemouth Road) and where you are most likely to find toilets. There are also small photos showing some of the highlights on each walk, a great additional navigational aid.
At the end of the book is a list of contact numbers and addresses for pubs near the railway station. Some would find this more useful than others! There are also numbers given for South West Trains, Traveline, the British Transport Police and National Rail Enquiries amongst others. Details are also given of walking associations like the Ramblers.
The book’s most useful features
Unquestionably the aerial map is the best feature for each walk as you can literally see where your walk will take you.
I also loved the guide to the terrain and the walk length information as both help gauge whether this walk is suitable for you and/or for whoever is with you on your trip.
Each route is detailed brilliantly. Turn left here, look for this and turn right at that point and so on. The directions could not be clearer and it is obvious the writer has walked the walks and knows the guidebook information she wants to see (and as a result other walkers would find most useful).
This book is an enjoyable read even if you don’t use it practically but it is one of the best guides to anything I’ve come across. The A5 paperback format is easy to pack into a rucksack, bag or wide pocket and at £5.00 is good value.
Another nice touch is each walk has a historical or other interesting snippet highlighted to add information to your self guided tour.
A lot of thought has been given to the look and design of this book and it shows.
This is mainly the size of the print, (I’m guessing it is 6 or 8!). I can appreciate why this was done. The idea is to have the aerial picture on one page and the directions on the opposite page (this is a great idea) and the text needs to be not too large a size to fit everything in.
If the book had been a larger A4 format, they could have increased the text size comfortably but A5 is the most useful. I wouldn’t want to see any of the information given taken out to make more room but those of us who need reading glasses, you will definitely need them for this book.
Also by arranging the book the way it is, the number of printed pages are reduced and so it helps keep the cost down. I would urge the writer and publishers, if they bring out other editions or reprints, to see what could be done to improve the text size though. I would prefer it at a minimum of a 10 as that would be easier to read (and 11/12 would be even better).
Review of Walk 1: Salisbury town path to the Cathedral Close
Our shuttle train service is a convenient way to get into Southampton but it is well worth travelling all the way into Salisbury. It only takes about an hour from Chandler’s Ford and Salisbury is a fantastic place to visit. It also means no worries about parking!
I recommend taking in the Cathedral. I’ve always enjoyed my visits here and it makes for a very nice day out.
One of the Cathedral’s treasures is the Medieval Clock which is a wonder to behold (and it still works!).
I’ve been awestruck many times when looking at one of the original copies of the Magna Carta. You really do get a sense of being in the presence of history. And the Chapter House it is kept in is very beautiful.
If you’ve a head for heights, the Tower Tour is amazing and on a clear day you have a view of three counties – Wiltshire, Hampshire and Dorset. But don’t do what I did here. Before I had my wonderful camera phone, I had a ordinary camera, the kind that needs batteries and because the climb up the steeple gets narrower the further up you go, you have to leave bags etc in a locker at the bottom and just take the key with you.
Guess who forgot to ensure her camera batteries were in her pocket. The highest you can go up the steeple is 250 feet as, though it is 500 feet high, you need to be a steeplejack with specialist climbing equipment to cover the rest. Guess who found she did not have her spare batteries on her and suddenly needed them!
I made up for that by buying some lovely postcards of the views from the viewing platform from the gift shop! There was no way I was climbing down and going back up again – it is a steep climb and great exercise but I could only face doing that the once!
This time instead of walking through the city to get to the Cathedral, I took Walk 1 from the Station Walks book and it was fantastic. This route takes you through the water meadows on a nice footpath and the views of the Cathedral are amazing. It really does look stunning from the distance and I could easily see why John Constable was so inspired by these views.
The directions were easy to follow, I discovered a side of Salisbury I had only travelled by car before (and that many moons ago and thanks to a traffic diversion). It was a much pleasanter walk than just going straight down from Salisbury Railway Station into the city (and less crowded though Walk 1 was popular with dog walkers, families etc).
The Queen Elizabeth Gardens near the station are small but lovely.
There were also great views of the River Avon on Walk 1.
Okay walking along the Harnham Road was not scenic but then neither is going through the city to get to the Cathedral. Having said that I took some lovely pictures. If I’d had more time, I’d have stopped at the pub for a refreshing drink and admired the view across over the Avon. Another time perhaps…
The water meadows are wonderful and it makes for a really great walk. It’s a nice easy walk on tarmac with no steps and gravelled paths (now that kind of information is worth knowing before you set out).
I’d give Walk 1 10 out of 10 for its clarity of directions, its usefulness in what to look out for and for introducing me to a side of Salisbury I’m looking forward to exploring again. I’m also looking forward to trying more of the walks given in Station Walks.
I’d like to offer my congratulations to Dr. Clare Diaper for a superb book but would ask, next time, please make the font size bigger!
Note: Don’t miss Allison’s next post on Friday 2nd October 2015.
Visit Allison Symes’ website: Fairytales with Bite
Read blog posts by Allison Symes published on Chandler’s Ford Today.
Never miss out on another blog post. Subscribe here:
Subscribe to Blog via Email