Monday, 31 December 2018

The Test Way

Combe Gibbet

The Test Way is a 44 mile path which runs from Combe Gibbet near Inkpen to Eling at the top end of Southampton Water. An informative leaflet can be downloaded from the Hampshire CC website here.

We did the walk with our friends Viv and Giles and broke the walk into six sections of about 7 miles each.

1 Combe Gibbet to Hurstbourne Tarrant

2 Hurstbourne Tarrant to Longparish

3 Longparish to Stockbridge

4 Stockbridge to Awbridge

5 Awbridge to Lee

6 Lee to Eling

The strangest thing about the walk is that it takes quite a while before you actually encounter the River Test- not until well into the Longparish to Stockbridge leg - i.e. almost half way. And even after we had our first encounters with the river, a typical fast-flowing trout stream, it remained elusive. This of course is because the banks and fishing rights are almost entirely privately owned and therefore out of bounds.

We enjoyed walking and chatting with our friends, but the walk itself was pleasant enough, but never especially exciting, after the dramatic start. It probably didn't help that we had a long break between stages four and five because Viv had hurt her foot

This was my favourite image of the Test:

The tidal mill at Eling however was particularly interesting. It has been operational since at least the 15th century and continues in use today. The only other operating tide mill is in Woodbridge in Suffolk. There is another former mill, now the yacht club HQ, at Emsworth near Portsmouth - the end of the Wayfarer's Walk.

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