The 60 mile Solent Way starts at Milford on Sea and stretches as far east as Emsworth. It covers most of the coast of Hampshire. We had already walked the South West Coast Path, the Bournemouth Way and the Wayfarers Walk (from Inkpen to Emsworth) and this extends the total continuous distance walked to 787 miles. The next step will be to walk from home (Newbury) to Inkpen - then we will be able to say that we have walked from Newbury to Minehead.
The route divides into three distinct sections, although shoreline birds are in evidence along much of the way. The first is from Milford to Hythe via Buckler's Hard and Beaulieu. This is more rural much than the rest and brought us to the first of several river crossings (in fact we carefully avoided having to be ferried across, instead using them as start or finish points. Here is the astonishing pier at Hythe.
The second section covered Southampton and Portsmouth - two of Hampshire's three cities (the other is Winchester). The feel here was urban or suburban on shore with the Solent and the Isle of Wight dominant influences to our right. The biggest surprises were the ruins of Netley Abbey and the chapel of the Royal Victoria Hospital (the only remaining part)
Gosport and Portsmouth were especially interesting for their military history, of which there were constant reminders. Out eye was caught by HMS Warrior ...
... and the world's last Hovercraft.
The final section ran from Southsea to Enborne, around Langstone Harbour. This was perhaps the least rewarding although there is a great pub at Langstone and a lovely wildlife reserve for birders at Farlington Marshes.
1 Milford on Sea to Lymington
2 Lymington to Buckler's Hard
3 Buckler's Hard to Hythe
4 Southampton to Hamble-le-Rice
5 Warsash to Lee-on-the-Solent
6 Lee-on-the-Solent to Gosport
7 Portsmouth to Farlington Marshes
8 Farlington Marshes to Emsworth