A Round Up of My Favourite Walks

Walk Wichester Hill

The fact that you have landed on our website probably means that you’re interested in escaping to the country for a bit, well you have the right place!

Walks in the South Downs
Photo Credit: Simon K Lewis Photography

I’ve grown up in and around this area so I do somewhat take the countryside for granted. Compiling a list of the places I’ve spent walking with the dog and/or kids has actually proved to be harder than I thought, I guess I just don’t think of going for walks as a formal thing, as it’s always just been on my doorstep.

There’s nothing like just opening the front door and exploring.  More often than not around our area, the walk with end up with a cold glass of grown up beverage in your hand and a few extra hours out than you may have originally planned; for me it’s certainly ended this way.

Walks Close By

History of The Meon Valley Railway Line

Meon Valley Trail

The Alton to Fareham railway line was closed in 1968, the 11 mile (non circular) remaining stretch between Wickham and West Meon provides a lovely traffic free walk, rich in countryside.

The trail had a £3.81 million face lift in 2015 making it dog, cycling and pushchair friendly, lovely and flat and in some parts a horse riding area.

Meon Valley Railway Line : Walk & Bike Trail

Choose to start your walk at either end of the line, or join somewhere in the middle!  

To pick the line up from Droxford walk down to St Marys, the village Church, and walking around to the left to pick up the River Meon. Once you’ve past by the mill house you’ll reach a little bridge (perfect for pooh sticks and a paddle) and you’re onto Mill lane, half way along this lane you’ll see a little single file track up a hill and at the top of this you’re on the trail (if you go too far on Mill Lane you’ll just come out to a road and have the old Hurdles pub in front of you).

Meon Valley Railway Line

Once at the top of this track, taking the path left takes you to Meonstoke and right takes you to Wickham. Either way you choose to take I think you’ll love this walk for the freedom it will give you without a car in sight, knowing you’ll end up at a pretty Hampshire village for an afternoon tea or pint!

Meon Valley Trail Leaflet


If you would like to learn more about the history of the Meon Valley Railway line click here

Railway Cycle Ride Trail


This video gives you a good idea about the accessibility and beauty of the Meon Valley Trail.  The ride goes beyond Droxford, to West Meon, but the beauty of the trail is that you can hop off into a village at any time.

Old Winchester Hill

If you want to get your heartbeat up a bit then Winchester Hill from Exton will certainly do that. You can choose to walk it or make it part of your crazy holiday exercise routine – the choice is yours!

Old Winchester Hill Weather

Old Winchester Hill is an historic location, at the summit of which is an Iron Age hill fort, to learn more about the history of the hillfort click here

From Droxford I would either suggest; 

  • continuing on from the above walk towards Meonstoke and Exton and the walk leads up to the Hill.
  • driving down to Exton, parking up at the carpark on the left and then crossing the road over to the sign for the South Downs Way.  

Just follow the track that takes you from this point slowly up to the top of the hill.  Dogs do need to be kept under control in this area due to grazing farm animals.


Dark Skies in the South Downs

In 2016 the South Downs National Park became the world’s newest International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR). As Old Winchester Hill is listed as one of the 7 darkest skies in the whole of the South Downs, another way to approach this this walk would be to take it at night and view the simply amazing stars (stargazing is best before a full moon) – remember to take a blanket, a hot flask of something, and to download a stargazing app.

Dark Night Skies leaflet

There is a lovely Dog Friendly pub in Exton called The Shoe Inn which was so named as it is on the site of the old cobblers, and has a gorgeous river side garden on a warm sunny day.

Wayfarers Walk - Droxford to Denmead

The entirety of the Wayfarers walk is 70 miles from Inkpen Beacon, right down to the sea at Emsworth – now, you can take that on – send us some pictures, but the beauty of the Wayfarers Walk is that you can pick it up at many points along this 70 miles, including Droxford.

Here’s a link for the map : Wayfarers Walk Droxford to Denmead

Walks A little Further Away

River Itchen & Water Meadows Winchester

From The Crest, take the Corhampton road to Winchester, turning left at the end onto the A31, at the roundabout take the 1st exit onto Bull Drove and continue straight onto Garnier Road.  There are a few free parking area’s along this road and you can access several tracks that follow alongside the river Itchen .

Photo Credit: Chris Wood River Itchen

If you’re in Winchester itself, from Winchester Cathedral walk down the right hand side and head across the stunning walled close at the back and under the arch towards College Street, then take a right down College Walk past Wolvesey Castle.

Turn right at the end of College Walk and follow the footpath sign. The water meadows start here, lush with vegetation and wildlife. River Itchen is on the left, follow the footpath along, the college playing fields will be on both sides, you’ll ultimately reach Garnier Rd at the end.  The path across the road leads you to Clarendon Way at the old mill, and then towards the architecturally attractive St Cross Hospital, with the river on your right. Carry on walking until you reach a meadow and the Hospital and Church of St Cross, whose medieval buildings and gardens are open to the public.  You can take a picnic and many folk splash round and swim in the river in the summer.

Royal Victoria Country Park

Victoria Country Park can be found just before the really lovely and well worth a visit, coastal village of Hamble. 

You can easily spend a good few hours at Victoria Country Park in its 200 acres set alongside the waters of the Solent.  Along with the Victorian military hospital, tea rooms and miniature narrow gauge railway, there are often events being held there (Music, Christmas markets etc). You can either choose to take up one of their guided walks or take stroll around the park though the woodlands and along the single beach.

Find out more about Vicky Park here

Royal Victoria Park

Hill Head and Titchfield Haven

Should you fancy a change from the lush green countryside surrounding The Crest, I would suggest heading 25 minutes down the A32 to Hill Head.  From Hill head you can walk right along the coast to the more tourist section of coast, Lee-On-Solent where you’ll find fish n’ chips, and a fun little parade of shops and cafes.

Hill Head is lower key and my favourite spot.  Just set back from the coast is a lovely (dog friendly) café called Breezes and in the other direction to Lee-On-Solent is a great flat walk right up to the Titchfield Haven Natural Reserve which covers 369 acres of the Meon Valley.  The reserve is a natural habitat of river, fen, pools, reedbed and meadow, giving protection to a range of special wildlife including Water Voles, birds, dragonflies and plants. Please note dogs are not allowed into the reserve.

This list is in no way complete but for now, it will give you an idea of what beautiful walks you have access to.

Not enough? An excellent website for finding numerous walks around our neck of the woods is National Trails or Hampshire Life Walks

BBC History in Winchester

Winchester Great Hall

BBC History in Winchester

May is here which is when tickets go on sale for the BBC History Magazine’s History Weekend at Winchester!  2020 sees the event running from the 6th to 8th November and is showcasing the ex-capital’s Anglo-Saxon and medieval history.

The venue this year will be Winchester Guildhall, a Grade II listed building, which is a great venue.  I would recommend using the park and ride facilities which run like clockwork.

While you’re in Winchester, make time to visit Winchester Great Hall, the stunning 13th-century building, which houses a famous replica of King Arthur’s round table.

With over 30 talks, interactive Q&As and book signings it’s sure to be a fascinating few days, so don’t delay – book your tickets this week!

BBC History Magazine

To book phone 0871 620 4021 or go to https://www.historyextra.com/events/

More Things To Do….

Horrible Histories® Pirates at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard!

The Horrible Histories® Pirates

The Horrible Histories® Pirates exhibition is firmly established at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard.

The Horrible Histories® Pirates exhibition is an interactive, hands-on family fun adventure which has come all the way from the Australian National Maritime Museum in Sydney, where it’s been receiving rave reviews!

Terry Deary, author and creator of Horrible Histories, says: “A Horrible Pirate experience, all the way from Aaarrrghstralia to Portsmouth, and aye can’t wait to sea it. So get your Long Johns ready. You’ll be hooked.”

Why not get yourself ready by learning all the words to Putrid Pirates Blackbeard’s song, you’ll be sure to frighten all the locals!?

The Horrible Histories® Pirates

So, are you ready to take command of a pirate ship, design your own pirate flag? Do you fancy your chances at trying out weilding a cutlasses or firing a cannon? Dare all and your fate find on the wheel of misfortune!

To book tickets visit Click here to purchase tickets

Launch Event at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

What's On
Need more ideas for your calendar?  Take a look 👀 at our What's on calendar.

Comic Con Portsmouth 2020

Comic Con Portsmouth 2020

Comic con returns for a 3rd year releasing details of a special focus on female comic characters including Wonder Woman, Black Widow, Captain Marvel, Supergirl, Catwoman, Storm, Gamora and Scarlet Witch.



Last year it cemented itself as the biggest Comic Con on the South Coast and this year it’s going far beyond that –

The sitemaps for Portsmouth Comic Con 2020 have been revealed, take a look!







To purchase tickets visit www.portsmouthcomiccon.com
Comic Con 2019

If you’re serious about comics, love Marvel films, Star Wars, cult series like Dr Who & Harry Potter or simply looking for a family fun day out – this is the event for you!  

Winchester Christmas Market & Ice Rink

Christmas Market

Christmas at the Cathedral

Saturday 17 November – Thursday 20 December 2018
Open from 10.30am – 6.30pm Sunday – Wednesday and 10.30am – 8.00pm Thursday – Saturday

Winchester Cathedral’s Christmas Market is recognised as one of the best Christmas Markets in Europe because of its unique location, high quality exhibitors and bustling atmosphere. Wonderful Christmas gifts, decorations and festive foods can be found in abundance, with a delightful Food Court, British Crafts Village, and over 100 chalets to explore.

Winchester is a must-visit destination for all those in search of an authentic Christmas experience. The Cathedral is at the heart of the festivities with its stunning Christmas Market and real Ice Rink. Our Traditional Christmas carol services and concerts fill the Cathedral with festive joy and thanksgiving.

For other Christmas Markets within Hampshire visit Hampshire Christmas Markets

Book The Crest for your Break Away!

Goodwoods Season Finale


Goodwood Events

Goodwood Festival of Speed

4th – 7th July 2019 to purchase tickets click here

Goodwood Revival

13th – 15th November 2019 to purchase tickets click here

Goodwood Finale

Mid October 2019 from 11:30am

Share in the celebrations as Goodwood says farewell to their season in true style at this traditional, rural-themed, end-of-year fixture. This is your final chance to experience racing at Goodwood in all its glory before the winter break at this Season Finale.
Toast marshmallows over the fire-pits, sample some of our fine Real-Ales and Beers and watch on as some thrilling racing unfolds on the track for one final time.

Goodwoods Season Finale has a relaxed, laid back feel with the atmosphere of a country-style meeting. Sample a variety of real ales and excellent craft beers including award-winning Goodwood ales. Hear from master brewer, Andy Hepworth and a fiddle-band plays merry tunes against a backdrop of roaring fire pits, hay bales and toasted marshmallows.

Marshmallows at Goodwood Finale

What Sunday meeting would be complete without hog roasts and traditional roast dinners?

To purchase your tickets visit : Goodwood Tickets

Wizard Weekend on The Watercress Line

Steam Trains

The Watercress Line Alresford: Saturday 27th – Sunday 28th October 2018

Dress up as a Halloween spook and take unlimited rides on the Wizard Express steam train in the Harry Potter style coaches, one of which featured in the films at the Wizard weekend on The Watercress Line.

All Halloween activities run from 11am – 4pm

Take a look here: Wizard Weekend Video

For some other ideas for things to do :

Beaulieu Supercar Weekend Aug 8 – 9 2020


Beaulieu Supercar Weekend

The must-see family spectacular at Beaulieu which brings some of the world’s most exclusive and desirable motors together is back for 2 consecutive days.

Over the weekend you will see displays of many prestigious supercars, hear and feel their distinctive engine notes as they unleash their horsepower on the demonstration run.

The Supercar Weekend is a draw for all supercar enthusiasts, providing an opportunity to get almost close enough to touch these impressive motors!

When: Sat Aug 8 – Sunday Aug 9th

Where :


Advanced: Adult £19.50 Child £9.50 Family £49.00

On The Day: Adult £24.75 Child £12.50 Family £64.00


You can see more photos of last year’s Beaulieu Supercar Weekend event right here:

Saturday photos – Sunday Supercar Weekend 2017 https://www.flickr.com/gp/beaulieu_hants/T3s574

Sunday photos – https://flic.kr/s/aHsm65mMAv

Can’t go this year? Why don’t you make a note of the date for 2021, it would make a terrific birthday present!


The Snail and The Whale at Theatre Royal Winchester

The Snail and The Whale

Check our this new video of The Snail and the Whale – showing this Sunday & Monday (10th & 11th June) at Theatre Royal Winchester.

Join the adventure THIS SUNDAY and MONDAY!

To purchase tickets visit https://www.theatreroyalwinchester.co.uk/the-snail-and-the-whale/

“An exquisite piece of theatre”
The Stage

“Faultless family fare… One of the best examples of children’s theatre”
Whatsonstage.com ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Recommended Age: 4+
Running Time: 55 minutes, no interval

February 1/2 Term at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Exploring Hampshire

Portsmouth Historic Dockyard is putting on some fun activities this February 1/2 Term, which also coincides with Valentines DayHeart  on Wednesday.

From Lego building to scrapheap submarine making, there’s sure to be something for everyone  at this fantastic full day out in Portsmouth.

As an added bonus, should you purchase an annual pass during your visit, you will receive 20% off the normal annual ticket price!

Visit this link to view the full description of events : 10 Activities at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

Read more about planning a day out at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard & other great local attractions on our blog page here.


Calling all Cricket Lovers – 2019 Cricket World Cup!


Cricket – The Rose Bowl (or Agnes Bowl)

With the grass growing at a phenomenal speed, blossom popping out on the trees and hedges and the hint of sunshine here and there; Summer is finally coming into sight in the South Downs.

If you’re an avid cricket fan and want to get a fix while you’re down South visiting, and fancy a day out with a picnic and good company with something happening in the background, why not take a look at the fixture listing at our local big cricket stadium The Agnes Bowl.  This year it is honoured to host part of the Cricket World Cup!

Rose Bowl

The Hampshire Bowl will host ICC Cricket World Cup fixtures for the first time in 2019, with five matches taking place at the venue. 

In the past, the ground has held some fabulous international cricket matches, including one day internationals.  In addition there have been Two Twenty20 Internationals, as well as matches from the 2011 and 2014 Test with England playing Sri Lanka and India respectively.


Take a look at what’s on this year, whoever is playing it’s bound to be an exciting day out:

The Ageas Bowl cricket fixtures

Cricket Ball
Cricket World Cup
Enjoy your time planning your fun day out!

Christmas Show at Winchester Discover Centre (Library)

Christmas Show

Saturday 16 December – Sunday 24 December

Christmas Show : Lily and the little Snow Bear

£8 each or 4 for £28

Ho ho ho! Winchester Discovery Centres much anticipated Christmas show is back for 2017! This year they’ve got a magical tale of friendship, with exquisite puppets and enchanting music in a magical snowy setting. Little people aged 3 + will love this beautiful new show, but their grownups will have lots of fun too.

Tickets are now available on the WDC Website or by calling their box office on 01962 873603.


Carfest South 2020


Did you go along to Carfest 2019, wasn’t it epic!? We went along for just the Saturday this year but are sorely tempted to make it a 2 day outing next year.

The annual motor and music festival, has announced their 2020 dates with tickets going on sale Wednesday 20th November at 8am, making this their 9th year.  The tickets go on sale for just 24 hours, which adds to the excitement leading up to this “UK’s best family festival of the Summer”.


This popular festival will be running from Friday 28th to Sunday 30th August 2020 and is held in the vast and beautiful setting of Laverstoke Park Farm. The Farm is owned and run by ex-racing driver and Formula One World Champion Jody Scheckter and the Festival is the brain child of Chris Evans to benefit Children In Need.

2019 saw the successful introduction of 4 new worlds;

  • Kids Kingdom – where the kids rule
  • Eden – where you can look after yourself, others & the planet
  • Vintage – nostalgia area
  • Food…..speaks for itself!

Tickets start at £16 child and £67 Adult (under 6 go free) for the 1 day entry and £38/140 for 3 day entry.  Overnight camping options are also available – please note that dogs are not permitted unless a registered guide dog.  All profits from CarFest, including a guaranteed 25% of the sale of each ticket, will be donated to UK Children’s Charities.


The 2017 music lineup included The Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Seasick Steve, Sophie Ellis Bextor, Tom Odell, Busted & Rick Astley.  The 2018 dates included Texas, Alfie Bow & Michael Ball, The Feeling, Status Quo & Jools Holland amongst others.

2019 was an epic year; Beverly Knight, The Jacksons, Tony Christie, Judge Jules, Jules Holland, Texas, Tom Odell, The Human League & Kaiser Chiefs.

Here’s a brief video to give you an idea of what the event is all about:


Did I hear you say food?  The food element is quite something in itself with high quality stands, cookery demonstrations from the likes of James Martin, Nadiya Hussain and Adul Kochlar, and workshops by Laverstoke Park Farm.  Not to be forgotten is the booze, with expert sommelier Olly Smith making an appearance.

Not into great food and music?  Well there maybe something for you…..the car element of CARfest weekend. The Hill Climb Track Show, Car Club displays, Vintage Village, and the Sporting Bears Dream Rides should provide you with enough to keep you busy.

But where do I sleep? Located just outside the village of Overton, the festival is roughly 45 minutes away from The Crest; so why not add a little luxury to the festival weekend and come back to a stunning comfortable home after your full day out?

Here’s to Summer 2020!  Jo

Poppies: Wave Coming to Fort Nelson in 2018!

Poppies: Wave

Poppies: Wave Coming to Fort Nelson

Well I personally think this is very exciting news!

Poppies: Wave is from the installation ‘Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red’ – the poppies and original concept is by artist Paul Cummins and the installation us designed by Tom Piper – by Paul Cummins Ceramics Limited in conjunction with Historic Royal Palaces, originally at HM Tower of London 2014.

Poppy Wave 2The installation at Fort Nelson will be open to the public from Friday 13 April until Sunday 24 June 2018 and admission will be free.

It truly is a magnificent sight seeing all of the poppies cascading from an historic structure and we are both privileged and lucky to have it so close to The Crest.

Here’s a quick video to get you inspired to take a trip to visit:

More detailed information about the background to the installation can be found here Wikipedia Information on Poppy Wave and to learn more about Fort Nelson here The Crest Top 10 List

It will certainly be in our list of days out when we are back home in June, I can’t wait!

PS: Did you know that Fort Nelson has interactive story telling every third Wednesday of the month for under-5s at no charge? Each 40 minute session includes stories and toys to engage your little ones.  Next sessions: 21 February, 21 March and 18 April



Chesapeake Mill – A Treasure Trove

Chesapeake Mill

Chesapeake Mill

Chesapeake Mill is quite literally a treasure trove, found in the neighbouring Chesapeake Millvillage of Wickham a cute village set around a traditional square of little shops and cafes.

Inside the old mill you will find a myriad of interesting items ranging from;

  • vintage furniture (large and small), jewellery and ornaments
  • soft furnishing
  • newly made handmade gifts

Several pieces of the pine bedroom furniture at The Crest came directly from the Mill, and I always squeeze in a visit when back ‘home’!

The Grade II listed building itself is of interest, previously a mill, and constructed in 1820 using the timbers of HMS Chesapeake, it’s well worth a visit.

“A veritable feast of all kinds of enticing bits and bobs and reasonably priced furniture.”

Once you’ve finished your vegan latte from the café inside head further into Wickham to ‘the lanes’ for more bargain hunting! (and cake)!

To read more visit Our top 10 List

Have a wonderful time mooching around the Mill!


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