Home General info FAQ SDW SECTIONS 1. Winchester 1 / 2 Meon Valley 2. Warnford 3. QEP 4. Harting 5. Cocking 6. Bignor 7. Amberley 8. Washington 9. Devils Dyke 10. Southease Westwards Water Taps Profile All Where to stay Food, equipment Visitors Rides Video SDW Panorama photos Aerial photo map Distances SDW Double Alternative routes Circular rides Links Things of Interest Updates Contact me


1. Winchester A31 to Exton A32
Approx. 11 1/2 miles, climb on tarmac, good gravel & grass tracks, short stretch of tarmac, descent through village to A32.

Link to elevation profile of section


I have had several queries re parking problems; following is advice from Winchester Council.

"Thank you for your query regarding long term parking in Winchester close to the South Downs Way. Although our long stay pay and display car parks are a maximum stay of 24 hours, we can make an exceptions providing we are made aware of the vehicle registration number, colour and make, and which car park you will be used so we can pass the details onto the Enforcement Team so they are aware there will be a vehicle parked for longer than 24 hours. The best car park to use for people participating in the South Downs Way is Chesil Street multi storey car park, which is the closest.
I would recommend that when parking in this way, payment is made using the Pay by Phone system. You can register online at www.paybyphone.co.uk or by phoning 01962 433433 and following the instructions. This system allows you to park for more than 24 hours and you can also renew your parking should you need to."

Where does SDW start ? (See 'General info' page) Officially at the Old Mill or King Alfred statue in Winchester. Going out of Winchester, there is a footbridge from Winchester across M3 & A31, then use footpath beside A31, as map below,

www.local.live.co.uk has excellent bird's eye view aerial photo to help.

Aug 2010: Thanks to Martin for the following:  all been signposted out as a bridleway route and it connects to the path along the A31. link to Sustrans map http://www.sustrans.org.uk/map?searchKey=winchester&searchType=search&Search=Find

Does anyone have photos of new route?

The SDW goes along the footpath on the southern side of and next to the A31. There is a small grass verge to keep away from the road. This path can be quite overgrown in summer.

The walkers path does not go along here, but meets up at Chilcomb.

About 0.5 mile, turn right into the small road to Chilcomb. Bear left through the village. The SDW then climbs up the hill on a tarmac lane. At the top, (Little Golders) there is a left turn where the surface changes to compacted stone / gravel. There is a short length of grass / earth track. After going through a small group of trees, (lots of tree roots), after a 100 yds, 90' left turn to cross A272. Take care crossing!

Cheesefoot Head

The SDW is opposite, but care as path drops off edge of tarmac and then at gate. ( Cheesefoot Head car park is just to the right).

The path is a narrow single path, earth, brambles .

Thumbnail of view northwards towards Beacon Hill nr. Newbury

images/Cheesefoot 013a.jpg (231408 bytes)

Panorama 360' thumbnail (several photos joined together) ; evening so distant horizon is hazy.

images/Stitched_003aANOT.JPG (220194 bytes)

then edge of beech wood, (see trees in PHOTO above) earth though also some tree roots; can take quite fast emerge onto rough loose stone track. Slight down gradient so can be quite fast provide eyes wide open! This carries on for a few hundred yards into edge of small wood. Cottage on right. Then TURN(0.9 mile from road crossing) (PHOTO below) as track comes out of trees; on my BHF rides, many people rode straight on here!


 Photo showing where to turn right !

The SDW is then a wide flint gravel track. To the left there is a place where you can drive tanks etc.

Track gradual undulating. Reasonable surface. Short length of grass earth [below], can take quite fast.

Gates to cross Rodfield Lane. SDW continues across Gander Down, a quite peaceful open area, often buzzards, on fairly hard gravel, past a barn [below left].

Quite a good fast gentle descent to a gate. There are usually cows in the field, but I have always found them uninterested (or disinterested!) in my passing, even when quite close.

Full size thumbnails below without annotations

 images/ganderDown 012a.jpg (292309 bytes) images/ganderDown 008a.jpg (322789 bytes)

After going across their field, there is another gate [below].

Just after the gate, there is a sign to allow walkers to take a short cut across field, though it is NOT a 'right of way.'. On bike, ride straight on up a small rutted flint grass track (to the left of the small trees in photo).

Go nearly to the corner of the field There is a gate (yellow circle in photo below) straight ahead to a copse, but there is a gate straight ahead to a copse, but NOT SDW ; it leads to Cheriton (see page 'routes based on sdw')

(in photo below, SDW comes from mid left, do 90' turn towards camera; gate to Cheriton in middle)

so do right dog-leg sharp turn across the grass to the gate which leads to the A272. 

This section of A272 is a mile straight, so cars travel quite fast, so TAKE CARE crossing!

A272 crossing

A short section of tarmac as SDW passes through Holden Farm; there are some small speed bumps.
SDW follows Holden Lane for about 0.9 mile; if wet, then there can be quite a few big puddles, otherwise, a reasonable earthy surface, but slippery if wet.
Turns to gravel for last 100 yards [below] before tarmac lane leading towards Milberry Pub [below]. (It has very deep well in the bar).

Turn left at the crossroads just past the pub.

images/Milberry 007a.jpg (286442 bytes)

There is then 3/4 mile of tarmac road (good views north towards Beacon Hill south of Newbury).

Strictly, SDW is on a earth track to the left; it has lots of tree roots, so I am sure no one will mind if you miss this 300 yards or so!
Any piece of tarmac on the SDW ride is not to be turned down lightly!! Respite from the continual bumps, stones and flints etc!
If you do want to ride this short part, then it forms on the left shortly after a lane bearing off to the left to Kilmeston.



Turn off the road through gate on the right handside at Wind farm (name of farm, not a wind farm !)

From Wind farm to Beacon Hill, the SDW is hard gravel track .If it has been raining then there are often lots of puddles, almost one after the other. On a sunny day, it is a very pleasant stretch, though bumpy! Possibly see the Isle of Wight?

Pass through Lomer Farm.


Beacon Hill

NB: SDW ROUTE CHANGE The following via Warnford is no longer official route. However, see my comment

See link for new route to Old Winchester Hill.

COMMENT:I think that I prefer the old route, easier, quicker, though more tarmac, so have left here in case you want to still use.

The SDW here is really joined up paths, so don't think really matters which way.


Link to my new Meon Valley page


Join the tarmac road for 100 yards towards Beacon Hill. 

 SUPERSEDED: Now straight on

 SUPERSEDED: Straight on now


horizontal rule

This is a narrow flinty path for 200 yards, emerging out of woods to a field; It is now down hill to the A32. The first part is narrow tyre tracks, [below] SDW is track going off to left of photo.

(There are often highland cattle in the field on the right, and good view of Old Winchester Hill, in the distant towards right), then at gate, grass field; the SDW follows edge of field curving round to the left with adverse camber so take care if wet, otherwise quite fast, if no sheep!


Full size thumbnail without annotations.

images/Milberry 014a.jpg (317704 bytes)

But take care, as 90' right turn onto loose stone and gate, then steepish descent on loose stone, adverse camber, through farm to Wheely Down Farm.

Photo below is turning from field onto track


About 6inches wide, so I think safe to cross provided straight or right to left !!! ANY COMMENTS ?


Then turn right onto tarmac road for 1/2 mile to A32.


After turn left onto A32, bear left down tarmac lane after perhaps only 50yards, (new fingerpost); then after 100 (?) yds, turn right, then at 75 yards A32. Hayden lane is now opposite.

I think this is a safer option for crossing A32.

Turn left along A32 for 200 yards, then opposite 'George & Falcon' pub, turn right up Hayden Lane. TAKE CARE crossing over as slight bend.

There are also some photos on the going 'Westwards' page

Next page: Section 2 Warnford A32 to QEP