by Katie Isham.
Join our travel writer on her close to home expeditions.
I don’t know about you, but I get a little antsy if I haven’t visited some type of shoreline for a while. So it was time to dip into the joys the Southampton Water can offer – although I draw the line at dipping into the actual sea. August is clearly no time for such heroics.
Being on holiday, it was time to stretch my mild adventurousness and venture a little further afield. A short drive east from Southampton brings you to Warsash and many walks and intriguing places to visit. On this occasion I opted for a leisurely coastal stroll.
After parking in the free car park (always a great draw for my miserly nature), we edged past the excitingly designed Harbour Master’s office that looks like a giant mint humbug and through the harbour area where activity revolves around the pub.
With social distancing easing and The Rising Sun having an outdoor area that lends itself to fresh air frolicking, it seemed as if the building had spewed forth a chain of people with glasses in hand. They were on benches, sprawled on the harbour walls and milling about down the slipway. I liked the idea of a swift orange juice and lemonade with a packet of ready salted chaser, but it seemed prudent to work up a thirst first and treat myself en route back, by which time, I hoped the crowds would have thinned out. On a late summer’s evening everyone was trying to catch the last vestiges of sunshine, so I can’t say I blamed anyone for our shared presence by the shore.
The Solent Way footpath skims the water’s edge, so we joined it to walk south, away from the village. The path is flanked by Strawberry Fields on one side and a bushy bank littered with rope swings over the incoming tide on the other. The Maritime Academy gives you a glimpse into action on the seas as does a glance across the water to Hamble on the opposite shore.
Past the spit pointing back towards Warsash, things get a little more peaceful as the walk takes you along the edge of the local nature reserve. I chose to forgo the inland trek for my beloved seascape. My motto should be “Life is better by the sea.” Even if that sea is a busy shipping lane with views across to a crumbling relic of engineering history. Especially so.
Looking across Southampton Water to the defunct Fawley Power Station is fascinating. Every time you visit, you can try to work out what has been taken away, like an industrial scale version of Kim’s Game. The towers and tanks stand like stubborn soldiers, black against the burning skyline of a late summer sunset.
Sat amongst the sea kale on the bank of shingle and scrubland, it was a fantastic place to watch the day depart. I recommend watching the sky’s colours dance as they dip over Southampton, but don’t wait until it gets too dark to retread your steps along the sea path. Try not to slip down the bank by the fields because there’ll be a pint and a space on the wall with your name on when your mild adventure is done.
Cost: Free for the walk. Free parking at Shore Road Car Park and Passage Lane Car Park. Possible expenses accrued by a visit to the pub.
Accessibility: Gravel tracks along the shore. Can get quite narrow in some places.
Facilities: Public toilets at Passage Lane Car Park. The Rising Sun pub is open at the edge of the harbour. See link for details.
To read more of Katie’s Suburban Safari adventures, click here.