Itchen Navigation: Access to the Navigation

At a total distance of about 11 miles between Woodmill and Winchester, the Itchen Navigation can be walked from end to end in a day by anyone reasonably fit. Alternatively the walk can be split into shorter sections. See Physical Details page for a distance table. The recommended access points are Woodmill, Bishopstoke, Shawford, Tun Bridge and Blackbridge Wharf, Winchester. There are free car parks next to the Navigation at Woodmill, at Shawford Down (about 250 yards from Shawford Bridge) and adjoining the waterway at Tun Bridge. A charge has recently been introduced at the car park next to the Navigation at Bishopstoke although the first three hours are free. There is ample car parking in Winchester. In addition, it is possible to park a car in the vicinity of the White Swan at Mansbridge on the remains of the old road next to the river.

Navigation north of Compton Lock

Now designated part of the Itchen Way (running from Woolston to Cheriton), much of the path that follows the Navigation is not in the best of repair although passable. Parts of the path are eroded and, as it was originally built out of chalk rubble, the path can be quite slippery in all but the driest weather. It is advisable that suitable footwear is worn. Wheelchair access is really only possible between Woodmill and the Mansbridge area, but the determined might gain access to short lengths at Bishopstoke, south of Shawford Bridge and in the area of Tun Bridge.

Using public transport it is fairly easy to make a one way walk into a round trip. The Winchester to Southampton railway line parallels the waterway and the train is a convenient way to do this. Swaythling station is about half a mile north of Woodmill, Eastleigh station is quarter of a mile west of Stoke Bridge, Bishopstoke. Shawford station is less than a hundred yards from the Navigation. Winchester station is the most inconvenient at about a mile west from Blackbridge Wharf. Trains usually run at hourly intervals between these stations. More details from National Rail Enquiries on 0845 6000 650 (calls charged at local rate) or rail timetables on the web.

Buses also run between Winchester, Eastleigh and Southampton. Details from Bluestar or by telephone on 01923 827005.

There are public houses close to the Navigation at Mansbridge, Bishopstoke, Ham Bridge near Allbrook, Shawford and Wharf Hill, Winchester (the Victoria at Allbrook is now closed).

The majority of the Navigation is in water and the public right of navigation has not been legally extinguished. However, access by boat is normally prevented by riparian landowners and fishing interests - sometimes forcefully. It is possible to launch and use a small boat over the bank at Woodmill (there is no slipway). About three quarters of a mile of river can be used through Mans Bridge and on to the entrance to Gaters Mill. Please note that the current through the single arch of the old Mans Bridge can be very strong and difficult to navigate.

Send your comments to the Southampton Canal Society Web Site manager (Peter Oates).

Text © Southampton Canal Society 1999 - 2010.
Pictures © Peter Oates 2003. Pictures on or accessed through this page may not be reproduced without the express permission of the Web Site manager.

Page created 6 February 1999 - new layout 26 January 2010 - content updated 26 January 2010.

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