Test Way

This page describes the Test Way.

The Test Way follows much of the lower course of the River Test. The test enters Southampton Water near the start of the the route. The route is mostly northerly and finally ends at Inkpen overlooking the Kennet Valley and Berkshire.

River Test: - near King’s Somborne; also the junction of the Test Way and the Clarendon Way/Monarch’s Way.

Description of the path

The Test Way largely follows the River Test - one of the major chalk streams of southern England, often glassy clear and where in the lower reaches fat trout play.

At Longparish the Test heads off east to its source just east of Overton and the path turns north to the "Hampshire highlands". Though the mid 19thC Ordnance Survey maps show the name “River Test” running north up the Bourne valley through Hurstbourne Tarrant

The geology affects the landscape all the way from recent sandy gravel deposits of the New Forest in the south to the chalk country north of Romsey.

The geology in turn has influenced human intervention and therefore historical developments in this landscape.

Many of the places can trace origins back a thousand years or more in the Test Valley and ancient ways such as the Portway [Roman Road] are crossed.

Passage places south to north are: Eling, Totton, Nursling, Romsey, Mottisfont, Horsebridge, Stockbridge, Leckford, Chilbolton, Wherwell, Middleton[Longparish], Harewood Forest, St Mary Bourne, Hurstbourne Tarrant, Linkenholt and Inkpen.

Test Way Stats

1. Overall

Topic Info comment
Terminus Eling Wharf Eling, Southampton Water
Terminus Inkpen
Total Distance 75.2 km
Lowest point Eling Wharf 0m [amsl]
Highest point Inkpen 285m [amsl]

2. Stages Completed

The stages below are ordered south to north (at the top). The distance is taken from gps track data.

Stage Distance Terrain
Grim's Ditch - Inkpen Hill 8.0 km hilly
St Mary Bourne - Grim's Ditch 9.8 km moderate
Middleton - St Mary Bourne 9.4 km moderate
Wherwell - Middleton 7.7 km moderate
Stockbridge - Wherwell 7.1 km flat
Horsebridge - Stockbridge 4.9 km flat
Mottisfont - Horsebridge 5.0 km flat
Romsey - Mottisfont 8.8 km flat
Totton - Romsey 11.8 km moderate
Eling Wharf - Totton 2.7 km flat

3. Percent and total distance walked to date

Completed % Who Distance Year Notes
100% completed KM, HM 75.2 km 2006-2013 both directions

Points of Interest

Eling Tide Mill Eling Tide Mill: - one of only two remaining and fully operational tide mills in England.
Romsey Abbey Romsey Abbey: - the largest town on the route.
Wherwell Wherwell: - a nunnery was built established here in the 10thC by Elfrida in remorse following several murders that left her husband and stepson dead and where her own son subsequently became king: Ethelred.
St Mary Bourne St Mary Bourne: - a pretty village upstream from a watercress farm.
Inkpen Hill & Combe Gibbet Inkpen Hill: - the northerly point of the Test Way, overlooking the Kennet valley between Hungerford and Newbury. It is also the start of the Wayfarer's Walk that travels south east and terminates in Emsworth.

Getting there - access

In the south Totton and Romsey are connected by rail or bus and these can be used to wlak in one direction.

Parts of the path in the extreme northern area are quite remote and are not well served by public transport and a car is essential.

For the majority of the walk the stages were completed in short sections by taking the car and walking “out and back” - hence the short stage lengths above.



Start: 08 October 2006
End: 29 March 2013

References & Links:

Date Reference or link
20141208 Test Way [wikipedia]
20141208 Test Way [Hampshire Co Co]
20141208 Test Way leaflet [Hampshire Co Co]
20141208 LDWA Association

Updated KJM 08 December 2014