Three Castles Path
Total distance covered; 62 miles (100kms)
5 days walking, based in Windsor
The Three Castles Path is route of 60 miles (96kms) inspired by the well-documented journeys of King John, between the castles at Windsor, Odiham and Winchester, during the 13th century. A more or less straight line between the three castles, with Odiham as the mid-point, takes in some delightful and unfrequented parts of rural Berkshire and Hampshire, in parts little changed over the intervening centuries.
The route sets out from the city of Winchester, with its fine cathedral, through the water meadows of the River Itchen, and into a landscape of gently rolling hills, fields of crops, small copses of woodland, livestock pasture, mixed hedgerows and and attractive streams. Further east the route follows a section of the quiet Basingstoke Canal before heading over Hazeley Heath and through the Moor Green Lake Nature Reserve. A walk through Swinley Park to Ascot and Windsor Great Park leads to Snow Hill for a final walk along The Long Walk to Windsor.
Highlights of the route include the Great Hall in Winchester, the only surviving part of the Norman castle, which houses Arthur's Round Table; the pastoral tranquility of the River Itchen; the abundance of wildlife amongst the reeds of the Moor Green Lake Nature Reserve, the River Itchen, and along the margins of the Basingstoke Canal; the delightful villages of Easton, Martyr Worthy, Upper Wield and Greywell, with their thatched, brick and flint, half-timbered cottages attractive churches and welcoming pubs; the ruins of Odiham Castle; Snow Hill, with its Copper Horse, a massive statue depicting George III, who made significant contributions to the landscaping of Windsor Great Park, on horseback and in the style of Marcus Aurelius; and the splendid views to Windsor Castle on the approach to the town along The Long Walk. A fitting end to the three Castles Path.
Day 1: Winchester to Bugmore Hill 13 miles (21kms)
Day 2: Bugmore Hill to Tunworth 12 miles (19kms)
Day 3: Tunworth to Hazeley Heath 13 miles (21kms)
Day 4: Hazeley Heath to Swinley Park 13 miles (21kms)
Day 5: Swinley Park to Winchester 11 miles (18kms)
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