Southeast Hampshire Loop
A South East Hampshire bikepacking route taking in part of the South Downs, Shipwrights Way, and the Solent Way
We rode this route for our February Bivvy a Month. Beginning in Netley, taking in an overnight on Old Winchester Hill, one of the South Downs National Park’s seven stargazing hotspots. Designated as an International Dark Sky Reserve (IDSR) in May 2016, the park’s Dark Skies Festival runs from Friday 10 Feb – Sunday 26 February 2017.
113 km / 70 miles with 2790 feet / 850m of climbing.
We started from our home near Netley and rode through wet and muddy Whiteley Woods before joining the Meon Valley Rail Trail. We pedalled into Exton so we could replenish our water bottles at the recently refurbished Shoe Inn, then took an alternative track up onto the South Downs as the signposted route was a mud bath.
At Queen Elizabeth II Park, we had second breakfast, then turned off the South Downs Way onto the Shipwright’s Way. This led south towards Havant, then along the causeway to Hayling Island where we joined the Billy Trail. Next we boarded the Hayling ferry taking us across Langstone harbour to Portsmouth where we took another ferry to Gosport. After that, we followed the NCN2 as far as Warsash. We were too late (after 4pm) to catch the Pink Ferry to Hamble, so took the longer more scenic route along the river Hamble and then home.
The prevailing wind in SW, so take note of the weather forecast as the ride along the coast can be tougher than the flat terrain might suggest.
You can read the trip report in my WHAM BAM series. This was WHAM BAM February.
What maps do I need to cycle in south east Hampshire?
You’ll need OS map 119 Fareham and OS 120 for complete coverage, although 119 covers the majority of the route. Or simply download the route below and upload to your GPS.
Most of the route is a ridden as a loop so can be started in many places along the way. We cycled about 20 miles /32 km from Netley to Old Winchester Hill in the South Downs National Park for a wild camp, then rode 50 miles /80km home the following day.
We used two ferries, though the plan was to use three.
Hayling Island to Eastney Beach, Portsmouth, across the mouth of Langstone Harbour.
Once an hour on the half hour unless it’s full in which case it will leave earlier.
£5.50 return each including bike. Single fares unavailable.
Portsmouth to Gosport
£4.60 return each including bike. Single fares unavailable.
Pink Ferry Warsash to Hamble
On demand. Stand and wait on the pier or on the water’s edge if the tide is low. Last ferry at 4pm.
£1.75 for adult and bike each way.
What equipment do we use?
Our bikepacking kit list is available for you to download and keep here.
If you’d like to look at some other routes we’ve taken, then take a peek at routes, trails and tracks. They’re all downloadable.
A guide to wild/stealth camping can be found here.