Walking Hampshire's Test Way

The long-distance trail and 15 day walks

By Malcolm Leatherdale

Guidebook to walking the 71km (44 mile) Test Way in Hampshire from high on the chalk downs of Inkpen Beacon to the Eling Tide Mill near Southampton Water. Following the beautiful, crystal clear River Test, it passes picturesque villages and fascinating historic sites. Also includes 15 day walks to explore this lovely part of pastoral England.


All year


Beginning at Inkpen Beacon, the Test Way passes close to or through St Mary Bourne, Whitchurch, Stockbridge, King's Somborne, Broughton, Mottisfont, Romsey and ends at Eling Totton.


All abilities are catered for. Several of the walks and the first half of the Test Way are perhaps more of a challenge. The second half is fairly flat as are the majority of the walks. No special equipment required.

Must See

Inkpen Beacon; Whitchurch Silk Mill; Chilbolton Common; Longstock Park Water Garden; Danebury Iron Age hill fort; Stockbridge Down; Mottisfont Abbey; Romsey Abbey, Romsey Signal Box - restored - formerly part of the dismantled 'Sprat and Winkle' railway; Broadlands House Romsey; Lower Test Nature Reserve; Eling Tide Mill Totton
12 Jul 2018
5 Aug 2021
17.20 x 11.60 x 1.00cm

Guidebook to walking Hampshire's Test Way, a 44 mile (71km) route from Inkpen Beacon to the Eling Tide Mill near Southampton Water. The walk, which is described over eight stages, takes in many of the region's natural, historical and architectural delights, from the ever famous 'Sprat and Winkle' railway to the River Test itself - a stunning example of the exceedingly rare chalk stream.

Each stage (they range in length from 3 to 8.5 miles) is described clearly and concisely, and is accompanied by 1:50,000 OS mapping. Worth its weight in your backpack, the guide also includes information on the history, geology and landscape of the Test Valley, as well as practical information on accommodation and transport. Additionally, it describes 15 circular walks in the Test Valley, which vary in length from 3.75 miles (6km) to 8.5 miles (13.75km).

The Test Way passes through areas of intriguing history and remarkable natural beauty. There are sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) as well as Iron Age hill forts, medieval churches, age old abbeys, relics from a long passed railway era and quaint villages brimming with thatch and flint and individual 'hostelries' to match. It is a walk well suited to history and geology enthusiasts, and certainly a must for anyone interested in the iconic Sprat and Winkle railway.

Table of Contents

Malcolm Leatherdale

Malcolm Leatherdale has a particular interest in walking and exploring his native Hampshire. He has lived for the past 15 years a stone’s throw away from the River Test and the Test Way. Malcolm is an active cyclist and also a former marathon runner having competed several times in the London Marathon. He has written several books and a number of articles.  

Malcolm is also a member of The Ramblers and it is his passion for walking and being in the ‘great outdoors’ that has prompted this guidebook. His hope is that it will encourage others of all ages and abilities to experience the delights that come from walking generally and the Test Way and the wider Test Valley in particular.

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