Sopley is a charming village with a mill that is now a restaurant. Close by on a mound is the 13th century church of St Michael and All Saints which has a fascinating oak beam interior. The Path passes the 17th century Woolpack Inn and enters Sopley Park by North Lodge and the old well.
Continue on, crossing the fields to Staple Cross, and once past The Lamb Inn, follow the stream to Burton through a housing estate to the B3347. After this, the route returns to the calm of the water meadows, home to numerous water birds. Look across the valley for views of St Catherine’s Hill and its Bronze Age barrows.
The Path crosses the river at the weir by the Water Works, passes under the railway line, and turns right to a row of cottages. At the end of this row it continues to the High Street with the Priory directly ahead. The Path ends at this splendid medieval monastic priory, built in 1094. Christchurch is a historic town with a strong smuggling history and many places of interest to explore, including Place Mill and Constable’s House. Why not enjoy a picturesque walk by the river or even take a boat trip using the network of ferries. Take a break in one of the cafés, restaurants and pubs, or browse in the shops before finishing with a walk to the nearby harbour.
Distance: 3½ miles, 2-2½ hours Large map
Christchurch Tourist Information Centre tel 01202 471780
Refreshments (small selection)
The Fisherman’s Haunt, Winkton tel 01202 477283
The Woolpack Inn tel 01425 672252
Places of Interest
Priory Church tel 01202 485 804
Red House Museum and Gardens tel 01202 482 860