Starting from St Andrew’s Church at Tichborne, take the path at the top of the car park to your right; at the end of this path turn left. Continue along the Kings Way to Trodds’ Copse, turn right along the Itchen Way down to the road. At the road turn left, follow the road under the A31 to the bridleway on the left marked St Swithun’s Way. There is a slight incline uphill to the main road. At the road, take care when crossing over to East Lane.
Continue down the lane with excellent views across the River Itchen on your right. Just before the public house turn right over the River Itchen and then left. Continue for one quarter of a mile – a variety of water fowl can be seen here.
At the next footbridge, turn right and follow the track northwards to the main road. On the opposite side of the road you can see St Mary’s Church Itchen Stoke. At the road turn left after 250 yards, turn left again, at Rivers Keep. Follow the path over the footbridge and after 200 yards cross another footbridge, over the River Itchen.
Continue southwards until you reach a stile on the right marked with The Itchen Way, cross stile and follow the path over fields to Yavington Mead. From here the route follows the road (Lovington Lane), passing Park House Farm. You will find a Reed Warbler colony in the reedbeds. Continue along the lane until you reach the golf course on the right. Turn right passing Avington Park on your left; enjoy the view across the lake. Continue along the lane for a further 300 yards to St John’s Church, turn right at the church along the track following the St Swithun’s Way.
Half way along this section, just to the south of the path, is the site of Sir Edward Grey’s Cottage which can be visited. Return to the path and continue on until you reach Chill, turn left at the lane and rejoin the path taking a sharp right following the St Swithun’s Way/Itchen Way waymarks. Continue along this grass path to St Swithun’s Church at Martyr Worthy. (Turn right heading northwards to the B3047 should you wish to take a bus back to the start of the route). Turn left at the lane and over the bridge. Continue on over a further small bridge, and follow the path across the field bearing right to a gate, at the road turn right and follow this road to Easton Village. Retrace your footsteps back to St Andrew’s Church, Titchborne, for the start of the walk.
In 1909 the US President Theodore Roosevelt made a request to the British Foreign Office to arrange for an expert on bird song to accompany him on a walk through the British countryside. Sir Edward Grey, the British Foreign Secretary (1905-1916), kept a cottage on the banks of the Itchen.
Being an amateur naturalist himself, Grey accompanied Roosevelt. On 9 June 1910 the pair started out from Tichborne, rambling along seven miles of the Itchen to Kings Worthy. From there they were driven to Stoney Cross in the New Forest and walked to Brockenhurst.
The Migratory Bird Treaty (MBTA) is often cited as an outcome of this walk. The MBTA has maintained the protection of migratory birds in North America ever since.
Some of the birds recorded by Roosevelt and Grey include: Skylark, Yellowhammer, Goldcrest, Greenfinch, Dunnock, Jackdaw, Blackcap, Garden Warbler, Willow, Warbler, Chiff Chaff, Treecreeper, Reed Bunting, Sedge Warbler, Coot, Moorhen, Little Grebe, Tufted Duck, Wood Pigeon, Turtle Dove, Lapwing (Peewit), Cuckoo, Swift.
A larger version can be obtained by calling 0845 603 5636.
This route has been submitted by the Hampshire Ornithological Society as part of the Hampshire Bird Festival.