A Test Valley Revisit


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A Norman Abbey, Crystal clear trout streams, Autumnal leaf and a tea/cake stop….it’s what Sundays are made for…This walk is a re-run of a "Test Valley Sally" .....I've incorporated a minor nav tweak, but the original descriptive prose sums it nicely:

A day walk of moderate exertion but maximum appeal along and close to one the country's finest chalk rivers, renowned for its coarse fishing. Starting from and returning to the attractive market town of Romsey, we'll walk along some of the Test Way and follow footpaths and quiet lanes through a gentle and cosy landscape of fields, villages, water meadows, woodlands and genteel suburbs. We'll also have time to look around Romsey, including its magnificent Norman abbey. All this is just an hour and a half from London Waterloo.

The River Test is one of the country's finest chalk streams, famous for its trout fishing. Much of the river can be experienced along the Test Way, a 44 mile long-distance trail that runs from the river's source, high on the chalk downs at Ashe, to Eling where its tidal waters flow into Southampton Water.

The clear waters of the little streams, or bournes, are ideal for watercress growers and the numerous water meadows and tidal marshes are thick with wildlife. Many wild birds can be spotted along the Test such as kingfishers, marsh harriers and little grebes.

Romsey is a pleasant and prosperous market town in which medieval, tudor, Georgian and Victorian buildings cluster around a square. King John's House, which is a museum, is 750 years old, and for Simon Jenkins in England's Thousand Best Churches, Romsey Abbey is one of the two finest churches in Hampshire. The exterior is dull but the interior is impressive: 'one of England's grandest Norman churches', which possesses 'phenomenal variety' and 'a rich gallery of art of all ages'. Don't miss the wizened hand of a medieval abbess emerging from her coffin.


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