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on to the South Downs Way - practicalities


1. Walking days
This pleasant walk is possibly the easiest on this site. It's about 20 miles, and the climbs are nicely graded and not too long. The halfway point, Exton, has several pubs and B&Bs. If you live in the South of England, only one night's B&B is needed, though you do need an early start on day 1 (see below). The walk is easily extended with others on this site (see map).

2. Getting there and away
From London: Train from Waterloo to Winchester; 1 hour 15 mins.
Getting away: Taxi from the Queen Elizabeth Country Park (they can give you a phone number) to Petersfield Station; 15 mins; then train from Petersfield to Waterloo; 1 hour 10 mins. There is a bus stop on the A3 going north, but the service is sparse and it's not a wonderful way to end the walk with the traffic zooming past.

3. Leaflet & Maps
The 1:25,000 OS maps are 132 and 120. For the first part we used the 1:50,000 map 185. Signage is generally good, but a large scale map is useful for getting out of Winchester. We also tried a downloaded version on a smartphone, which does tell you where you are, but we preferred the artistry and range of a paper version.
The signage only let us down once, at 563273, where there is a very sharp right turn. It's where you might be tempted to go on into a wood, past a Notice written in several languages.

4. The route:
Day 1: Train to Winchester (am). Walk 6 miles to the Milburys pub (on the path at 569246) for lunch. This makes for a longer morning and shorter afternoon, and the pub stops serving food at 2 pm; we left Winchester at 11 and just made it. A picnic solves all this.
Walk 4 miles to Exton (pm). We stayed at the The Bucks Head in Meonstoke.
Day 2: Walk 9 miles to the QE Country Park. We took a picnic, but there is the
Meon Springs Fishery Kitchen (on the path at 656216) for an early lunch. When you get to the A3, the bus stop is slightly North, or go slightly South to cross under the road to the Queen Elizabeth Country Park, where there is a shop and café. Then taxi to Petersfield Station and train to London.