Situated on the southern edge of the New Forest and a mile from the Solent coast, Exbury is a peaceful and beautiful village with a fascinating history and important war time links to Lepe and the build up to D-Day. The walk starts at the famous Exbury Gardens then takes you along field and woodland paths to Lepe for spectacular views across the Solent. returning inland through farms and woodland to Exbury village.
Calculated time is computed with the distance, the height difference, and an average speed of 2.2 mph. For an intermediate walker, this time includes small breaks.
(D/A) Leave Exbury Gardens car park via the exit gate and turn right, past the entrance to Exbury House on your right and the Parish Church of St Katherine's towards Exbury village. Where the road bends left continue straight ahead down Inchmery Lane and past the water tower on your right. Follow the lane for a few hundred yards to a waymarked path and stile in the hedge on your left.
(1) Cross over the stile and straight across the field towards a small wood. The path turns right through woodland, past small ponds (old clay pits) and then left over a plank footbridge.
(7) On leaving the woodland turn right at a three-finger waymarker along a grassy track, keeping the wood on your right. Continue ahead at the next waymarker through a gap in the hedge, following the field edge with the wood on your right. Look for a break in the fence and turn right to cross over a wooden footbridge into the wood. Cross another footbridge over a stream into an area of open glades. This section can be very muddy. Leave the wood through a kissing-gate onto Inchmery Lane.
(2) Turn left and follow the road to the foreshore. A waymarker on your right directs you down to the foreshore. Follow the high tide line and pass below Inchmery House. At high tide use the road towards Lepe instead. Continue along the beach to the start of the sea defence groynes.
(3) Turn left at a waymarker and follow the path uphill to re-join Inchmery Lane. The coastal path ahead may be closed due to storm damage. Turn right and follow the road towards Lepe and past Lepe House.
(4) Look for a waymarker and gate on your left as the road begins to bend to the right towards the Lighthouse. You now have the option to continue along the road to explore Lepe Country Park and visit the war memorial and construction remains before re-joining the route back to Exbury.
To continue on the route, turn left through the kissing gate to follow the field edge on your right and then bear diagonally left onto a wide path through a section of wet pasture. Follow the path uphill across the next field and through a gate. With the wire fence on your left, continue past a wood on your right to a gap in the hedge. Keep straight on through the next field and into the woodland ahead.
(5) Follow the woodland path, crossing a wooden footbridge and turn right at a waymarker post onto the bridleway. Turn left at signed track junction and follow the enclosed bridleway to East Hill Farm. Continue ahead along a tree-lined gravelled farm road which joins the Exbury-Lepe road.
(6) Cross the road and follow the signed footpath along the edge of Cump Copse. Go over a stile and keep straight on through the wood retracing your steps across the field and back to the road and stile. Turn right to return to Exbury village.(D/A)
D/A : mi 0 - alt. 79ft - Exbury Gardens car park
1 : mi 0.68 - alt. 59ft - Stile
2 : mi 1.59 - alt. 30ft - Road
3 : mi 2.55 - alt. 13ft - Inchmery Lane
4 : mi 2.94 - alt. 16ft - Lighthouse
5 : mi 3.66 - alt. 49ft - East Hill Farm
6 : mi 4.53 - alt. 52ft - The Green
7 : mi 4.85 - alt. 59ft - Cump Copse
D/A : mi 5.83 - alt. 79ft - Exbury Gardens car park
Accessibility: Mostly easy walking with gentle gradients, gates and three stiles. Woodland paths can be very muddy. Foreshore route can flood at high tide - follow the parallel road instead.
Local facilities: Parking is available at Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway if using the café or shop. Please note the car park is closed at 6pm daily and also from November to March. At Lepe Country Park there are toilets, café, shop, information and a children's play area.
The speed limits on unfenced roads greatly reduce the number of accidents involving animals. Slow down and give walkers, cyclists, horse-riders and animals a wide berth. Be especially careful at night.
Visorando and this author cannot be held responsible in the case of accidents or problems occuring on this walk.
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