Distance: 15 miles Difficulty: Medium
Not all bike rides have to be up and down massive hills, why not take in the beautiful views and landscape on a cycle trail alongside a river set in a stunning piece of Hampshire countryside. A mountain bike is preferred for this cycle ride, but a hybrid bike would also do ok. This is a round trip which starts and finishes from a great pub, which offers great food, refreshments and security for your prized possession, your bike.
The Brewery Bar run by landlady Helen, is a gem of a bar. It boasts an outdoor under cover seating area (it is even heated), outdoor sports TV, children’s play area, a wide range of drinks including regular guest ales and some great food. The outdoor area boasts a secure area to store your bike after a long ride whilst you can get back some of the calories you have burnt away.
This cycle ride is mainly flat, as you would expect following a river, but does have a little twist just after half way and is 15 miles long. Time to complete should be 1.5 hours.
You start by heading down Church Lane and heading towards Upper Hamble Country Park, where you enter the park through the gate at the Upper Hamble Farm entrance. Head through the park, past the jetty until you reach the final stile and you now head over a cows field. Don’t worry, this is allowed, just go careful and respect the animals if they are out.
The stiles are pretty easy to pass your bike over the top of them. Follow the path until you reach the road which is directly under the M27 motorway. It’s noisy, it is the worst part of the route, but it makes you appreciate the tranquillity and the beauty of the ride you have just been on and this will continue very soon. Follow the road until the end where you meet the A27. Turn left over the river, and follow the path past Swanwick Marina on the right.
The river is now on your right hand shoulder and follow this all the way to Warsash and continues until you reach the old World War 2 fort on the mouth of the River Hamble.This old gunnery was built to defend Southampton and ultimately the spitfire factory from the Luftwaffe. This is a perfect place to rest your bike up and have a breather and look at the busy bustling Southampton Water.
Follow the cycle route and you will get onto some more urban roads for a while until you hit Holly Hill Park. This is a great place to explore with the kids and has some hidden caves. Another time though as you are cycling and have a little way to go. Pop out the other side in Sarisbury Green, follow the trails back to the river and follow the route back with a slightly different exit through the deep forest of the Upper Hamble Country Park.
Exit at the farm and re-trace your bike ride back to the start and at The Brewery Bar for a well-deserved drink whatever that may be.