List of walks in date order, with links
Date Walk Distance
07 November 2009 Staunton Way, Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Langstone Harbour 20.7 km (12.5 miles)
Plan The plan for completing the E9 European Coastal Path within the region -
E9 European Coastal Path waymark

The plan for completing the E9 European Coastal Path within the region

The British section of the E9 European Coastal Path runs from Plymouth to Dover, a distance of 711 km (444 miles). An optional loop visits the Isle of Wight. The British section provides an alternative to the mainland route of the E9 in France, with which it connects by ferry at several points. The whole route from Capo de São Vincente, Portugal to Narva-Jõesuu, Estonia is some 5000 km long.

The Ramblers website has a full description of the E9 European Coastal Path.

Staunton Way outline map

Within the region covered by this website, the E9 is made up of:

I've already walked much of the route, so little remains to be completed. Of the Solent Way, I have walked the section between South Parade Pier, Southsea and Langstone Harbour (see The Solent Way, 25 July 2009). I have yet to do the Staunton Way. I have walked the whole of South Downs Way, the 1066 Country Walk (including the 1066 South Downs Link) and the Saxon Shore Way.

Therefore to complete that part of the E9 within the region, I need to walk the Solent Way from Southampton to South Parade Pier, Southsea (about 36 km / 22.5 miles) [Now to be walked as a separate project] and the Staunton Way (about 21 km / 13 miles) [Walked 07 November 2009] - say three days.

The Solent Way is well documented and waymarked. Hampshire County Council publishes an excellent leaflet describing the route of the Solent Way.

I'll have to use two ferries to complete the route.

Information about the Staunton Way is somewhat contradictory. The leaflet on the Staunton Way published by Hampshire County Council shows a North to South Route and a South to North Route, finishing and starting at Staunton Country Park, with no connection to the Solent Way. However, the OS 1:25 000 map shows the North to South Route only, but extended to meet the Solent Way at Brockhampton, a suburb of Havant.

The Wikipedia entry on the Staunton Way (when I last looked) says 'The section from Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Staunton Country Park is waymarked with the picture of a roe deer and a green arrow'. The entry also gives a useful outline map created by Nick Austin from GPS data collected in 2002, which follows the route shown on the OS 1:25 000 map. I've copied it here. I will follow this route.


07 November 2009: Staunton Way, Queen Elizabeth Country Park to Langstone Harbour

20.7 km (12.5 miles)

Queen Elizabeth Country Park
Leaving Queen Elizabeth Country Park

I took the train to Petersfield, and then a taxi (£9.40) to the Visitor's Centre at Queen Elizabeth Country Park. There is an hourly bus service that stops near to the park (except on Sundays), but as the early nights are now with us, I wanted to make the most of the limited daylight.

Chalton church
Chalton church

Close to the Visitor's Centre, on the route of the South Downs Way, there is a sign post with waymarks and pointers for the South Downs Way, the Hangers Way, the Staunton Way - and the E9 Coastal Path. Oddly, the E9 waymarks pointed both north and south. In fact the junction of the E9 between the South Downs Way and the Staunton Way is about 0.4 km further south, so the waymarks are misleading.

Windmill Hill
View over Windmill Hill from Chalton Down

The way through the Queen Elizabeth Country Park is on forest roads. It’s pleasant enough, but there are no great views. However, the views open up where the Staunton Way leaves the park, to cross fields with views to Windmill Hill (which looks as if it would be worth a walk to the top one day). At Chalton the Staunton Way joins the Sussex Border Path. The two paths are then coincident as far as Rowlands Castle. When I walked the Sussex Border Path, I walked this section in the other direction.

Climbing stones
Staunton Country Park - climbing stones

I was very tempted by the Red Lion in Chalton - but daylight was short. I did however call into the church - plain, but well cared for.

The section from Chalton to Finchdean has wonderful extensive views. Below Idsworth Down lies the isolated St Hubert's Chapel, containing original 14th century wall paintings.

The Beacon
Staunton Country Park - The Beacon (1830)

I stopped to eat my sandwiches in Finchdean, under a newly constructed shelter in what I assume was the old village pound. The George Inn was very tempting, but again I decided daylight was too short to stop for a pint.

The section of the Staunton Way through Rowlands Castle was predictably dull - large suburban houses, a golf course. The route follows the B2149 for a short distance, but the waymarked route turns off before the point shown on the OS 1:25 000 map, into the Forestry Commission car park for Havant Thicket.

Staunton Country Park - sheep

South of Havant Thicket, the route skirts the site of a proposed reservoir. The land is currently pasture. The route then enters Staunton Country Park, ‘1,000 acres of landscaped parkland with ornamental lake, woodland and follies’. It was actually delightful, and I spent longer there than I had planned.

Staunton Country Park - vaults under terrace above lake

The route from the lake to the outskirts of Havant shown on the OS 1:25 000 map was not waymarked, and there was no obvious path. I ended up climbing over a fence to gain the road, so I wonder if the route has been diverted (or I missed a stile). I disturbed a deer in the field, and found some very large toadstools.

The Staunton Way picks its way through Havant following scraps of woodland, parks and streams. Waymarking had largely been removed by the local youth, but fragments remained. Where the way followed the Hermitage Stream, there are large steel cut-out signs at the ends of each section that have proved reasonably vandal-resistant. The Hermitage Stream itself is now a large concrete-lined ditch.

Staunton Country Park - toadstools

Shortly after crossing the railway, the Staunton Way meets the Wayfarer’s Walk. I followed the Wayfarer’s Walk for about 0.5 km, to join the Solent Way at Brockhampton. From here I walked to Langstone, in the reverse direction to which I had walked the Solent Way on 25 July 2009.

Hawthorn Way
Staunton Way through Havant - Hawthorn Way

In Langstone I stopped at the Royal Oak (a Green King pub), overlooking the Emsworth Channel of Chichester Harbour, and the bridge to Hayling Island. I had intended to only stop for one pint, but as dusk was falling, I decided on a second pint (Abbot Ale) and a plate of fish, chips and mushy peas (adequate, but a mean portion of peas).

I then got the Hayling Island bus (a 30 or 31, I forget which) back to Havant bus station, then walked to Havant station for the train home.

Despite the forecast, it had been a lovely warm, sunny, late autumn day. I had been walking south, and regretted I’d not brought a cap to keep the sun out of my eyes.

Staunton Way waymark

Old Man's Beard