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Ashlett Creek to Calshot Spit

Ashlett Creek to Calshot Spit

Starting from Fawley town centre, with views over Southampton Water and the historic inlet of Ashlett Creek

Ashlett Mill is an historic Grade II listed building that was built in 1816. It replaced an earlier mill that may date from medieval times and was used to mill corn until about 1910. Victoria Quay was built in 1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee and was used by flat bottomed sailing barges to load and unload grain, salt and other supplies. In the 1920s this quay was used by much larger ships to unload materials used for construction of the first refinery in Fawley.

Lots of birds visit this stretch of coastline throughout the year so please keep dogs on a lead. In winter look for widgeons, teals, ringed plovers and redshanks which feed and roost on the mudflats and saltmarshes. Globally important numbers of dark-bellied brent geese also overwinter here. The power station closed in 2013 and its tall towers now provide a safe nesting site for peregrine falcons.

Overview
  • Start/finish: Fawley town square bus stop Grid SZ 458 032 Postcode SO45 1EA
  • Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
  • Getting there: Bluestar 8 bus between Hythe and Calshot. Arrive at Fawley town square and return from Calshot bus stop.
  • Distance: 2.8 miles (4.5 km)
  • Duration: 1-2 hours
  • Local facilities: Public toilets and parking at Fawley town square. Jolly Sailor pub, Ashlett. Cafe and toilets at Calshot Activities Centre. Public toilets, parking and seasonal cafe at Calshot.
  • Accessibility: Easy walk along level ground with five gates. Section of path is tidal (alternative upper path).
Directions

1. Ashlett Road

From the bus stop in Fawley town square go past the Falcon Inn on your right and cross the road towards a sign for Ashlett Creek. Turn left onto Ashlett Road and walk past houses before the road becomes a country lane that gently dips down to the creek. As you walk downhill you can see across Southampton Water to the busy marine terminal. Ahead is the Jolly Sailor pub, Ashlett Creek Mill and Victoria Quay.

2. Gate into Fawley Green

Turn right at the quay and walk along the waterfront through a gate into Fawley Green. Turn left at the waymarker and continue ahead along the narrow creekside path, through a gate and alongside a small boat yard. Where the path turns right past Ashlett Sailing Club stop to look across Southampton Water to Calshot. Go through the gate into Fawley Green, which is grazed by New Forest ponies.

3. Gravel track

Continue ahead along the edge of the green on a flat grassy lawn. After a short section that can be muddy join a wider gravel track. Turn left and follow this track through woodland and then between a hedge to Fawley Power Station. Turn left past some concrete bollards and follow the power station fence.

4. Swing bridge

Keeping the fence line on your right, continue to a swing bridge with a metal safety cage. Just before the bridge there is a bench to rest and enjoy the views. Cross the swing bridge via the gates and continue along the track into Calshot Marshes Nature Reserve. This section of path is tidal with a higher narrower path through grass on your right. Look for a tall concrete post ahead which marks where the track splits.

5. Tidal pond and beach huts

Continue along the edge of the marshes to the road where the path ends at a nature reserve sign and a tidal pond on your right. This section can be very muddy in wet weather. Straight ahead are public toilets and just beyond are colourful beach huts. Looking out from the gravel beach there are panoramic views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. On a clear day see if you can spot the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.

You now have the option to turn left along the road to explore the history of Calshot Spit or continue to Calshot where the walk ends via a bus back to Fawley square.

6. Seasonal café

To continue to Calshot, turn right and follow along the road or beach, past the beach huts, to the main car park where the bus stop (Bluestar 8 bus service to Fawley) and public toilets are located. There is a seasonal cafe.

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Adam
Vasey
National Park Access Ranger

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