Day 94: English Coastal Path


Friday 21st April 2023

Today miles: 16.7 Total miles: 1575.5

I felt remarkably fresh this morning despite the exertions of yesterday. I arrived at the Lepe Country Park about 9am and it was already busy with visitors. After a quick toilet stop I was on my way. Initially the route follows along the beach but after a mile and a half I took to a minor road. The only way to cross Beaulieu River is to head inland towards Beaulieu itself. There’s very little traffic and I made good time, first passing Exbury House and Gardens and then Hill Top. On the way along the road I’d seen lots of various farm animals standing in fields munching on the fresh grass. Just before Hill Top I noticed a team of several horses standing in the road. These animals and others have the right to roam in the New Forest and at this time these were causing absolute mayhem on the road.

It’s only a short walk into Beaulieu itself, I passed the remains of Beaulieu Abbey and the entrance to the National Motor Museum. There was the unusual sight of two donkeys standing at the entrance to the grocery shop. As I approached I watched amused as several people attempted to enter the shop, squeezing between the immovable donkeys. Somebody told me later that the free, roaming animals in the new Forest are very well protected by law and even petting the animals can lead to heavy fines. I spent a little bit of time looking around the village before moving off along the Solent Way on the Western Edge of Beaulieu River. The two miles towards Bucklers Hard was busy with people but the walking was pleasant enough. At the Master Builders House Hotel I purchased a small plastic cup of cola for £3, extortionate. I fancied some chips but was probably going to need to take out a bank loan to pay for them. It’s a beautiful place with a great view out towards the river. Unfortunately, shortly after leaving Bucklers Hard I was back to walking along minor roads for the next five miles. Once again, there was very little traffic which made things a little more bearable.

I took several short breaks on the way towards Walhampton where, after waiting for the train crossing barrier to open I was able to finally cross Lymington River. My main objective now was to head into the town centre and then find a taxi to take me back to Lepe. I’d sent three messages to local taxi companies in Lymington last night but hadn’t received any responses. Fortunately after buying myself a fizzy drink, I exited the shop and a taxi complete with driver was sat outside. He was able to take me straight to Lepe and like any respectable taxi driver he was full of entertaining banter.

Another enjoyable day, could have done with less road walking and didn’t see much of the coastline. It’s my last day of walking tomorrow before heading home.

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