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Portsmouth to Southampton to Reading Abbey

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
My wife and I will be walking The Pilgrims Way in southern England from the ferry landing in Portsmouth to the Reading Abbey this August 2022. I have been in touch with the local Pilgrim association, but curious if anyone has walked it recently (in either direction).
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Assume you are walking from Portsmouth to Winchester to start the Pilgrim Route there. Here's a route from last year. Portsmouth itself is worth a day as it has a lot of navel history. Southampton (if you are going that way) has some Mayflower history that may be of interest. Winchester (and Salisbury) are again worth a day/half-day.


The only "pilgrim" route I can find is the one on the British Pilgrim Trust website and it doesn't look like a pilgrim route as the main pilgrim route was over the Downs from Winchester to Canterbury.

Standard comments for any walk in the UK are a) accommodation is expensive b) food is terrible and c) it will rain. Other than that - enjoy.
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Actually, we are reverse-walking from the port up to Reading - this is part of it listed as “The Pilgrims Trail”. We will continue on to Reading to visit the Abbey there which was once the center of St James worship in England.

 

Vince1958

Experienced Hiker
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues, Salvador, Madrid, Ingles and Fisterra
I’ve walked that route but from Reading to Southampton only. Not a bad hike but accommodation is sparse and expensive. There are B&Bs off-route and I’ve heard that some churches on the route may let you overnight on floors. This wasn’t the case when I walked it a few years ago though. Take time to plan it and you’ll be fine - it’s a nice walk 👍
 

Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
Thanks. We walked the Cotswolds previously, so I completely understand the cost of being a tourist in England versus a pilgrim in Spain. My wife was worried it would be too industrial along the route, but other reports at its a lovely stroll in footpaths and canal routes. Just curious which (or both?) are true?
 
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Corned Beef

Active Member
Past OR future Camino
C. Norte Sept/2022
Both Portsmouth and Southampton are cities. If you are starting at Portsmouth on the BPT Pilgrim Trail you might want to get to the north of the city by taking the train from Portsmouth Harbour station to the one at Cosham. Takes 15 minutes and you'll be most of the way out. After Portsmouth it is countryside all the way to Winchester.

Portsmouth is a working city and a big naval base. Think San Diego. So best to keep your exposure to it to a minimum except for the core historic area.
 

Vince1958

Experienced Hiker
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, Via de la Plata, Portugues, Salvador, Madrid, Ingles and Fisterra
Thanks. We walked the Cotswolds previously, so I completely understand the cost of being a tourist in England versus a pilgrim in Spain. My wife was worried it would be too industrial along the route, but other reports at its a lovely stroll in footpaths and canal routes. Just curious which (or both?) are true?
A bit of both really. A lot of canalside walking which is quite industrial until you get clear of Reading. Then you pass through various towns and villages - some with great watering holes (but some may have closed due to Covid). As you get closer to major towns the landscape changes but, all in all, definitely worth the effort!
 

Mercutio

Let us walk together
Past OR future Camino
CF 2019
CF 2022 (planned)
My wife and I will be walking The Pilgrims Way in southern England from the ferry landing in Portsmouth to the Reading Abbey this August 2022. I have been in touch with the local Pilgrim association, but curious if anyone has walked it recently (in either direction).
I assume you know that the Reading Abbey was destroyed in 1538 during the Dissolution and all that remains today in Reading are the abbey ruins?
 

Leaderene

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Camino Portuguese
Camino Ingles
My wife and I will be walking The Pilgrims Way in southern England from the ferry landing in Portsmouth to the Reading Abbey this August 2022. I have been in touch with the local Pilgrim association, but curious if anyone has walked it recently (in either direction).
This is the UK St James Way which is different from the actual Pilgrim's Way which is from Winchester to Canterbury with another branch from London to Canterbury.

I have walked from Reading to Southampton twice in 2021. It's a lovely route though the infrastructure is not great as in accommodation and signage is practically non existent. The guide book I also found lacking in places but it is doable and you do walk through some really interesting places. Great countryside.
 
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Vacajoe

Traded in my work boots for hiking ones
Past OR future Camino
2019
This is the UK St James Way which is different from the actual Pilgrim's Way which is from Winchester to Canterbury with another branch from London to Canterbury.

I have walked from Reading to Southampton twice in 2021. It's a lovely route though the infrastructure is not great as in accommodation and signage is practically non existent. The guide book I also found lacking in places but it is doable and you do walk through some really interesting places. Great countryside.
Thank you for the reply! Yes, I’ve since learned the official name and purchased the guidebook from the Confraternity of St James (a fabulous organization, BTW). On a related note, the section we will walk between Portsmouth and Southampton is partially considered as “The Old Pilgrims Way” by the British Pilgrims Trust. So many named routes for such a small land, but all historic and delightful!
 

Leaderene

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances
Camino Portuguese
Camino Ingles
Thank you for the reply! Yes, I’ve since learned the official name and purchased the guidebook from the Confraternity of St James (a fabulous organization, BTW). On a related note, the section we will walk between Portsmouth and Southampton is partially considered as “The Old Pilgrims Way” by the British Pilgrims Trust. So many named routes for such a small land, but all historic and delightful!
Thank you for that update on the neame between Portsmouth and Southampton. Happy walking.
 

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