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St Catherine's Hill, Winchester

4.8
#4 of 6 in Parks in Winchester
Wildlife Area Nature / Park
St. Catherine's Hill is a small but dramatic chalk hill to the south east of Winchester in Hampshire, England. Rising steeply some 67m from the water meadows of the River Itchen, the summit of the hill at 97m provides a fine view over Winchester.The hill is owned by Winchester College, and largely managed as a nature reserve by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. St. Catherine's Hill is at the westernmost extremity of the South Downs National Park, having previously been designated as part of the East Hampshire AONB (Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty). In addition, much of the hill and adjoining Plague Pits dry valley is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) due to its chalk downland flora, including 'practically the full range of downland orchids', with chalkhill blue and other butterflies.HistoryThe top of the hill is ringed by the ramparts of an Iron Age hill fort, which is a scheduled ancient monument. In the centre a copse of beech trees contains the site of the 12th-century chapel of St. Catherine. There is also a mizmaze, probably cut between 1647 and 1710.
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Where to stay in Winchester

Hotels, B&Bs, and inns offer rooms on the upper floors of the historical town center's Victorian, Georgian, and Tudor buildings. These look out over the pedestrian streets, markets, and shops, as well as provide a convenient location to the main attractions. Cottages for rent near the River Itchen are set among thick trees near the water, but are still within walking distance of many of the city attractions.
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4.7
  • Visit quite regularly. We take the dog walking as well as three children 2,6&10. All very picturesque once you reach the top which can be hard work but the view makes it worth the effort. Also walking...  more »
  • great place to take children and pet dogs,quite a hard walk to get to top but good view when you make it to top,only a couple of miles to Winchester centre  more »
  • Not too far from Winchester City Centre you can escape into the countryside and quickly gain elevation by walking up St Catherine's Hill and will be rewarded with views across the city and beyond. Wel...  more »
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  • Beautiful location on the edge of the South Downs with stunning views of Winchester. There is free parking for this place down Garnier Road and also by the Viaduct at Hockley Link in the lay-by. You can still see the ancient earthworks from when the site was occupied by the Ancient British tribes. There is a lovely walk by the river here too and look out for the remains of the woodmill at the bottom of the hill. Also learn about the plague pits that run along the valley at the bottom of the hill. The wildlife i spectacular here too. You might see the odd deer and listen out for cuckoos in spring, a rare sound.
  • We took the kingfisher trail which included St Catherine's Hill. Quite a climb but worth it for the stunning views
  • Fantastic place to let off steam, Get them Hiking Boots on and take the kids and pets out for a nice walk
  • Great option for a sunny weekend with the family and children or to stretch your legs. Offers great views across the Itchen Navigation and Winchester. Steep Iron Age, Roman and Medieval history, not to mention a SSSI for its rich herb flora and population of butterflies. Anyone who says the steps are "hard going"... wow, it's not a mountain. Any fitness level can do it. The incline is gentle. And there's plenty of room for people to overtake. The steps are very wide, deep and are slip-proof. Unfortunately there's the background noise of the M3, which spoils the tranquility of the downland, and you can peer into the cutting as you stand on the south border of the site. Nice footpath loop from Hazeley across the Golf Course to the hill via the footbridge, across and down by the canal along the towpath, under the bridge on the B3335 towards Twyford and back to Hazeley parking.
  • Maybe the nicest place within a shory walk from Winchester. Great views!