Your Hampshire with Oliver Gray

We chat to Twyford resident, Oliver Gray in the first of our new Your Hampshire series; exploring Hampshire via its residents and community.

Q. Where in Hampshire do you live?

A. I live in Twyford, near Winchester.

Q. Where do you like to go on a rainy day?

A.Here I’d like to give a shout out to much-maligned Eastleigh, which has some great indoor facilities such as The Point, the library in the Swan Centre and Fleming Park for a nice indoor swim.

Q. Where is the best place for a cuppa?

A. My favourite place for a cuppa entails a bit of a walk first, which makes the cuppa taste even nicer at the end of it!

Park in the car park at Swanwick and walk along the path at the edge of the Hamble estuary for about a mile until you reach the little pink ferry. On the way, observe the wildlife, the skeletons of sunken ships and the millionaires’ yachts and mansions. The pink ferry will take you to Hamble village, where you can roam the quaint cobbled streets before heading to the quayside café which will do you a great cup of tea and a good bite to eat, as well with one of the finest seaside views in Hampshire.

4. What is your favourite walk?

My favourite walk is one I have been doing for many years but has recently become nationally famous for being the route taken by Chris Packham in his extremely moving and brilliant documentary The Walk That Made Me.

Follow the Itchen Navigation from Shawford via Brambridge and Allbrook, emerging at Bishopstoke, where you can turn right and experience Hampshire’s best urban pub Steamtown in Eastleigh for home brewed beers and scrumptious burgers.

Anyone who has seen the documentary will attest that the scenic views and wildlife on what I now call the Packham walk are sensational.

Q. What do you recommend people do when they visit for the first time?

A. A great place to start is any of our local National Trust properties, for example Hinton Ampner, Mottisfont or The Vyne. All are fine places to spend a few hours and benefit from the opportunity to taste the unique and delightful NT cauliflower curry vegan pasties.

Q. Where is your favourite spot in Hampshire?

A. My favourite spot is hard to find and certainly obscure and way off the normal tourist routes, but if you can find it you will be richly rewarded.

Head out of Owslebury by car, bike or on foot along the tiny lane through the hamlet of Baybridge, swoop down the hill and up the other side, looking to the left for an incomparable vista of rural Hampshire that I call The Secret Valley. Carry on down through the woods which are like a haunting scene from Lord Of The Rings and the winding lane will bring you eventually to the pretty village of Upham and certainly Hampshires best rural pub, the completely unspoilt and character-filled Brushmaker’s Arms.

Thanks for sharing You Hampshire with us Oliver, there's some really great walks you've mentioned and we'll definitely be heading to the Hamble for a cup of tea!

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