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Hardway to Gosport

Location

Hampshire Map

OS Ref: SU 612 018

Last Visited: 2016


As the proud possessor of a bus pass, I tend to do this walk using the excellent First Eclipse E1 service (shown in green) between Fareham and Gosport Bus Stations, alighting at the Windsor Castle bus stop in Hardway.

If you are travelling by car, there is a large free car park off St Helier Road.

Although swamped by later development, in Chapel Street and Priory Road you can still get a taste of the old smugglers' village of Hardway which dates back to Roman times.

Heading south along the waterfront we reach Priddy's Hard. Dating back to 1756 this was once one of the country's main armament supply depots. It is now home to Explosion - Museum of Naval Firepower.

Crossing Forton Lake on the Millennium Footbridge, we come to the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard, now known as the Royal Clarence Marina, which was was one of the first large industrial food processing plants in the country.

The Harbour Mouth from Gosport

The Harbour Mouth from Gosport

The section from here to Gosport waterfront is rather less interesting and, if you are doing this as a there and back walk, this might be a good point to turn. After a short trudge through the back streets, we reach Gosport's pleasant but unremarkable pedestrianised High Street. This leads down to the waterfront, the bus station and the ferry to Portsmouth.

Turning south along the waterfront we reach the Haslar Marina pier and its old lightship. From the end there are fine views of the harbour mouth and on out to the open sea making a fitting end to this walk.

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The Royal Victoria Railway

Location

Hampshire Map

OS Ref: SU 616 002

Last Visited: 2016

Royal Victoria Railway

Royal Victoria Railway

Tucked behind what was the Guardhouse of the St George Barracks, a short stretch of railway line has been relaid. This is on the course of a line built for Queen Victoria in 1846, the year after she purchased Osborne House on the Isle of Wight.

It ran for 605 yards (550 m) from Gosport's main station to the private Royal Victoria Station (also known as Gosport Clarence Yard). When not being used by the royal train, it carried goods to the Royal Clarence Victualling Yard and its fuelling jetty.

All that's left of the Royal Victoria Station

All that's left of the Royal Victoria Station

The station was solely for the use of the Queen and her retinue, and it was her route of choice to get to the Isle of Wight. It closed following her death in 1901, her coffin and mourning family being the last passengers

It was demolished in 1971 with the exception of a short length of the curtain wall. The site is still MOD land and is not accessible to the public. However, the end of the curtain wall can be seen from the Royal Clarence Marina, incorporated into the end wall of a later building.

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Gosport Station

Location

Hampshire Map

OS Ref: SU 614 001

Last Visited: 2016

Gosport Station

Gosport Station

The Navy having successfully blocked the building of one of those newfangled railway things to Portsmouth, the London & South West Railway instead build a branch from Eastleigh through Fareham to Gosport.

Gosport Station was completed late in 1841 and was designed by the LSWR's architect, Sir William Tite.

The building has only a single storey to retain the field of fire of the guns on the ramparts of the town, and features a fourteen pillared colonnade on the south side.

The station buildings were bombed in March 1941, which resulted in the loss of the overall roof. The line to Gosport closed to passengers in 1953 (long before Beeching) and to goods traffic in 1969.

In 1974 Hampshire County Council bought the line and buildings. The line north of here to Holbroke is now a cycle path, and beyond that it has become a dedicated busway. The station itself is now private housing and is not accessible to the public.

If you are a fan of old postboxes, don't miss the rare Victorian Mark 1 Penfold box near the main entrance.

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