This family-friendly coastal walk in Ashlett Creek has views of Southampton Water and the Solent, fascinating history on route, and a pebble beach to explore.

We came across the route on the free app ‘New Forest Walks’ which has a selection of varied walks across the national park to enjoy. At nearly three miles, this walk is especially good for families with young children as there’s a diversity of things to see on the route.

From Fawley town centre the trail takes you down a pretty country lane with views over Southampton Water, all the way to the historic inlet of Ashlett Creek. It trails past the Jolly Sailor pub and 19th century tidal mill. Then the path follows the coast through a striking landscape where industry and wildlife meet.

Getting to Ashlett Creek

We parked at the Jubilee Hall Car Park in Fawley town centre for this coastal walk in Ashlett Creek, but there is also the option to take the bus as the stop is right on the town square. From there, you go past the Falcon Inn and onto Ashlett Road which is a country lane that gently dips down to the creek.

As you walk downhill you can see across Southampton Water to the busy marine terminal. One of the most regular spots is the Isle of Wight ferries which transport locals and tourists alike from Southampton to Cowes and back.

Fawley Green and Power Station

Further along the waterfront is a gate into Fawley Green. This is where the fascinating contrast between nature and industry becomes striking.

On the forefront: Fawley Green which is grazed by New Forest ponies. In the background: Fawley’s Power Station. As of last year, its chimney, which once dominated the skyline, is no longer part of the picture. This element of the walk almost feels post-apocalyptic.

Ashlett Creek for kids

Continuing along the trail of the coastal walk in Ashlett Creek leads you through a woodland area, where the little ones were enchanted after spotting multiple fairy doors.

Nestled at the bottom of a tree, the tiny red door suggested a secret world inhabited by fairies and other magical beings. With the bonus of having butterflies flying around, they came away feeling as if they’d picked up a bit of the fairy dust themselves.

Swing bridge and Calshot Marshes

Moving on, we came across a swing bridge with a metal safety cage. Although it was shut for a while, it has now reopened. Crossing the swing bridge via the gates and continuing along the track leads into Calshot Marshes Nature Reserve.

This section of path is tidal, but there is a higher path through grass on the right for you to use if the tide is high.

Tidal pond

Continue along the edge of the marshes to the road where the path ends at a nature reserve sign and a tidal pond. Luckily, we went out on a sunny day, but we suspect this section of the coastal walk in Ashlett Creek could be very muddy in wet weather.

Beach at Ashlett Creek

Just beyond are colourful beach huts. Looking out from the gravel beach there are panoramic views of the Solent and the Isle of Wight. On a clear day, you should even be able to spot the Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth!

Although there’s a café nearby, we opted for a light picnic on the beach, which ended in a stone-skimming competition.

Ashlett Creek for history buffs

Some historical elements of the walk really stand out, like Calshot Castle. Some are a little more discreet.

Eagle-eyed walkers might have spotted a mural of a seaplane on the side of a building by the activities centre, commemorating the 1931 Schneider Trophy. The recurring seacraft contest, which was held in Calshot that year, and won by the Great Britain team, after 18 years of fierce competition.

Ashlett Creek for the wildlife

exploring ashlett creek

The New Forest coast alongside Southampton Water and the Solent is a wonderful place to visit on foot. This area has so much to offer walkers, wildlife enthusiasts and anyone who simply wants to enjoy fresh air and sea breezes.

Coastal walk in Ashlett Creek

Coastal Walk in Ashlett Creek

It’s easy to overlook the history and heritage associated with this coast, evidence of which often remains visible but is largely unappreciated. Yet, from soldiers to seaplanes, smugglers to salt-men, and sailors to shipwrecks, the New Forest coast has many fascinating tales to tell. But we’ll let you discover some of it yourself…

You can download the free app ‘New Forest National Park Walks’ here.

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