River Itchen Way – source to sea, 30 miles, 3 days. From the source of the river Itchen near Cheriton, you walk alongside this magical chalk stream river, past idyllic country pubs, churches and ancient trees. The wildlife teems in the river’s environment, and the crystal clear water is a delight. The South of England has 85% of the world’s chalk streams, and we must cherish them lest they lose their purity. Walking from source to sea is a good start to this process of saving our rivers.
Walking a river is a metaphor for life itself. The source is often pure, a small trickle, like a newborn baby, and as tributaries flow in it grows as a river, becoming more complex by several influences. This process continues until it eventually grows wide and powerful and then meets the oneness of the sea, a kind of river death, but of course it is just the beginning of the next stage of the cycle of water returning to the source.