Netley Abbey parkrun takes place at 9 am on Saturday at Royal Victoria Country Park. The Park, in the grounds of Netley Abbey, is around 5 miles south east of Southampton.
Royal Victoria Country Park is accessed from Junction 8 of the M27 via the A3024 and A3025. There are brown tourist signs indicating the route. It isn’t the easiest place to reach by public transport (from my house 30 miles away, the journey would be almost 2 hours, departing at 6.30 am). The Park is around a 10 minute walk from Netley Station, which has trains from Southampton. Bus No 15 stops at New Road, about a 15 minute walk from the Park.
There are several car parks in the park. The closest to the start is Country Park West. Parking fees are seasonal, costing £2 for an hour in winter and £.2.50 in summer. Further details can be found here. We parked on the road just outside the entrance for free and walked to the start.
There are toilet next to the Cedar Tea Rooms, a few minutes walk from the start.
The course can vary a bit according to the state of the ground. It consists of three laps of of the Chapel Field and Bluebell Wood, starting and finishing in slightly different places. The regular route is slightly different to what we ran, starting slightly further to the NW and not turning to go round the chapel.
The terrain is a mix of tarmac, gravel and grass.
Run Britain rankings for UK parkruns places Netley Abbey as 355th fastest out of 706. It has a total elevation of around 12 metres.
I enjoyed my run here immensely. Royal Victoria Country Park is a lovely place for an outing. The route is varied, including wooded sections and passing by the historic chapel. And there are great views across the Solent too.
We spent a long time in the park after we’d finished running. There is plenty of things to see and do here, including a café, Sophie’s Pond, miniature railway, fairy garden, play area and of course the Chapel.
The Chapel was once at the heart of the Royal Victoria Military Hospital, which opened in 1863 and treated military personnel from across the British Empire. The hospital building was demolished 60 years ago, leaving the Chapel standing alone (and the War Graves Cemetery). On Saturdays, the Chapel opens to visitors at 10.30 am.
It is possible to climb to the top of the 45 metre tall Chapel Tower for panoramic views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, the New Forest and the South Downs. Tickets cost £3.75.
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