West Parley to Throop Mill & Kingfisher Centre

Sunset River Stour

The Stour on the Merritown loop

West Parley offers two separate downriver pathways along the Stour Valley Way. One pathway takes you to the Kingfisher centre along the Western bank and one that takes you to Throop Mill along the eastern bank.

If you start at the Pear pub & diner and walk down the main road towards Parley crossroads you will come across a gravel road called the Ridgeway almost opposite Chine Walk. Turn down the gravel road and walk to the end. The signposted path will lead you across fields.

After about 200 yards bear left. The path will take you behind a farm. Eventually the path takes you out onto the main A347 road. For here you cross the road and either turn left to go up to the Merritown loop that leads to Throop mill (about three miles) or turn right to go to the Kingfisher centre (about 2 miles).

Towards the Kingfisher Centre.

On turning right continue down the main road, over the bridge and onward to the Kingfisher Centre. The road is busy but even so the outlook soon loses its urban feel and the outlook is over open fields.

At Ensbury bridge good views both down stream and upstream can be had. Continue on. Even the streetlamps have been used to mark the route and sport Stour valley Way logos. After about 300 yewards you come to a signposted turning on the left which takes you down a lane, past some houses and eventually alongside the river. Eventually you arrive at the Kingfisher centre.

A view upstream from Ensbury Bridge

A view upstream from Ensbury Bridge

A river view along the way to the Kingfisher Centre

A river view along the way to the Kingfisher Centre

Merritown loop to Throop Mill

On turning left walk up the mian road and take the signposted lane off to the right after about 150 yeards. The lane leads you down to Church Lane. At Church lane turn right and continue until you reach a signpost labelling the Stour Valley Way. From here you can continue or you could also take an interesting small detour down to the river by continuing down Church Lane.

All Saints Church. West Parley

All Saints Church. West Parley. Dating from the 12th Century

Church Lane Detour

At the end of Church lane there is (unsurprisingly) a church. In fact All Staints Church is the original church for West Parley and dates from the 12th century. It is a pretty place. As you enter the church yard immediately on the right is a grave marking a tragedy from the early part of the 20th century.

Two young girls (one 16 the other 22) were drowned in an accident on the river Stour in thick fog in 1908. The grave usually has some stones, tokens or other markers placed on it by passing ramblers. A tragedy. So long ago. To two (now unknown) youngsters. But it can still touch people to this day.

On leaving the church yard continue down by the side of the church and you will come out by the river. Here the river bank is owned by a fishing club and is inaccessble but there are some nice views over the river even so. The path eventually leads to a dead end but even so it is a pleasant detour.

The Stour Valley Way path that leads off Church lane takes you over open fields and to the back of Parley Green and Parley Manor car park. Here the signposting gets a little vague and could be improved. Follow the path round the back of the centre until you come to a narrow lane. Turn right down this lane for about 30 yards until you come to a junction with Parley Green lane. Turn left onto Parley Green Lane and walk up past a duck pond. When the road veers round to the left do a small dog leg instead and continue straight on (see photo). You are actually still on Parley Green Lane. This takes you to Parley Golf Centre. Follow the lane right to the end then veer round to the left. The river is immediately on your right.


The Merritown lane dogleg. Go to the right of the post box then straight ahead.

River Stour just upstream from Throop Mill

Nearly there! River Stour just upstream from Throop Mill

Follow the path and you end up crossing a small private road that leads to a sewage works. Keep on the path and follow it towards Merritown farm (look for the “Pony Palace” sign). When you get to what appears to be a car park you can go one of two ways. Continue down the track to the right will take you down to the golf course. From here you need to cross the golf course and make your way south-east (here I am unsure if there is a right of way - TBD). Walking along the track eventually you join a footpath coming down from Dales Lane (see below). This then takes you along the river bank.

If instead of veering off to the right at Merritown farm you continue straight on you come to a locked gate (footpath by it's side is unimpeded.) This gate separates Merritown Lane from Dales Lane. Go straight ahead and past the gate and into Dales Lane. The lane is immediately behind the "Adventure Wonderland" Theme Park. After you have passed the theme park you can then either turn down a footpath that leads you down to the river and join the route along the river, or you can continue straight on. If you continue straight on eventually Dales Lane turns into Pig Shoot lane. Pig Shoot Lane finally peters out and turns into a ("Hurn to Moordown Way"?) footpath. This takes you to an path running upstream along the river Stour. You will end up Throop Mill weir.