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You are here:home > Leisure > Parks and Green Spaces > Greenways > Monks Brook Greenway

Monks Brook Greenway

Image of Monks Brook GreenwayMonks Brook Greenway runs from Monks Path which is off of St Marys Church Close to Monksbrook Meadow on the edge of the city. It comprises of a mainly wooded environment which closely follows the river.

At its southern end it links into the Itchen Valley conservation area joining the footpath network which runs from Cobden Bridge northwards into the Itchen Valley Country Park and beyond along the Itchen Navigation Heritage Trail to Winchester.

Monks Brook Greenway 1.5 km long forms an important green corridor, which extends from outside the city boundary and follows the Monks Brook which is a tributary of the River Itchen. The water table lies close to the surface over most of the greenway enabling wetland plants to flourish.

For the majority of its length Monks Brook Greenway has a wooded character with the brook running through a fairly shallow valley. In the northern most part trees lining the brook and a railway embankment enclose an area of wet meadow and bur-reed marsh. A footpath runs from the Fleming Arms public house on Mansbridge Road northwards to Stoneham Way.

The riverbank in this northern section is honey-combed by bank vole burrows. Such river banks are scarce within the city. A number of woodland plants occur by the river including bluebell, moschatel and pignut.

Roe deer have been observed at this end of the greenway. Both sexes make a sharp bark which resembles that of a dog. The Roe deer is the smallest native deer in Europe and has virtually no tail.

An area of bur-reed marsh is also present which is unique in the city. In the damp meadow adjacent to this, large clumps of comfrey with their white or mauve flowers, can be seen. Comfrey is also known as ‘knit-bone’ due to its ability to heal wounds.

The Grange is the most open area of Monks Brook Greenway and is located to the south of the Fleming Arms public house. The area consists mainly of grassland with woodland along the east and west boundaries and an area of wetland. A group of Ailanthus (tree of heaven) can be seen in the centre of this area.

South of The Grange the greenway becomes very narrow, with a footpath running beside the brook. This southern end of the greenway is dominated by Alder, Sallow and Purple toothwort. This parasitic plant looks like a fungus until the purple flower develops. It contains no green chlorophyll pigment and relies on the roots of Willow trees to obtain food.

Kingfishers may be seen as a flash of blue flitting up and down the river. The banks at Monks Brook are not large enough for them to nest in but they use stream valleys as a means of flying from place to place.

Remains dating from the Bronze Age through to the Saxon period have been found in the area around Monks Brook Greenway.

Monks Brook Greenway Local History

1. Monks Brook

Monks Brook is a tributary of the River Itchen and flows into the river from Woodmill.  The name Monks Brook is derived from the monks of Hyde Abbey who owned North Stoneham in the 14th century.  The brook is the maeron broc (boundary brook) of the 932 North Stoneham Charter and its lower reaches were called 'Swaethling Well' in the 1045 South Stoneham Charter.  The estates of North and South Stoneham passed into private hands in the 1530’s.

Milne’s map of 1791 shows North Stoneham Park which extended as far a Stoneham Lane and this park is believed to have been a deer closure in the 14th century.

2. Mills on this part of the River Itchen

Woodmill was originally a corn mill.  In the 1780’s it was taken over by Walter Taylor who expanded the premises and built a steam driven mill turning out wood blocks for the Royal Navy.  (Taylor is reputed to by the inventor of the circular saw).

To the south east of Monks Brook at Mansbridge on the banks of the Itchen a paper mill was built in the 17th century.  In 1724 the paper mill company obtained the contract for making bank notes for the Bank of England.  Until 1731 the bank notes were conveyed by wagon to Newbury and from there by canal to London.

3. The Grange

To the south of the roundabout at Mansbridge Road is the site of The Grange which was built by the Dummer family in 1705 on the site of an earlier dwelling.  The house a red brick mansion in Queen Anne style underwent several phases of building.  It was badly damaged by a fire in 1964 and was demolished in 1974.

4. Capability Brown

Much of the landscape which surrounds Monks Brook Greenway is thought to reflect the influence of the famous landscape architect Capability Brown in the late 18th century.  This included the landscaping for South Stoneham House and North Stoneham Park.

Images of Monks Brook Greenway

Monks Brook - The Grange

Monks Brook Greenway marker post

Monks Brook - The Grange

Image of Monks Brook Greenway

Monks Brook - The Grange

Image of Monks Brook Greenway

Contact information

  • 0800 519 1919
  • Parks and Street Cleansing (RL) Southampton City Council, Civic Centre, Southampton, SO14 7LY