Monks Brook Greenway

Monks Brook Greenway runs from Monks Path which is off of St Marys Church Close to Monks Brook 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.