River Itchen Facts

Located in the county of Hampshire, England, the River Itchen rises to the south of the town of New Alresford and flows into Southampton Water below the Itchen Bridge.

Facts About the River Itchen

  • The meaning of the name Itchen is thought to be from a Brittonic language, but the meaning is unknown.
  • The River Itchen is 42 km (26 miles) in length.
  • It flows through the villages of Cheriton and Tichborne, and flows past the villages of Avington, Itchen, Itchen Abbas, Martyr Worthy, and Abbots Worthy.
  • It also flows through the city of Winchester.
The River Itchen at Winchester
The River Itchen at Winchester
  • Some of the river’s anabranches (branching streams coming from the main river before rejoining them later) have caused damage to the foundations of Winchester Cathedral.
  • Several bridges span the River Itchen, including the Cobden Bridge, the Northam Bridge, and the Itchen Bridge.
  • The River Itchen flows past St Mary’s Stadium, the home of Southampton Football Club.
  • The lower course of the River Itchen is a popular location for yachting. More than ten marinas, wharves, and quays are located on this portion of the river.
  • The River Itchen is home to lots of wildlife including otters, water voles, and Atlantic salmon.
  • The river passes through the Winchester City Mill, a surviving example of a water-powered corn mill.
  • The River Itchen is an example of a chalk stream, rivers that rise from spings in landscapes with bedrock of chalk.
  • For much of the River Itchen’s course the river is divided into two channels running in parallel next to each other.
  • Built in 1710, the Itchen Navigation canal system was fed by waters from the River Itchen. Disused since 1869, it provided a trading route from Winchester to the sea at Southampton.
  • The River Itchen becomes tidal after it passes under Woodmill Bridge in Swaythling.
  • Wild swimmers often swim in the River Itchen at St Cross and in the deep pool at Compton Lock.

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