Introduction to the New Forest
The New Forest is a delight to explore, whether wandering through historic villages or feeling at one with nature deep in an ancient wood listening to the sounds of nature.
Thanks to the fairly level terrain, mixed with a of myriad well-defined tracks and paths, the forest is bestowed with a wide range of family-friendly walks, while those seeking the quieter parts can explore the network of narrower paths over the open heath, through forested areas where careful map reading may be required.
Walking in the New Forest
30 Walks in the New Forest National Park
A guidebook to 30 walks of between 3 and 10 miles set throughout the New Forest National Park in Hampshire and Wiltshire. Routes explore ancient woodland, heather-clad heath and dramatic coastline, all within easy reach of Southampton, Bournemouth and Salisbury. Walks for all abilities, easily combined to create longer challenges.More information
How large is the New Forest?
The New Forest National Park covers 570 square kilometres (220 square miles).
When is the best time to go to the New Forest?
Always make every effort to avoid disturbing the wildlife and keep dogs under close control, particularly between March and July when the forest is home to ground-nesting birds such as the curlew and snipe.
As for the weather, Summers in the forest tend to be dry; though this is also the time of year with the highest number of visitors. Spring heralds new life, with vivid greens on the trees, colourful displays of flowers and abundant birdsong. Late Summer sees the heather on the open heath turn to a carpet of purple, and cool Autumn nights herald a dramatic change, with the trees becoming clothed in spectacular shades of russet, gold and brown.
Winter months bring spells of rain that can make some parts of the forest rather wet underfoot, but a cold clear Winter’s day can be a magical experience.
What to do in the New Forest
The Cicerone Guide to the New Forest is full of suggestions with fantastic resources to plan your visit. You can view the list of walks at the bottom of this page, with details on each.
If you're interested in the history, geology and wildlife of the New Forest, Cicerone author Steve Davison has written a fantastic article below.
Feature · 4 Oct 2023
History of the New Forest
The New Forest is a unique and captivating landscape of open heath and ancient woodland. Cicerone author Steve Davison explains all you need to know about the area.
The New Forest Code
- Be safe and plan ahead – follow any signs and aim to be out of the Forest by dusk
- Close all gates behind you unless they have been fastened open
- Do not pick or remove plants or flowers
- Do not feed or disturb the common stock – ponies, cattle and donkeys; give them space and do not touch them
- Take your litter home and do not light fires
- Keep to the existing tracks in the Forest when the birds nest on the ground (1 March–31 July); at this time keep your dog close by you or you may be asked by a Forest Ranger or Keeper to put it on a lead
- Keep below the Forest speed limit (40mph) and slow down when approaching walkers, riders or livestock
- Do not park on the verges or in gateways; use one of the many car parks
- Keep well away from any forestry work and obey the warning signs
New Forest Walks
Listed below are the walks included in the Cicerone Guide, with basic information on each. Purchase the guide for fantastic, in-depth information on each route, including maps, alternative routes to extend/shorten your journey, visit local landmarks, include a pub visit on your walk & more!
|1||Langley Wood and Hamptworth||8.5km (5¼ miles)||2½hr|
|2||Godshill and Castle Hill||7.5km (4¾ miles)||2¼hr|
|3||Hatchet Green and Woodgreen||9.5km (5¾ miles)||2¾hr|
|4||Bramshaw Telegraph and Eyeworth Pond||10.5km (6½ miles)||3hr|
|5||Bramshaw Church and Nomansland||8km (5 miles)||2¼hr|
|6||Abbots Well and Alderhill Inclosure||8.5km (5¼ miles)||2¼hr|
|7||Fritham and Cadman’s Pool||10.5km (6½ miles)||3hr|
|8||Janesmoor Pond and the Rufus Stone||9km (5½ miles)||2½hr|
|9||High Corner Inn and Ogden’s Purlieu||5km (3¼ miles)||1½hr|
|10||Appleslade Bottom to Rockford via Ibsley Common||9.5km (6 miles)||2¾hr|
|11||Castle Piece and Linford Brook||7.5km (4¾ miles)||2¼hr|
|12||Exploring Bolderwood||5.5km (3½ miles)||1½hr|
|13||Minstead and Furzey Gardens||8.5km (5¼ miles)||2½hr|
|14||Portuguese Fireplace and the Knightwood Oak||9.5km (6 miles)||2¾hr|
|15||Bank and Gritnam||9km (5½ miles)||2½hr|
|16||Ober Water and Blackwater Arboretum||13km (8 miles)||3½hr|
|17||Holmsley Walk and Burley||9.5km (6 miles)||2¾hr|
|18||Wilverley Inclosure and Castleman’s Corkscrew||10.5km (6½ miles)||3hr|
|19||Lyndhurst and Bolton’s Bench||11km (7 miles)||3¼hr|
|20||Ashurst figure-of-eight||9km (5½ miles)||2½hr|
|21||Beaulieu Road and Bishop’s Dyke||9.5km (6 miles)||2½hr|
|22||King’s Hat, Dibden Bottom and the Beaulieu River||10km (6¼ miles)||2¾hr|
|23||Stubby Copse Inclosure and Balmer Lawn||8km (5 miles)||2¼hr|
|24||Brockenhurst and Dilton||13.5km (8½ miles)||3¾hr|
|25||Hatchet Pond and Hawkhill Inclosure||7.5km (4¾ miles)||2hr|
|26||Beaulieu River from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard||7.5km (4¾ miles)||2¼hr|
|27||Setley Common and Boldre Church||10.5km (6½ miles)||3hr|
|28||Exploring the coastline from Lymington to Keyhaven||15.5km (9¾ miles)||4hr|
|29||Milford on Sea and Hurst Castle||6km (3¾ miles)||1½hr|
|30||Lepe and Exbury||9.5km (6 miles)||2½hr|
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