Walking in the New Forest

30 Walks in the New Forest National Park

By Steve Davison

A guidebook to 30 day 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 make up longer challenges.



any time of the year; spring brings new life into the forest, summers are mild and the ground is usually dry although this is peak tourist season, autumn brings vivid displays of colour and good clear days, winter has shorter days with the least number of visitors, but some routes can become wet underfoot


Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Lymington, Ringwood, Fordingbridge


walks between 3 and 10 miles; terrain fairly flat; paths range from good gravel tracks to narrow paths over open heath; some stream crossings without bridges, though these should not pose any difficulties unless there has been heavy rainfall; navigation straightforward with care sometimes required on indistinct paths over open heath, or through woods
Must See

Must See

walks in forests, ancient and ornamental woods, open heaths, rivers and coastal stretches; historic churches and ancient sites; New Forest ponies to deer, birds, plants and all six native reptiles; the largest remaining area of lowland heath in Europe
17 Apr 2012
11 Apr 2019
17.2 x 11.6 x 1.2cm
  • Overview

    Thanks to William the Conqueror, who set it aside as a royal hunting ground in 1079, the New Forest has been protected by ancient laws for over 900 years. Situated in Hampshire on the south coast of England, it was given National Park status in 2005, helping to further conserve its captivating landscape.

    It is Britain’s smallest national park but offers a wide range of terrain to suit the taste of every walker - ancient woodland, empty heather-clad heath, captivating coastline and many streams and rivers.

    The 30 walks in this guidebook use well-defined tracks and paths to visit interesting historic sites, colourful gardens and picture-postcard villages. They cover all areas of the New Forest National Park and can be shortened or lengthened to suit walkers of all abilities.

    • 30 walks from 3 to 10 miles, suitable for all the family
    • alternatives, shortcuts and detours are given, while many adjacent routes can be joined for full-day walks
    • clear route descriptions with detailed 1:25,000 OS map extracts and colour photographs
  • Contents

    Plants and wildlife
    History of the New Forest
    Walking in the New Forest
    Using the guide
    Getting to the New Forest
    Getting around the New Forest
    Food and drink
    Where to stay
    Countryside Codes
    Access and rights of way
    The New Forest online
    Longer walks and long-distance routes
    The Walks
    Walk 1 Langley Wood and Hamptworth
    Walk 2 Godshill and Castle Hill
    Walk 3 Hatchet Green and Woodgreen
    Walk 4 Bramshaw Telegraph and Eyeworth Pond
    Walk 5 Bramshaw Church and Nomansland
    Walk 6 Abbots Well and Alderhill Inclosure
    Walk 7 Fritham and Cadman’s Pool
    Walk 8 Janesmoor Pond and the Rufus Stone
    Walk 9 High Corner Inn and Ogden’s Purlieu
    Walk 10 Appleslade Bottom to Rockford via Ibsley Common
    Walk 11 Castle Piece and Linford Brook
    Walk 12 Exploring Bolderwood
    Walk 13 Minstead and Furzey Gardens
    Walk 14 Portuguese Fireplace and the Knightwood Oak
    Walk 15 Bank and Gritnam
    Walk 16 Ober Water and Blackwater Arboretum
    Walk 17 Holmsley Walk and Burley
    Walk 18 Wilverley Inclosure and Castleman’s Corkscrew
    Walk 19 Lyndhurst and Bolton’s Bench
    Walk 20 Ashurst figure-of-eight
    Walk 21 Beaulieu Road and Bishop’s Dyke
    Walk 22 King’s Hat, Dibden Bottom and the Beaulieu River
    Walk 23 Stubby Copse Inclosure and Balmer Lawn
    Walk 24 Brockenhurst and Dilton
    Walk 25 Hatchet Pond and Hawkhill Inclosure
    Walk 26 Beaulieu River from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard
    Walk 27 Setley Common and Boldre Church
    Walk 28 Exploring the coastline from Lymington to Keyhaven
    Walk 29 Milford on Sea and Hurst Castle
    Walk 30 Lepe and Exbury

    Appendix A Route summary table
    Appendix B Useful contact information
    Appendix C Glossary
    Appendix D Bibliography

  • Maps

    This guide contains extracts from the Ordnance Survey 1:25,000 Explorer series maps, with the route marked on, along with any shortcuts and extensions. These maps have a scale of 4cm to 1km (2½ inches to 1 mile) and offer a high level of detail, such as the location of a path in relation to a forest ride or boundary, making route finding much easier. All of the walks can be found on the Ordnance Survey Explorer Map OL22 – New Forest, except for Walk 1 which also requires Map 131 – Romsey, Andover & Test Valley.

    The grid references given in the guide are generated from the National Grid, and each map is divided by a series of vertical and horizontal lines to create a grid with a spacing of 1km. You can locate a point on a map, accurate to within 100m, using a grid reference made up of two letters and six numbers. The two letters correspond to the 100,000m square in which the grid reference lies. The first two digits of the six-figure number correspond to the vertical line (‘easting’) to the left of the point of interest, using the horizontal numbers along the bottom and top of the map; the third digit is the tenths of the square (equivalent to 100m). Next take the fourth and fifth digits, and move up the map to locate the horizontal line (‘northing’) below the point of interest; the last digit is again the number of tenths moving up through the square. Always remember: the horizontal numbers come before the vertical ones.

  • Updates
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    May 2019

    Walk 11 (page 85)

    In the first paragraph replace the existing text "At the split fork slightly right past an old vehicle barrier and follow the track over the open heath – the trees on the left start to fall away" with the following text:

    "At the split where the tarred track goes left and the gravel track goes straight on, fork slightly right past a vehicle barrier and follow the path over the open heath – the trees on the left start to fall away".

    In the second paragraph replace "SU 182 084" with "SU 183 084".

    July 2018

    Walk 24 (pages 161 and 162):

    Unfortunately, access to the permissive path that is used near the end of the walk has been removed by the landowner. The revised route now follows Mill Lane:

    To continue with the main walk turn right along Mill Lane for 1.2km and after crossing the Lymington River and a cattle grid turn right alongside the road and soon fork right through the trees to reach the car park.

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Steve Davison

Steve Davison is a freelance writer and photographer who has written several walking guides. He has also written for a number of outdoor magazines and other publications, including local and national newspapers, specialising in hill walking and European travel, with interests in nature, geology and the countryside. A keen hill walker for many years and a Mountain Leader, Steve has also worked as a part-time outdoor education instructor. He is also a member of the Outdoor Writers and Photographers Guild.

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