The New Forest has the advantage of being relatively flat with a network of compacted gravel cycle paths. These are generally accessible for wheelchair users and those with limited mobility to enjoy the forest’s woodlands and open spaces.
Of course, any path is subject to natural obstacles such as fallen trees and wet weather conditions can make tracks difficult. And, being a working forest, there are obstacles such as cattle grids to be aware of.
There are a number of designated accessible footpaths maintained by Forestry England. These are aimed at making the woodlands available to all, regardless of mobility issues. Some car parks have disabled parking spaces. However only a handful have basic toilet or changing facilities.
The following organisations and individuals have produced a variety of useful advice, suggested routes and information for anyone planning to explore the New Forest using a wheelchair. Inclusion is not a recommendation or endorsement.A full list of available accessible walks, both in the heart of the forest and along the coast is available on Visit the New Forest. Some of the most popular include the loop walk at the Tall Trees at Rhinefield which has a gravel or firm grass/gravel surface. Or visit the New Forest Reptile Centre, accessible along the surrounding compacted gravel paths. Travel bloggers Adventure Wheels have featured three great accessible routes in the New Forest among their extensive online travel guides. New for 2024, Wild New Forest is offering walks for people with limited mobility, with health conditions or impairments that makes access challenging. The walks, focusing on all aspects of wildlife, history and management of the New Forest, will be at a slow pace to enable everyone to enjoy the surroundings. The walks are free and scheduled for every other month. If you fancy a visit to the coast, New Forest Access For All created a 1.9 mile route which runs from Keyhaven car park. You can take in views of Keyhaven Harbour, the Solent and see a wide variety of wetland bird species. Wheelchair Walks Hampshire have tested a number of routes throughout the county suitable for an all-terrain buggy. They include the stunning Ashley Walk path from Godshill. Accessible Countryside for Everyone (ACE) is a national charity promoting countryside accessibility. Their Hampshire Countryside Accessibility page includes detailed information on routes throughout the New Forest. To enjoy the forest on wheels, Pedall offers inclusive cycle hire with tours from Ashurst and Burley. These run all year-around, with all routes risk assessed. Their fully-qualified team is on hand to find the perfect cycle suited to each rider. They hold an extensive range of specialist cycles and bikes with a variety of sizes, seating and steering positions.