As 2023 draws to a close, we’ve compiled the top 10 most popular walks in the New Forest over the past year, based on page visits on NewForestWalks.co.uk.
Our most popular route is a great walk connecting two of the main villages in the forest with alternative starting points in both Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst. It means you can take a break in the other village at the half-way point before completing the walk. Depending on the time of year, it’ll take you through bluebell glades, lush green beech and oak woods and heathland full of blooming heather – so you can experience the diverse landscapes of the New Forest during one amazing four-hour walk.
Our second most popular walk takes you on a circular route through mixed woodland from the village of Fritham. Visit two historical inclosures before you enjoy the sweeping views from the open expanse of Fritham Plain. And you can finish at the Royal Oak in Fritham for an authentic New Forest pub experience.
A short walk following the meandering Ober Water near Brockenhurst is our third most popular walk. Follow the gravel track alongside the stream before crossing the footbridge and walking along open grassland where New Forest ponies, donkeys and cattle graze.
The ever-popular trail through the majestic redwoods and firs that were planted in the Victorian era is another wonderful way to immerse yourself in the natural surroundings of the New Forest. Look out for giant Douglas Fir and towering Redwoods. Inside the arboretum you can find tree species brought from around the globe. Blackwater car park has toilet and picnic facilities making it a great base for exploring this part of the forest.
Explore the woodland surrounding the picturesque hamlet of Bank, close to Lyndhurst, on this 4.5-mile walk. From Brick Kiln Lane, follow gravel cycle tracks to a deer sanctuary before following a track deep into the woods. You’ll emerge at Bank to enjoy a stop at the fabulous Oak Inn.
Another walk near Lyndhurst, this figure-of-eight route takes you through the wonderful Pondhead Inclosure. Its ancient and coppiced woodland has been specially managed by a team of volunteers to encourage wildlife diversity. Look out for Balanos the dragon and the charcoal burning in the inclosure before walking along Beechen Lane. The path is known to date back centuries and could have been used by the Cistercian monks who established the monastery at Beaulieu in the Middle Ages.
A circular walk, convenient for both Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst, this route takes in New Forest woodlands of New Park Plantation and Aldridgehill Inclosure. It crosses gentle meandering streams and there is a chance to spot deer at Poundhill Heath.
Arrive and leave the New Forest by train with this walk linking two stations on the South West main line. After leaving Sway and cutting through Set Thorns Inclosure, you’ll follow the route of the old Castleman’s Corkscrew train line which linked Brockenhurst and Ringwood.
A nature reserve managed by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Roydon Woods is 390 hectares of woodland and wildlife habitats on the edge of Brockenhurst. Follow the path as it sweeps through the reserve. In springtime this is another wonderful site to see a display of bluebells.
Wrapping up our Top, 10 is this great pub walk starting from, and ending at, the popular High Corner Inn. Explore the woods of Broomy Inclosure before a climb to Hallickshole Hill. Explore Sloden Inclosure and then the route brings you back downhill and through Holly Hatch Inclosure ready for a thirst-quenching return to the pub.