This circular walk in the heart of the New Forest takes in woodland inclosures near the popular destination of Bolderwood.
The route follows the gently meandering Highland Water and climbs Acres Down for magnificent views over the forest and beyond.
From the Bolderwood car park, walk along the roadside towards the Canadian War Memorial – the simple wooden cross commemorates the Canadian forces stationed in the New Forest before the D-Day invasion of 6 June 1944. Before the invasion, Canadians would gather here for church services.
Stay on the main gravel path to the left when it forks after about 150m. Continue for almost 1km – going straight ahead at cycle route marker post 102 – until the path eventually sweeps round to the right.
After another 500m, turn left to cross the bridge over the Highland Water.
The path splits about 150m after the bridge – take the path on the left and make another left turn after 250m. Continue to walk uphill towards Puckpits Inclosure, going straight ahead at a couple of crossroads.
Follow the gravel path through the inclosure. The Victorian plantation has some spectacular tall larch trees. It is reputedly known for appearances of New Forest pixies – hence the name inspired by Shakespeare’s character Puck. Stick to the main gravel path as it curves through the inclosure. There is a steep down-and-uphill stretch just after the inclosure boundary before the path gently sweeps downhill for another 1km and meets a gravel cycle path.
Turn left and head through Wick Wood towards the Acres Down car park.
Beyond the car park is the Acres Down Farm Shop and tearooms so is a great place for a half-way stop. Or climb the track from the car park up on to Acres Down.
The top of Acres Down is one of the highest points in the New Forest. If you look to the south east on a clear day you can see the ships on Southampton Water as well as the rolling downs of the Isle of Wight.
After the open space at the top, head downhill through the trees between The Knowles and Wood Crates. The path can be boggy following wet weather and there is a stream to cross, but you will meet the main gravel cycle path at Millyford Bridge after a walk of about 1km from the top of Acres Down.
Turn right at a small patch of lawn onto the cycle path and go through the gate in to Holmhill Inclosure.
After about 1.2km, the path forks – take the path on the left.
The path splits again after about 250m – this time take the right hand path and continue to follow it as it winds through the inclosure.
You’ll come to a cycle marker post after another 1.3km. Turn left uphill and a 400m walk brings you out at a gate opposite Bolderwood car park.