Bolderwood is one of the most popular spots for visitors to the New Forest – and it’s easy to see why. With a large car park, facilities and picnic tables, it’s a great starting point for short family walks to really experience a flavour of the New Forest.
This enjoyable short walk follows the Radnor trail, with an extension offering views over open forest heathland. It’s a real family favourite as it’s on smooth gravel tracks which are passable throughout the year. Benches and picnic tables are dotted along the pathside, making for plenty of stopping points to enjoy the forest vistas.
From the car park, cross the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive and go through the pedestrian gate alongside the cattle grid. Turn right down the hill the short distance towards the deer viewing platform.
Looking out from the platform, you may be able to see the herd of fallow deer in the deer sanctuary. There are also information boards explaining about the various species of deer in the New Forest.
Follow the path down through the trees as it turns right and continues downhill as part of the Radnor Trail – named after William Pleydell, Bouverie, 7th Earl of Radnor who was chairman of the Forestry Commission from 1952 to 1963 and Official Verderer of the New Forest 1964 – 1966.
Continue downhill on the path before it bends round to the left. Turn right when you meet a T-junction with a red and blue marker post.
Turn right and follow the path as it gradually heads downhill for 380m through the arboretum, with sweet chestnut trees as well as oak and beech dating from the 1860s.
At a bench and blue marker post, take the path on the right for another 50m to a junction with a red marker post. Take the path off to the left.
Continue on the path, passing over a stream after about 300m. After another 300m, there is a path and a bench off to the right. Follow the path as it gradually snakes downhill until it reaches a small footbridge over Bratley Water. The stream gently flows south to join the Blackwater, a tributary of the Lymington River.
Turn right after the footbridge and, after 200m, the path crosses Bratley Water again. Continue straight ahead and the path gradually begins to climb.
After 300m, go through an inclosure gate to exit Bolderwood Grounds. To your right are the fields of the deer sanctuary where you may be able to spot the fallow herd grazing.
The path opens out with views on the left over heathland towards Bratley Wood and Bratley Inclosure.
You’ll eventually reach a crossroads on the paths – turn right and continue for 250m until you reach the ornamental drive.
Taking care along the roadside, walk back towards the car park.