This circular walk encapsulates all that is special in the New Forest. You’ll pass through rolling heathlands, tranquil meandering streams, lowland bogs and ancient woodland – all within just three miles. In late summer, when the heather is in full bloom on the open heathland, the views across the open expanses are spectacular.
From the Whitefield Moor car park cross Rhinefield Road and join the narrow track beside the P Parking signpost as it heads out across the heathland. After about 250m, it merges with another path. Continue straight for another 350m as the path gradually climbs along the side of Red Hill before descending towards a causeway.
Turn right after the causeway and immediately cross another causeway over Silver Stream. The path climbs again and bends around to the left, eventually meeting the clump of pine trees at Crab Tree Earth.
Continue walking with the trees on your right and sweeping views over Holmhill Bog to your left and the trees of Wilverley Inclosure away in the distance.
Having climbed Holm Hill, take a right turn. After about 300m, the gravel path eventually gives way to a rougher heathland track, with Crab Tree Bog to your right.
After a short climb, the path enters Clumber Inclosure. After walking for about 150m through the pine trees, turn right a crossroads in the paths.
You may catch a glimpse of the majestic Rhinefield House. Now a luxury hotel, it was originally built in the 1880s by the Walker-Munro family.
The Great House, designed by architects Romaine-Walker and Tanner of London, incorporates a mixture of styles including Tudor and Gothic. Inside, the Grand Hall has many features of Westminster Hall and the master’s smoking room is inspired by the splendour of the Alhambra Palace in Granada.
After it was sold by the family it was used by a private school before it became a hotel in 1982 and was taken over by current owners Hand Picked Hotels in 1999.
Follow the path through the woods for a further 500m until it brings you out at a barrier on to Rhinefield Road.
Cross the road and take the path straight ahead into Aldridgehill Inclosure.
Walk for about 350m until you reach another crossroads in the paths. Take the wide path on the right – keeping a fenced-off area of oak saplings to your right.
The track takes you gradually downhill through oak and beech woodland before joining the path which follows the Ober Water. Cross a small grassy area and turn left on to the gravel path.
Another 500m will bring you to a footbridge over the Ober Water. Cross it and head back to the car park at the top of the grassy bank.