This walk takes you through several inclosures in the heart of the New Forest as well as passing evidence of the role the forest played in World War One.
From the Millyford Bridge car park, take the path alongside the Highland Water heading into the woods. The stream meanders through the forest towards Brockenhurst and eventually becomes the Lymington River.
After about 400m, go through the gate into Holmhill Inclosure. Follow the gravel path straight through the inclosure as it crosses the Highland Water again. When it eventually forks after about 1.1km, follow it round to the left.
There is another junction a short distance later, but continue to follow the path round to the left. Continue straight for about 750m and the gravel path eventually narrows to a forest track. After passing through another inclosure gate, the path becomes less defined but you will eventually emerge on the Bolderwood-Emery Down road.
Cross the road and go through the gate into Holidays Hill Inclosure. After a short 150m downhill stretch, the path forks at a pond. Look out for the large wooden sculpture of a frog. Stay right as the path forks. After a short distance, take a right turn and complete a 2.7km loop taking you into Wooson’s Hill Inclosure and eventually back to the pond. Alternatively, 300m before the pond, a track off to the right takes you through the woods to the New Forest Reptile Centre.
From the pond, head back to the gate and turn right on to the track running alongside the road. You’ll soon reach the unusual sight of a fireplace situated in a grassy clearing close to the road. Known as the Portuguese Fireplace, it is all that is left of a cookhouse used by Portuguese soldiers stationed to work as lumberjacks in the New Forest during World War One. During the war, the New Forest was a source of wood for props in the trenches. Many ponies were rounded up and taken to France as working animals, while sphagnum moss was also collected from the forest’s bogs and mires as its antibacterial qualities were used to help treat battlefield injuries.
Continue along the roadside for 200m to take you back to Millyford Bridge car park.