Best walks in New Forest National Park

New Forest National Park is famed for its beautiful heathland and myriad forest trails – discover its beauty on foot with our favourite walks 
2nd May 2018
New Forest

The New Forest is anything but new. It was created by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a place where he could hunt deer and wild pigs – the so called ‘beasts of the chase’.

Nowadays, the landscape's use has change dramatically, largely thanks to the designation of the New Forest National Park in 2005.

From vast heathland hills and ancient trees, to butterflies, reptiles, wading birds and wild ponies, the national park is a vital refuge for some of Britain's most precious species.

We've compiled a list of some of our favourite walks in the national park, from food trails and woodland rambles, to the 60-mile Solent Way.

Denny Wood, Hampshire
Fallow Deer
he New Forest's beech woodlands have changed little since William and his nobles hunted there over nine centuries ago ©Getty

An easy three-mile walk into the glorious and historic New Forest National Park. Route and map

Solent Way, Hampshire
Lymington marshes
All of the walk is level and is either on rights of way or quiet lanes. Note that after heavy rain the path next to the river can get muddy ©Getty

The Solent Way is a 60-mile coast path, which starts in Milford-on-Sea and ends in Emsworth Harbour, and a large part of the route goes through the national park. Discover a new side to the New Forest with this 10-mile section from Lymington to Beaulieu. Route and map.

Beaulieu Food Trail, Hampshire
Beaulieu
Cistercian monks founded an abbey in 1204, naming it Beau-lieu, meaning beautiful place ©Getty

Explore the beautiful Hampshire village of Beaulieu before following the Beaulieu River south to  the shipbuilding village of Bucklers Hard. The route is 2.2 miles each way, but your day out can be as long or short as you like. Route and Map.

Avon Valley Path, Hampshire/Wiltshire
Fordingbridge
The town of Fordingbridge sits ten miles south of Salisbury on the Avon Valley Path ©Getty

The 34-mile Avon Valley Path runs north to south from the Cathedral city of Salisbury along the border of the New Forest National Park to Christchurch on the south coast.  Walk a small section of this historic waymarked path, or take on the whole lot over several days. Route and map.

Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst, Hampshire
pony new forest
Spot ponies alongside the path ©Getty

This 6.5-mile walk starts at Hollands Wood in Brockenhurst, winding through wildlife-rich forests to Beechen Lane in Lyndhurst. Look out for deer and ponies as you make your way north towards the 'capital' of the New Forest. Route and map.

Milford Bridge, Hampshire
Kingfisher
Look for the metallic blue flash of a kingfisher on Highland Water ©Getty

Spot kingfishers and grey wagtails on this short walk as it winds through oak and conifer beside Highland Water right in the middle of the New Forest. Route and map.

Find out more about the New Forest National Park.

Main image ©Getty

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