hikes in New Forest National Park
Walks in New Forest National Park
Expect to meander some paths lined by secluded woodland, but New Forest NP is mainly known for its misty landscape where heathland scenery will have you feeling you've fallen into the pages of a storybook set in simpler times sometimes in the past. This park was first used in 1079, after all! The wide-open landscape is fantastic for wildlife seekers—marvel at deer roaming the land, rare birds soaring above, while the wild ponies add a fairytale layer to the New Forest's folklore scenery. Oh, and you'll be pleasantly surprised to know that this national park boasts 40 miles of remote coastline that not many people know about, so whenever you get bored of the heathland, head to the coast for some walking adventures.
One of the best ways to immerse and experience this park's wonders is to explore it on foot! Read on to find some of the best walks in New Forest National Park.
10 Stunning Walks in New Forest National Park
One of the best things about walks in New Forest National Park is the variety of adventures offered, ranging from paths tailored for families, those seeking longer distances or wildlife, dog owners, anyone wanting history and heritage style explorations, designated footpaths for wheelchairs, and whoever wants to bask in the swirling salt-scented sea air. New Forest National Park may not seem like it boasts a lot of variety. Still, the quirky villages and towns sprinkled across the park, woodland sections, the heathland, the coastline, the wildlife collide to create unexpected beauty.
The ever-so relaxing Hatchet Pond Circular Walk is a popular one for families and anyone seeking an easy-going walk along the largest body of freshwater in New Forest NP. Walk through grassland and keep an eye out for wild ponies and white swans. The paths can be boggy, so keep this in mind!
While we’ve mentioned that New Forest NP is more heathland than forest, the Bolderwood Circular Walk immerses you in a charming forest setting. Meander through oak, sweet chestnut, and beech trees and cross rivers on this short 2.7km family-friendly walk. This walk is a fun, accessible walk that’s great for everyone!
Swap typical New Forest NP scenery for coastal views on the 9km Calshot Beach Walk. Not only will you enjoy a relaxing walk along the beach, but you’ll get a chance to discover the history etched into the Calshot Castle. Keep an eye out for wildlife during the marsh portion of this walk! And come prepared for a dip in the sea if the weather is warm enough.
Starting from Brockenhurst on the south of the park, the Wilverley Inclosure walk winds through dense woodland while taking you over some undulations that may get your heart rate up! When you’re walking through the Wilverley Plain, look out for wild ponies, deer, and cattle. This walk is a fun one for walkers and cyclists alike.
Circumnavigate the quaint village of Brockenhurst while also revelling in quintessential New Forest NP scenery on the 8.4km Brockenhurst Village Walk. When you’re in the grassy plains, look out for ponies, donkeys, and pigs grazing the land.
The 9.5km Emery Down Circular Walk packs a punch when it comes to varied scenery: wood, meadows, streams, and of course, the village of Emery Down. Plus, the elevation gain isn’t too intense, but it’s enough to make this walk feel rewarding. En route, you’ll pass by the New Forest Reptile Centre, making this a fun stop for anyone into reptiles.
Looking for a longer walking adventure? The 15.7km Solent Way Walk is a great choice for those who want to spend more hours in nature but don’t want a super intense elevation gain. This walk covers just one section of the long-distance Solent Way: Lymington to Beaulieu. This is a one-way walk, requiring you to organize transportation from the endpoint back to where you started, but it’s well worth the journey.
The Lyndhurst Circular Walk begins and ends from Bolton’s Bench, a hillock where legend states that a knight and a dragon died during battle. Revel in lovely New Forest NP scenery on the rest of the walk: explore grassy plains, a stretch in the woods, and cross rivers!
Immerse in one of the prettiest sections of woodland in all of New Forest NP as you wind along well-built paths. Keep an eye out for wild deer, woodpeckers, and butterflies. Another great thing about this walk is the wildflowers sprinkled throughout!
Stroll through one of the biggest unenclosed pastures left in this area of England on the family-friendly Acres Down Woodland Walk. This accessible path is great for anyone looking to bask in nature with the potential of encountering some wildlife roaming the area.
Scroll down to find even more walks in New Forest National Park.
When Is The Best Time To Walk in New Forest National Park?
The best time to walk in New Forest National Park depends on which walk you want to do! Some walks may be boggier during wetter months, while others make for fantastic year-round walking options. For warm and dry weather, head here between June and August!
Best Regions for Walking in New Forest National Park?
Kick-off your time in New Forest National Park by staying in Brockenhurst, where you’ll find several walks leading out from the village. To top it off, this is the best town to go to if you’re travelling via train or bus!
Other Outdoor Activities in New Forest National Park
Other popular outdoor activities in New Forest National Park are cycling and horseback riding! You’ll find a mixture of long-distance and family-friendly cycling routes crisscrossing throughout the park. Whereas horse riders will enjoy travelling across heathland or coastal tracks as they revel in picturesque views. An excellent adventure spot to consider checking out for water-related sports is the Calshot Activities Centre.
Frequently Asked Questions
Where should I park in New Forest National Park?
Please park in designated car parks only! To prevent damage, it’s advised to avoid parking on verges and in gateways.
Can I camp in New Forest National Park?
A great campsite to consider is Long Meadow Campsite, conveniently located in the park's heart. It is illegal to wild camp in the New Forest!
Where can I see the wild ponies in New Forest National Park?
Head to Beachern Wood, located near Brockenhurst, for a chance to spot wild ponies roaming the New Forest.
Find more walking regions
- Lake District Walks
- Peak District Walks
- South Downs Walks
- Loch Lomond & The Trossachs Walks
- Chiltern Hills Walks
- Snowdonia Walks
Or use this link to find all walking regions in the UK.Read More
The best hikes in New Forest National Park
Yes, there are more than 10
New Forest National Park is so beautiful that we can not give you only 10 hikes. So here is a list of bonus hikes in New Forest National Park that you should take a look at as well
The Fordingbridge, Woodgreen, Hale, Godshill Round Walk is a great walk if you’re looking for… Read More
The Brockenhurst, Roundhill and Lymington River Hike takes place in a dreamy woodland setting carved… Read More
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