A new edition of my guidebook – Walking in the New Forest – has been published by Cicerone and is available now at https://www.cicerone.co.uk/walking-in-the-new-forest-second, through local bookshops and online; for more information visit http://www.steve-davison.co.uk/new_forest.html
The 30 walks in this guide – Walking in the New Forest – take you on a journey through Britain’s smallest National Park, exploring every corner of the Forest from the beautiful ancient woodland to the wide-open heather-clad heaths and dramatic coastline.
Each walk has clear step-by-step route descriptions alongside detailed extracts from the OS 1:25,000 Explorer maps and lots of photographs. There is also background information about the area’s history, geology, plants and wildlife along with practical advice on how to get there and refreshments on or near the routes.
The New Forest, or the Nova Foresta as it was known in the Domesday Book, is a unique and captivating landscape of open heath and ancient woodland tucked into south-west Hampshire and south-east Wiltshire. ‘Created’ by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a royal hunting ground, the New Forest has, for the last 900 years, owed its very existence to the influence of man and his animals.
To many, a key feature of the New Forest’s natural beauty is the ancient and ornamental woods, and here can be found the greatest concentration of ‘veteran’ trees in western Europe. However, there is much more on offer, including a lengthy stretch of coastline, the largest area of lowland heath in Britain and three-quarters of the valley mires in north-west Europe, as well as pretty villages with picture-postcard thatched cottages, historic churches, colourful gardens and cosy pubs. The Forest is a nature lover’s paradise with its patchwork of habitats offering opportunities to spot some of the local wildlife ranging from five species of deer to all six of Britain’s native reptiles. And all this located within Britain’s smallest national park, covering just 570 square kilometres (220 square miles).
The New Forest may not be a very hilly landscape and there are no sweeping mountain views, but a walk in the Forest takes you into a part of Southern Britain that William the Conqueror would probably still recognise. Couple that with the fleeting glimpses of wildlife – a deer suddenly stops to look before magically disappearing in the blink of an eye, birdsong mingles with the rustle of the wind in the trees, wildflowers add splashes of colour to the beauty of the enchanting woods, the commoners’ stock grazes the land as it has done for centuries – and you have all the ingredients that make walking in the New Forest National Park such a unique and rewarding experience.
However, this is not some woodland theme park; the Forest is a working environment. Around 7000 commoners’ animals graze the open forest, one quarter of the park is farmland and the forests still produce many tonnes of timber per year. Remember, it is these very activities that have helped to preserve the New Forest over the centuries.
Publisher: Cicerone Press Ltd
Publication Date: February 2020
Walk 1 Langley Wood and Hamptworth
Walk 2 Godshill and Castle Hill
Walk 3 Hatchet Green and Woodgreen
Walk 4 Bramshaw Telegraph and Eyeworth Pond
Walk 5 Bramshaw Church and Nomansland
Walk 6 Abbots Well and Alderhill Inclosure
Walk 7 Fritham and Cadman’s Pool
Walk 8 Janesmoor Pond and the Rufus Stone
Walk 9 High Corner Inn and Ogden’s Purlieu
Walk 10 Appleslade Bottom to Rockford via Ibsley Common
Walk 11 Castle Piece and Linford Brook
Walk 12 Exploring Bolderwood
Walk 13 Minstead and Furzey Gardens
Walk 14 Portuguese Fireplace and the Knightwood Oak
Walk 15 Bank and Gritnam
Walk 16 Ober Water and Blackwater Arboretum
Walk 17 Holmsley Walk and Burley
Walk 18 Wilverley Inclosure and Castleman’s Corkscrew
Walk 19 Lyndhurst and Bolton’s Bench
Walk 20 Ashurst figure-of-eight
Walk 21 Beaulieu Road and Bishop’s Dyke
Walk 22 King’s Hat, Dibden Bottom and the Beaulieu River
Walk 23 Stubby Copse Inclosure and Balmer Lawn
Walk 24 Brockenhurst and Dilton
Walk 25 Hatchet Pond and Hawkhill Inclosure
Walk 26 Beaulieu River from Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard
Walk 27 Setley Common and Boldre Church
Walk 28 Exploring the coastline from Lymington to Keyhaven
Walk 29 Milford on Sea and Hurst Castle
Walk 30 Lepe and Exbury