Hampshire walk around Frogham
PUBLISHED: 10:45 04 April 2017 | UPDATED: 10:45 04 April 2017
© Steve Davison
Follow Steve Davison as he heads to the New Forest for a dog-friendly wander around Frogham, visiting the Latchmore Brook, Hampton Ridge and Abbots Well
The New Forest, or Nova Foresta as it was known in the Domesday Book, was ‘created’ by William the Conqueror in 1079 as a royal hunting ground and for the last 900 years has owed its very existence to the influence of man and his animals. Today, a walk in England’s smallest National Park takes you through a unique and captivating landscape of open heath and woodland, parts of which William would probably still recognise.
The walk sets out through Frogham, once home to herbalist and author Juliette de Bairacli Levy, who wrote Wanderers in the New Forest. The book portrays an interesting picture of the Forest, from the plants and animals to forest gypsies and old farming practices. After passing the Foresters Arms pub we meander across Hyde Common, before heading for Ogdens. From here we follow the tree-shaded Latchmore Brook to reach Latchmore Bottom, a favoured place for commoners’ stock to graze and a great place for a picnic. It’s then a gentle climb up Hasley Hill from where there is a great view over the valley before heading through the trees of Alderhill Inclosure, crossing Latchmore Brook and passing a carved wooden seat dedicated to Eric Ashby MBE, naturalist and filmmaker who lived nearby at Linwood.
The route heads up onto Hampton Ridge for a lovely walk over the open heath back to the car park. Just before finishing lookout for a small spring on the left of the road. This is Abbots Well, first recorded as Alleynewell during the reign of Edward I. The spring has two parts – one brick-lined with a wooden lid and the other open for animals to drink from – and was, for centuries, the main watering place for travellers along the old route to Southampton.
Before heading home, at the southern edge of the car park is an informative view indicator, placed there to commemorate the Millennium, providing a great view that encompasses most of the walk we’ve just completed.
For a shorter four-mile walk, miss out the loop past the pub by turning right from the car park down the lane to the corner. Then turn right down the track past Ogden’s Farm, before crossing Latchmore Brook via the footbridge to arrive at Ogdens car park; from here, continue the main walk from mid-Point 2.
• Start/finish: Abbots Well car park at Frogham (SU177128), 2 miles (3.5km) east of Fordingbridge
• Map: OS Explorer OL22
• Distance: 5.25 miles (8.3km) or 4 miles (6.5km)
• Terrain: gentle ups and downs, tracks and paths which can be muddy, no stiles or gates, sections of country road
• Time: 2.5 hours without stops
• Refreshments: The Foresters Arms (01425 652294) at Frogham
• More Information: To find out more about Steve, including his books, visit: www.steve-davison.co.uk
1. (SU177128) – Exit the car park and turn left along the lane for 500m, later passing The Foresters Arms pub, to arrive at a cross-roads. Turn left and as the road curves right, just after passing the small chapel on the left, fork left (straight on) along the track for a few metres to a track junction. Go straight on past the wooden vehicle barrier following a path over Hyde Common. Ignore a crossing path and keep ahead, later a path joins from the left, just continue straight on past a tree and soon follow the track down to a surfaced lane.
2. (SU171122) – Turn left along the lane for half a mile towards Ogdens. Cross the Latchmore Brook via the footbridge on the right-hand side of the ford and then continue along the track. Keep left at the junction and then left again at the next junction to reach Ogdens car park (the shorter walk joins here). Turn right and meander eastwards over the open grass, keeping the tree-shaded Latchmore Brook on the left for half a mile, to reach the picturesque Latchmore Bottom.
3. (SU187124) – Fork half-right and follow a path up towards Hasley Hill. At the top follow the wide sandy path, keeping the trees on the right and passing over the twin spurs of Great Witch and Little Witch, to reach a path junction. Turn left downhill, back to the valley and then turn right. Within a few metres, keep left at the split to follow the path between Sloden Inclosure on the right and Alderhill Inclosure on the left. After 500m, turn left through a gate to enter Alderhill Inclosure. Follow the track through the trees, soon crossing a bridge over the Latchmore Brook and then passing the carved-wood seat.
4. (SU201132) – At the track junction turn left for 400m and then turn up to the right. Exit the inclosure through the gate and follow the track gently uphill to reach a junction at the top of the rise. Turn left and follow the gravel cycle track for a mile, as it heads west and then south-west along Hampton Ridge, admiring the views on the way. On reaching the lane, go straight on following the lane uphill passing Abbots Well on the left, before arriving back at the car park on the left.