CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Hampshire Life today CLICK HERE

Hampshire walk around the New Forest National Park

PUBLISHED: 12:36 17 February 2016 | UPDATED: 11:01 05 October 2017

Looking east back along the Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn © Steve Davison

Looking east back along the Beaulieu River at Longwater Lawn © Steve Davison

© Steve Davison

Head to Ashurst for a peaceful walk in the New Forest National Park, taking in open common, woods and the Beaulieu River says Steve Davison

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. ‘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.

However, a walk in the depths of 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, including the iconic ponies, graze the land as they have done for centuries – and you have all the ingredients that make walking in the New Forest such a rewarding experience.

From Ashurst, the walk heads through Churchplace and Deerleap Inclosures following well-defined tracks before crossing a bridge over the London Waterloo to Weymouth railway. The line was originally opened by the Southampton and Dorchester Railway in 1847 and the local station, from where we started our walk, was known as Lyndhurst Road until it was renamed Ashurst (New Forest) in 1997.

The paths become narrower now as they meander over open heath before passing through Matley Wood with its mix of oak and holly trees. Soon we leave the trees behind and head over open heath again to meet up with the Beaulieu River. The picturesque river rises near Lyndhurst and meanders for 12 miles through the eastern half of the forest, passing Beaulieu and Buckler’s Hard to join the Solent. The walk follows a lovely peaceful stretch of the river westwards to a bridge – a great place for a picnic lunch stop amid the tranquillity of the forest – before heading back to Ashurst, passing through a mix of woods and open heath.


Information

• Distance: 5.25 miles (8.4km)

• Time: 2.5 hours without stops

• Terrain: Fairly level, good tracks and some narrow paths which can be muddy, some stiles and gates.

• Start/Finish: Ashurst (New Forest) railway station (SU334101) on the A35 between Lyndhurst and the junction with the A326 - car parking at the station or in the village.

• Map: OS Explorer OL22

• Refreshment: Ashurst - The New Forest (02380 292721) 


The walk

1 (SU334101) - From Platform 2 at Ashurst (New Forest) railway station head north along the enclosed path parallel to the platform and bear right along the tarmac track towards the village (ignoring a gate on the right). If arriving by car, take the footbridge over the railway to access Platform 2 from the car park. At the three-way junction, take the middle road, keeping The Happy Cheese pub on your left and car park on the right. Keep ahead through a gate and follow the gravel track straight on to a junction. Turn right and follow the gravel track south-westwards for a third of a mile through Churchplace Inclosure to a track junction. Turn left along the track (cycle track) for three quarters of a mile, passing Church Place – site of a former royal hunting lodge – to reach a T-junction with another cycle track.

2 (SU346092) - Turn right and follow the cycle track for half a mile, keeping left at the Y-junction. At the next junction turn left and go through a gate to leave Deerleap Inclosure. Keep ahead for 25m to a junction where the cycle track turns left. Here, we turn right and head past some trees to cross the railway bridge. Follow the track across Fulliford Bog and fork right at the split (straight on), heading for the trees in the distance and ignoring all crossing paths. Continue up through Matley Wood for a third of a mile and shortly before the low vehicle barrier at Matley Heath campsite, turn right beside a large old tree trunk.

3 (SU332076) - Follow the path (indistinct at times) heading north, down to the edge of the trees and a cross-path junction. Go straight on, following the path through the heather, and cross a footbridge in the trees. Turn left to follow the north bank of the Beaulieu River through Longwater Lawn for a third of a mile to reach a footbridge – the small boundary stone marks the boundary of the Parish of Colbury – close to some trees.

4 (SU323087) - Don’t cross the bridge over the river - instead turn right, heading north-east away from the river, with woods over to the left and later a few oak and holly trees to the right. Keep straight on through the trees, ignoring a split to the left, to eventually reach a low vehicle barrier. Cross straight over the surfaced driveway and continue towards the building in the distance. Cross the driveway for Ashurst campsite and then over a footbridge. Ahead is the New Forest pub. Head over to the far right corner of the field and through the gap to enter the station car park. 


More from Out & About

14:07

Treat yourself to lunch and tea with a visit to one of these fantastic Hampshire tea rooms.

Read more

Is there anything more refreshing than a stroll on a crisp winter’s day? We don’t think so! Here are a few of our favourite rambles across the county to enjoy this season

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Hampshire this month

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With 100 years since the last guns were fired during World War One, we remember the sacrifices Hampshire made

Read more
Tuesday, December 4, 2018

With the New Forest, South Downs and a picturesque coastline, Hampshire is an amazing place for a walk. We round up a few of our favourites

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

There is so much to see and do in Hampshire over the festive season, from carol services to markets and of course amazing food and drink and our day-by-day guide brings you the pick of the best

Read more
Tuesday, November 27, 2018

If you’re planning to add a new extension, remodel the internal layout or create a brilliant new kitchen overlooking a landscaped garden, a visit to the South East Homebuilding & Renovating Show (19-20 January 2019) at Farnborough International Exhibition and Conference Centre is a must

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

Huge Christmas markets, frosty countryside and cosy pubs; winter in Hampshire is second to none…

Read more
Monday, November 26, 2018

When it comes to celebrating the festive season, Winchester is alive with the sound of music. From Cathedral choirs to community singers and from family musicals to classical concerts, there’s something for everyone

Read more
Friday, November 23, 2018

Get in the festive spirit with our selection of the Hampshire's top dining experiences this Christmas…

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

This thriving community in North Hampshire is a desirable location for residents and visitors alike

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Running a successful regional theatre means thinking beyond the bricks and mortar to reach out to the community. We ask four of Hampshire’s leading impresarios, how do they ensure that the show goes on?

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Savour spectacular views of the Needles and Alum Bay and discover history tales on this invigorating walk on the Isle of Wight

Read more
Monday, November 12, 2018

With late-night shopping, fairs, Christmas markets and plenty of food and drink, we’ve rounded up some of the best festive offerings in Hampshire

Read more
 
A+ South & South West

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy


Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today


subscription ad

Local Business Directory



Property Search