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Our favourite Christmas routes: part two

Our staff are passionate about the New Forest and their work to protect this special place.

So throughout December some of them will be picking out their favourite walks and bike rides in the New Forest National Park and sharing them with you.

Find a little inspiration below and try the routes for yourself over the Christmas period.

Aynsley Clinton
New Forest Tour Co-ordinator

Lymington to Sway Ride (click for route)
16.8 mile bike ride, mainly on-road

My favourite bike route is the Lymington to Sway Ride. What I love most about it is the variety of scenery from beginning to end. Although the majority of the ride is on road, there is a small section that is off-road which is quite challenging!

Starting at Lymington Train Station, this route is ideal for anyone visiting the New Forest by rail. Passing the marinas and sailing clubs, the route passes close to one of my favourite sites in Lymington – the UK’s oldest seawater baths.

Soon after, the route picks up the quiet lanes, making it a joy to cycle. Another interesting historical point is the old salt works. Salt was produced here from the Middle Ages until the nineteenth century. This track takes you right through the heart of the former salt works before heading out onto the sea wall through the nature reserve.

Leaving the seascape behind, the route takes in the thriving village of Milford-on-Sea which provides an opportunity for refreshments, if required/earnt(!). After winding through quiet lanes and crossing the A337, the fun begins! This is the wooded, grassy area I was referring to, which is in contrast to the preceding terrain and which brings out the Bear Grylls in you!

Once clear of this, you find yourself in a more urban environment, which is a welcome relief in the sense of being able to cover more ground more quickly. Passing through or on the outskirts of several southern Forest villages, with some ups and downs towards the end, this route still manages to incorporate lanes adjacent to heathland where you can see grazing ponies. For me, this circular route has it all!

Sam Greatorex
Systems Support

Brockenhurst Village (click for route)
5 mile walk around Brockenhurst

This walk is one of my favourite walks to do in the New Forest. It’s perfect for giving you a feel of what Brockenhurst is like as a village. At certain points along this walk you can be looking at the bustle of village life facing one direction, and then open forest in another. All along this route presents the chance to see some of the famous New Forest wildlife.

My favourite part of this walk is walking along the track that runs past the school. This is possibly the best place to see the cows, ponies and donkeys that frequent the village. In the summer, these animals like to shade themselves under the trees by the patch of grass behind the school or cool themselves in either of the two streams that need to be crossed. Quite often, whole groups can be seen here.

My second favourite part of this walk isn’t strictly part of the route, but is a short diversion that takes you behind St Anne’s Catholic Church. This route follows the stream along an enclosed track behind the houses and comes out at the second of Brockenhurst’s two fords. This track is quiet and peaceful and feels completely different to anywhere else in Brockenhurst. Take the road on the left, then left again at the end of the road. This will come out at the front of the allotments. Follow this road until you reach waypoint three.

Doing this route in reverse allows you to enjoy a lovely walk around the ‘forest-side’ of Brockenhurst before arriving in the village centre where a well-earned rest can be had in any of the local coffee shops the village has to offer.

Deborah Slade
Senior Planning Officer

Boldre Village (click for route)
A 4.3 mile walk in the countryside around Boldre.

The Boldre Village walking route is my favourite; it is less-visited than some parts of the New Forest and combines quiet lanes with ancient woods and countryside footpaths. 

Plenty of people know that Roydon Woods looks sensational during April when the carpets of bluebells are flowering, but in the autumn there are stags, bats, owls, loads of fungi and amazing displays of turning leaves to see. 

It’s also a brilliant route for taking in some of the built heritage of the National Park, from traditional New Forest cottages to more formal manor houses. There are 11 beautiful nationally and locally Listed buildings along the route. See how many you can spot. 

Plus, the walk finishes at one of the Forest’s most historic timber-framed pubs, dating from the 17th Century, and in my view no walk is complete without a log fire and a pint at the end of it.  

This entry was posted by Communications on Friday 09/12/2016


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