New Forest Walking Festival starts this weekend


Published Tuesday 11 October 2016

Step into autumn with the New Forest Walking Festival from this weekend (15 October) and choose from more than 70 scenic strolls.

Over the next two weeks join archaeologists to uncover the Forest’s past, bird spotters on the coast or rangers for a day of woodland wild play.

The festival’s expert-led walks take you behind the scenes in the National Park to uncover little-known facts and stories about the fascinating New Forest.

Established by the New Forest National Park Authority with support from Forest organisations and businesses, the festival has proved popular with residents and visitors since it began in 2013. More than 1,000 people attended last year’s event to gain behind the scenes knowledge of the Forest.

Bookings for the annual event have been strong this year, but there are still limited spaces available on many walks.

The National Park is a wonderful place to walk during the autumn, with flat, accessible routes that allow walkers of all ages and abilities to enjoy the Forest’s fiery foliage. Prices vary, but many walks are discounted for those who travel by public transport, by bike or on foot.

Walks include:

  • Short healthy strolls to improve health
  • Wild play for children
  • Smuggling tales with a packhorse
  • Introduction to Nordic walking
  • Short strolls with soup and a picnic.

The New Forest Walking Festival is funded by the £4.4m Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme backed by the Heritage Lottery Fund to make the Forest fit for the future. It is also supported by a Department for Transport grant to encourage car-free travel in and around the New Forest National Park.

The festival is run in partnership with many local organisations including the Forestry Commission, New Forest District Council, New Forest Association, New Forest Ramblers and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

For full details, including booking, visit


Notes to Photo Editor:

Walkers enjoy a stroll near Beaulieu Road in the New Forest during last year's Walking Festival.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK ex-plore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @HLFSouthEast

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect.
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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