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Burley Hill Fort Loop

Burley Hill Fort Loop

From witches to smuggling, ride through the best of Burley

Smuggling (or ‘free trading’ as it was once known) was popular in the New Forest due to cover from woodland and local routes making it easier to evade capture. A local tale tells of Lovely Warne who, with her two brothers, took part in smuggling in Burley. She would dress in a red velvet coat and stand on Verely Hill to warn her brother when customs officers were near. This would help smugglers safely get to Warne’s Bar in the Queens Head, where this route begins.

The YHA New Forest, in Burley, is open year round it provides a great place to stay and explore the New Forest. It is less than a mile from the centre of Burley and located on this ride, which makes it an ideal base for walking and cycling.

  • Start/finish: Queens Head Pub. Grid ref. SU211030. Postcode BH24 4AB
  • Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
  • Getting there: New Forest Tour Red & Blue Routes (summer only)
  • Distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)
  • Duration: 2-3 hours
  • Local facilities: There are plenty of facilities in the village of Burley including a range of refreshments and gift shops. There are also car parks and public toilets but no facilities once you begin your ride. Public toilets are located in the central village car park, behind the Queens Head.
  • Accessibility: Well-kept gravel off-road tracks and minor roads.
  • Percentage off-road for cycling: 20 per cent off-road, 80 per cent on minor roads.

1. Woods Corner

After passing Woods Corner car park on your left, continue along the road until you reach Mill Lane. Turn right here and head along the road towards Bisterne Close.

2. Mill Lane

As you progress along Mill Lane the village peters out and the open forest reveals itself

Caution: As you continue along Mill Lane there are two fords to cross, however the water is rarely deep.

3. Bennetts Lane

At the end of Mill Lane at the T-junction turn left onto Bennetts Lane and follow the lane around and up to the right

4. The White Buck

Continue along Bennetts Lane past the White Buck pub on your right around a few bends past a few road junctions.

Optional: if you are staying at the Burley YHA this is located down the gravel track that is immediately after the White Buck pub on your right.

If you are starting this route from the YHA turn left out of entrance and follow gravel track towards White Buck. At the end of the gravel track turn right onto Bennetts Lane.

5. Holmsley Passage

At the crossroads, continue straight over onto Holmsley Passage. This fantastic road takes you through the open heathland and has some spectacular views as you meander downhill to the old railway

Caution: please take care crossing the main road as it can be very busy

6. The old railway

At the bottom of the valley there is a solitary house, the old railway line passes just in front. Turn right here at wooden waymarker 159 onto the cycle network.

This stretch is care free so enjoy, but please respect other users of the track such as pedestrians and horse riders.

7. Burbush car park

After crossing a bridge with a metal centre piece keep following the old railway line until you arrive at a low wooden fence across the path. At this point take the small single track off to the right, into Burbush car park.

At the wooden waymarker 157 take a right turn out of the car park onto Pound Lane. Be careful as you are now sharing the road with cars again.

8. Castle Hill Lane

Continue along Pound Lane for a while. Shortly after an uphill corner and a short downhill, there is a track called Castle Hill Lane to the left that almost comes back on you and is easy to miss. Take a left onto this off-road track at wooden way marker

Continue up the hill, past a traffic barrier and a few houses until the view opens out on the left.

9. Castle Hill

As you continue along this gravel track you will reach the high point not surprisingly called Castle Hill; on a good day you can see all the way to Bournemouth and beyond. If you’re lucky you may see a plane on final approach to land at Hurn airport.

Continue along the off-road track, as you travel down a long hill, ignore any turnings and follow the track round to the left at all times.

Caution: at the end of the hill there is a 4-way traffic junction so watch your speed. At this busy junction turn right and head back into the village of Burley via Ringwood Road being careful of road traffic.

10. Forest Road

Continue along Ringwood Road for a short distance before turning left onto Forest Road

Caution: as you progress along Forest Road there is a ford with a bridge alongside to use if necessary; however the water level is usually.

As the road bends round to the right the landscape opens out.

11. Chapel Lane

Keep heading along Forest Road until you come to a triangle junction, take the right onto Chapel Lane and over the bridge and follow the road back to the Queens Head in the centre of Burley.

Note: to get back to the YHA take a left onto Lyndhurst road and follow steps 1 – 4.

New Forest code

Please be aware of the New Forest code when cycling in the National Park.

New Forest Code


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National Park Member


'Please only cycle on the waymarked tracks and other designated routes.'

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