Looping Lepe and Exbury
Take in splendid sea views along the New Forest’s charming coastline
An easy ride on dry summer days, in winter this route can be muddy and challenging on the by-ways, so a mountain bike is a must. Some parts of the route may be overgrown during summer.
Where the New Forest meets the sea; Lepe Country Park has great views across the Solent and a fantastic array of wildlife. There is a visitor information centre where you can learn all about the area including upcoming events. Visit the website to find out what’s on www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/countryparks/lepe.
Exbury Gardens is a spectacular 200 acre site, world-famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. This sprawling garden offers a riot of colour in spring, an oasis of tranquility in summer followed by a splendid show as the leaves change in the autumn. For more information visit: www.exbury.co.uk.
- Start/finish: Lepe Country Park. Grid ref. SZ455985. Postcode SO45 1AD
- Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
- Getting there: During the summer catch the Beach Bus www.thebeachbus.info. Pay and display parking at Lepe Country Park.
- Distance: 9.3 miles (15 km)
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Local facilities: There are public toilets at Lepe Country Park and a café. There is also a café at Exbury Gardens and a pub in Langley.
- Accessibility: Predominantly minor roads with some by-ways that can be muddy in damp conditions.
- Percentage off-road for cycling: 40 per cent off-road cycling, 60 per cent minor roads
1. Inchmery Lane
As you leave Lepe Country Park, turn left and follow the road along the coast enjoying the great views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight. As the road begins to turn inland there is a junction. Turn left and head along Inchmery Lane following the road towards Exbury.
Caution: this road is used by cars so please be careful to look where you are going whilst enjoying the view.
2. Exbury Village
At the end of Inchmery Lane you will arrive at a junction where you can see Exbury Tower on your left. Take a right turn here and head into Exbury village. Cycle through the village and pass the Exbury Club on your right.
Alternative: if you wish to visit Exbury Gardens, continue straight on instead and you will find the entrance shortly after on your left. To rejoin the route, retrace your steps to this point and head into the village. When you arrive at a triangle junction keep right and follow the main road.
The next section of road is very straight for some time. As you round a left bend in the road, keep a keen eye out for a crossroads where a gravel track intersects the road; this can be easy to miss. There is also a road sign warning of a zig zag road. At this crossroads, take a left turn onto the signed bridleway.
4. East End Farm
As you approach East Hill Farm, continue to cycle through onto the bridleway straight ahead. The bridleway is located between two gates.
Caution: the bridleway can be very boggy and muddy in damp conditions. A mountain bike is a must.
Follow the bridleway down the edge of a field to the bottom of the slope. Take care as the grassy track is rutted.
At the bottom of the slope, take a left turn to continue along a single track and over a small bridge and uphill towards a road.
Caution: this uphill section can also be challenging in wet conditions.
5. Lepe Road
When you reach the road, take a left and follow Lepe Road towards Langley.
As you enter Langley with the Langley Tavern on the left, look out for the third turning on the right that takes you down a road called Mopley.
Shortly after, take a right at a staggered crossroads (Mopley Close is on the left) to continue down Mopley past Forest Gate and Green Lane. Continue straight ahead onto a wide gravel track and follow this to its end.
7. Mopley Farm
At the end of Mopley, you will see an equestrian field in front. Take the bridleway on the far right.
Along this route there are a number of small upright wooden panels on the ground floor to lift your bike over.
8. Badminston Common
Continue along this bridleway until you come to a swing gate. Go through the gate and continue to the junction in the track. Continue straight along and do not turn left down the hill as this will take you to Badminston Common.
Caution: the bridleway becomes boggy in damp conditions here, particularly in the winter.
Follow the bridleway through the rutted terrain until the surface becomes gravelly again.
Caution: there are two steep gravelly downhills before steep uphills. Take care on these sections.
9. Stanswood Road
Pass through another swing gate and shortly after the track has a junction. Take the right that presently ends at a road.
Take a right onto Stanswood Road. Follow the road for a while, passing Stanswood Farm, an S-bend and Stone farm, eventually ending up at a T-junction in front of a cottage. Turn left here onto Lepe Road, following signs to Lepe which will take you back to the sea and the Country Park.
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New Forest code
Please be aware of the New Forest Code when cycling in the National Park.