A peaceful and varied walk through country lanes, farmland and an ancient woodland nature reserve
The route is dotted with traditional Forest properties and visits St John the Baptist Church, which has a fascinating literary connection with the village. The walk returns alongside the meandering Lymington River to Boldre Bridge.
This walk leads you through Roydon Woods Nature Reserve, which is within the New Forest National Park but lies outside the traditional Forest boundary. Managed by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the reserve is a wonderful mix of ancient woodland, heathland, grassland, ponds and streams. Look out for old boundary banks and coppice stools, where hazel was cut to ground level and new growth harvested for poles and making charcoal. Plants such as Butcher’s broom and wild garlic grow where the soil has not been disturbed and it is a good spot for bluebells in the spring. Please keep dogs on a lead in the reserve.
- Start/finish: Outside the Red Lion pub, Boldre. Grid ref. SZ 988 314 Postcode SO41 8NE
- Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
- Getting there: Wilts and Dorset route 112 bus – Lymington to Hythe. Regular service. Summer Beach Bus service.
- Distance: 4.3 miles (6.9 km)
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Local facilities: The Red Lion pub offer parking and refreshment, parking is also available at Boldre Parish Church.
- Accessibility: Mostly easy walking with gentle gradients. One short uphill and downhill section. Gates, footbridges and two stiles.
1. Boldre Bridge
From the Red Lion pub turn right and walk downhill past a cottage with a 1786 date stone to Boldre Bridge and across the Lymington River.
2. Left to Boldre Church
Turn left onto Rodlease Lane and follow the road past Rodlease House, a grand Georgian manor. There is a waymarker on your left which will be your return route. Continue uphill and turn right at a waymarker opposite Rodlease Farm. Follow the path uphill through woodland, and when you reach a plant nursery, follow the path to the right, keeping the nursery on your left. Continue straight on to a footpath through some woodland, eventually joining Church Lane. Turn left and follow the road to Boldre Church.
3. Into Roydon Woods
Facing the church turn right at the waymarker and walk through the car park. Follow the path to Haywards Farm and turn left just after the farmhouse where the path meets a gravel track. Continue along the track for 1/2 a mile and then turn left onto a side road. This leads to Roydon Woods Nature Reserve. Continue ahead into the reserve along a bridleway which can be very muddy.
4. Ford by Roydon Manor
At the track junction turn left at the waymarker signed to Brockenhurst. Go through woodland and downhill to a pretty ford (below) and footbridge across the Lymington River. On the way look for a small flooded pit amongst the trees on your left, which was the site of a brickworks used to build Roydon Manor.
5. Sandy Down junction
Cross the ford and continue ahead to a wide metal gate and junction. Turn left and follow the track. Turn right at the next waymarker and head uphill into a conifer plantation to a gate and junction. Turn left at the waymarker and sign to Boldre, following the track downhill, through two gates and onto Roydon Road.
6. Head across fields
Turn right and follow the road to a junction. Go straight on following the sign for Boldre and past traditional red brick houses. As the road bends to the left look for a waymarker in the hedge opposite Tide Brook Lodge. Turn left through a gate and across fields, keeping the hedge on your left. Cross two stiles and a footbridge over the Lymington River as it winds across the fields. Follow the path though a small wood and alongside a utility works fence.
7. Rodlease Lane
Turn right when the path ends and join Rodlease Lane. Turn right onto the road and retrace your steps back to Boldre bridge and the Red Lion pub.
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