Landford and Hamptworth
Explore the northern tip of the New Forest in Wiltshire, among woodlands that were once Royal Forests
The walk follows a wooded path to a river ford and through pretty woods and fields to Hamptworth Farm. The route then follows the edge of a golf course to Langley Wood and to the little hamlet of Hamptworth before returning back over the ford to Landford.
Langley National Nature Reserve was part of a group of Royal Forests until the 16th century when, unlike the New Forest, they declined and reverted to farmland and landscaped parks.
The reserve’s ancient woodlands have a long history of management and would have provided local people with a valuable source of timber, wood fuel, forage for pigs (known as pannage) and grazing for livestock. Coppicing was particularly important and as you walk through the reserve look for old banks and ditches that mark the boundary of coppice enclosures.
Coppicing is the method of cutting trees such as hazel or oak to ground level on a regular cycle. This produces fast growing shoots for fodder, firewood and making charcoal. The banks would have been topped with a fence or hedge to stop grazing animals and deer eating the young shoots.
- Start/finish: Lyndhurst Road (church hall) bus stop, Landford, SP5 2AE, Grid Ref: SU 255 195
- Ordnance Survey map: Explorer OL 22 New Forest
- Getting there: Wilts and Dorset route X7 bus – Salisbury to Southampton. Regular service.
- Distance: 4.7 miles (7.6 km)
- Duration: 2-3 hours
- Local facilities: Landford village shop and local information point. The Cuckoo Inn, Hamptworth. Parking in large bus stop lay-by (SU 225 195) or outside the primary school out of school hours.
- Accessibility: Fairly easy walking with gentle gradients. Gates, five stiles, footbridge and ford crossing.
1. Re-join the main road
Starting at the Southampton to Salisbury bus stop (opposite the Methodist church) turn left to follow a signed footpath uphill for a short detour to avoid the road. Follow the path behind houses to a small wood and then re-join the main road.
2. Re-join the track
Carefully cross the road to join a track straight ahead between two houses. Follow the track uphill, past a byway sign, and along a wooded track with low banks either side. Go through a wide metal gate and continue along the woodland corridor to a ford crossing. Look for a hidden path and small footbridge on your right for a detour around the ford to re-join the track.
3. Turn right onto grassy path
At the grassy triangle turn left onto Lyburn road and past a Southern Water utility building. Where the road forks on a left bend, turn right and follow the road to a footpath sign for Hamptworth Farm. Turn right onto a grassy path and then follow a track through mixed oak and birch woods You might be lucky and catch a glimpse of deer.
4. Stile onto Hamptworth Road
Leave the woodland and follow ahead with the field hedge on your right to a small metal gate. Go through the gate and then immediately through a large gate onto Hamptworth Road (4). Turn left and follow the road uphill past the picturesque, thatched cottages at Hampworth Farm and then downhill past the golf course.
5. Information panel
Turn right into Cole’s Lane at the footpath sign and follow the lane downhill, keeping the golf course on your right and then crossing over the River Blackwater. Follow the tree-lined lane uphill to Langley National Nature Reserve. Ignore the first entrance and continue following the lane to your right to the next reserve entrance (gate 5) and information panel.
6. Wooden barrier
Go through the metal gate and follow the grassy track into the woodland reserve. At a wooden barrier bear right and follow a yellow footpath arrow downhill, passing huge beech trees and along a sunken tree-lined track to the edge of the golf course. Follow the reserve’s black waymarker posts with yellow dots along a narrow path through the wood by the golf course. Pass the reserve’s welcome sign and cross a stream via a footbridge and then walk uphill out of the wood.
Go straight ahead along a wide tree-lined track through the golf course to a crossroads (6). Follow the public footpath sign through the metal gate, taking care to close the gate behind you. Carry on uphill along a wooded track and past farm buildings into North Common Farm. Please keep dogs on a lead through the farm.
8. Track junction
Continue ahead through the farmyard. Just past the point the fence on the right becomes a hedgerow, turn right into a hidden footpath marked with a public footpath sign. Follow the field hedge on your right. Turn right through the gate then immediately left and follow field hedge down to kissing gate (7). Follow the brown public footpath sign right into the neighbouring field, walking along the field edge and through a gate into woodland.
9. Yellow dot
Walk along the woodland track downhill past Landford Lodge, over the River Blackwater and uphill out into a field. Follow the path when it turns left and keep the hedge on your right. Turn right at a signed path junction and follow the hedge on your right until you reach a gap in the hedge. Turn right through the hedge and head diagonally left across the field to a stile. Head straight across the next small field to a kissing gate and onto Hamptworth Road. To your right is the Cuckoo Inn.
10. Hamptworth Manor Farm
Cross the road to the green and walk along Lyburn Road, passing Hamptworth Manor Farm. Lyburn Farm, part of the Hamptworth Estate, produces award-winning cheeses and is a member of the New Forest Marque local produce scheme. Turn left at the grassy triangle to the ford crossing and retrace your steps along the wooded path, across the road and then left along the footpath back to the bus stop.
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