Whether an ardent hiker, professional stroller or sun shine only walker you are spoilt for choice in this area. There are no high hills or tall headlands thus most walking is relatively easy.
New Forest National Park
The New Forest is where you can explore heathland, ancient woodland wetlands and grassy plains. One of the special qualities of this distinct area is the freedom to ramble across unenclosed land – thus the choice of walks is enormous and rather difficult to give specific instructions. However, what we can try to do is point you towards specific areas that we feel are worth visiting. Just note from April to July some car parks may be closed to limit disturbance to breeding birds.
King’s Hat Car Park on North Lane
Park the car and take the main trail that leads across a small bridge, follow the path until it opens up into a large open area. You can now go straight on or turn right – this is a large area just waiting to be explored!
Burley – Forest Road
Park the car on the verge and then head north on one of the tracks – this brings you to a huge area of open grassland and woods. Seldom visited by other people – make up your own circuit!
Park almost anywhere here and enjoy woodland and open hearth walks.
Park right at the end of the car park and then head in a north west direction along the edge of the wood. When you see another wood on the right follow the tracts along the edge of this wood – you can then decide how far you wish to walk and the circuit to take.
We provide all our self-catering properties with New Forest maps and I would be delighted to show these and other walks to you upon arrival.
Here we can be a little more specific – there is a copy of these walks in each of the self-catering properties.
Keyhaven round walk
About an hour maybe a little bit more. Park in the car park on Sea Road (Milford-on-sea) by the Needles Eye Café. Head towards Hurst Castle with your back to the Café along the shingle bank. On your left is Sturt Pond – take the second bridge over the stream and carry straight on along New Lane until you reach the flood barrier gates. On your right are wooden gates – go through this and continue along the sea wall – you are now in Keyhaven. Follow the path past the Ferry jetty, turn right in front of the Keyhaven Yacht Club, past the boat launching area and round to your left until you hit a small road. Turn left and then after a few yards is the Milford – Keyhaven road. Turn left and on your right is The Gun Inn – time for some refreshment! To return go back the way you came – but first explore Keyhaven a bit more!
Keyhaven and Hurst Castle walk
Round trip is about two hours. (Depends on how long you stay at Hurst Castle). If a nice day strongly recommend taking a picnic. Park in the car park on Sea Road (Milford-on-sea) by the Needles Eye Café. Head towards Hurst Castle with your back to the Café along the shingle bank. On your left is The Marine – a great place to stop for your coffee and other refreshemnts.
Keep walking either on the top of the shingle bank – or to the left of it where it may be more sheltered. After about 30 minutes (mile and a half) you will reach Hirst Castle which is open to visitors – it also has a quite good little café with a limited selection – but the coffee is good! Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544. Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution. After you have explored Hirst Castle – and it is worth looking at the sea ward side towards the Isle of Wright you can either walk back and retrace your steps or take the ferry back to Keyhaven. The ferry leaves from in front of the castle entrance and goes at least every 30 minutes during the summer and winter weekends. (There should be a ferry leaflet amongst the brochures and flyers.) Once back at Keyhaven you can either take the direct route to Milford along the road, or go back along the sea wall, shingle bank and thence the car park.
Keyhaven / Pennington / Chequers Pub walk
This is a great walk across fields, through Keyhaven marches/bird reserve, with Solent views and ends at a typical country pub! It takes about two hours altogether. Park your car in the Keyhaven car park (You may be lucky and be able to park a free parking space – turn left just after the green and war memorial in Keyhaven, and just before the Gun Inn, drive down this small road with the sea on your right and if you are lucky a space may be available here. If you are successful the start of the walk is at the end of the sea wall on the right and through the wooden gate)
Follow the road over the bridge and sluice gates to the footpath through the gates on the right. Follow the coast path through Keyhaven marshes for the next two miles as the track meanders alongside the sea wall. Keep walking for about 40 minutes!! Eventually you walk back on yourselves to a man made canal and lock gates. Follow the track on the side you are on (south side) – do not cross the lock gates. Follow path down alongside the canal and then by a field side path until you meet the road. Turn right and 200 yards on the left is the Chequers Pub. Garlic prawns with cheese on a baguette is our favourite! The return – this is a shorter return trip – turn right on leaving the pub, go past the path you came in on and follow the road round the right hand bend and then on until you reach a small cluster of houses. The road ends but straight ahead is a lane, go down the lane with some ponds on the right and turn left when you come to a road. Follow this road until the cars can go no further, and go straight ahead through the gate – follow this gravel road (Ancient Highway) back to Keyhaven, across the bridge with the sluice gates and to the car park.
Normandy Lane / Lymington Sea Wall
Allow about an hour and a half. Park your car in Lymington on Normandy Lane by Eight Acre Pond. Directly in front of you is a path leading to the sea wall along a small stream. Follow this and when you reach the sea wall turn left and keep following the sea wall round until you reach the Marina. Enjoy the great views of the Solent, sailing boats and sea birds. Walk through the Marina following the pedestrian signs to Lymington sea water baths and the Royal Lymington Yacht Club. Turn left and then take the left hand fork until you are in front of the Marina entrance – in front of you is a small track through a reed bed, take this until you reach a road (Normandy Lane) turn left and 10-15 minutes later you be back at your car. Refreshment points are either the Haven (great views) in the Marina or the Mayflower Pub by the yacht club
The Solent Way. This mainly coastal path begins in Milford-on-sea with stunning views of the Needles on the Isle of Wight in the distance. The path initially takes you on the sea front and then follows the coast through pleasant countryside round to the lovely port of Lymington. From Lymington the Solent Way crosses the Lymington River then continues a mile or so inland, giving occasional glimpses to the busy Solent to the east. Soon the path enters the New Forest passing Sowley Pond on the left walking on the quiet road for a little while to beautiful Bucklers Hard on the River Beaulieu. From Bucklers Hard the path follows the edge of the river to Beaulieu. www.solentway.co.uk