Exploring the New Forest on foot

The New Forest is one of the most beautiful National Parks in the UK and includes a diverse array of different habitats, from thick forest and rolling countryside to marshes and coast. The area is great for exploring, especially if you enjoy walking. There are over 143 miles of heathland to walk across, including several well established and popular routes. Alternatively, you can stroll through the woods and take in the ancient trees. You can also make your own trails if you wish, as long as you respect the location and be careful not to venture onto farmer’s land.

There are excellent walking routes starting at most of the major towns in the New Forest, including in Lymington, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst, the largest village in the area. There are walks to suit everybody, regardless of age, from easy, short distance ones to long, challenging cross country trails.

Before you head to the New Forest, you should do a little research so you are prepared. The first thing to look at is the trails so you can get a rough idea of starting points and the level of difficulty. If you are driving, make sure you check the car parks as these can close at different times of the year to preserve them and protect birds when they are breeding and nesting.

You’ll also need to check the weather because after rainy periods some trails can become waterlogged and unusable. Make sure you have a look at the conditions in the weeks leading up to your trip as it can take days, weeks or even months for trails to recover after heavy rainfall.

As well as the conditions you should consider the type of clothing you need to take. You’ll be hoping for warm weather but it is always good to pack for colder spells too, even if you are visiting in the height of summer. Footwear is also very important, especially on the more challenging trails. You should ensure you have proper walking shoes or hiking boots as these will protect your feet and ankles better than trainers and be more comfortable.

In order to have the best walking holiday you need to choose the right accommodation. Harvest House is a comfortable bed and breakfast in Hampshire, a short distance from Lymington. There are many great trails close by and we also have drying facilities on site too for the convenience and comfort of our guests.