Walking: The (not so) New Forest

The Knightwood Oak. Photo by Neville Fenn.

Our recent camping holiday in the New Forest wasn’t all lounging around eating and drinking. We also went pottering around the woods a bit. September is a very beautiful time of the year to visit. The trees are in their full end of Summer glory and everything is green and vivid.

We completed a couple of planned walks along with lots of unplanned wanderings. The first was a short walk based on a leaflet available for £1.50 (available from the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst). No. 2 Knightwood Oak. 2 miles long and an estimated duration of 1hr 20 mins.

The walk starts near the over 500 year old ‘Knightwood Oak’ which is reputed to have been visited by Henry VIII when he hunted in the forest. It’s big. I mean really big. I mean so big that you look up and realise the branches at the top are the size of trees. Dogface was unimpressed. He scratched, he weed, he wanted to keep moving.

Next up is the New Forest reptile centre. Nev saw a frog, I saw nothing. It’s…um…a good place to stop for a slurp of water and a snack bar and use the facilities…and it’s free!

The woods after the reptile centre were particularly beautiful. Great conifers towering into the sky. Hard to look at the tops let alone get a photo.

All in all it was a pleasant, well written short walk.

Our next planned outing was a walk from Hollands Wood campsite to Lyndhurst and back. A round trip of 7 miles according to the GPS. The woods North of the campsite are absolutely gorgeous. In particular a hillock called King’s Hat, which is one of our favourite places in the forest. The paths are wide and clear and the going is relatively easy. We find a GPS an absolutely requirement though. There are no landmarks in the forest and one path looks much like another. Unlike walking on a moor or a hillside it’s very easy to get turned around and completely lost. A map and a compass just doesn’t cut it. Quite often the paths on the OS map don’t match up with reality as over time the footpaths move around fallen trees but the GPS tells you exactly where you are.

We saw a few ponies in the forest but always managed to keep our distance with Dogface. Didn’t see any pigs which are apparently let out this time of year to eat the acorns. Good thing too as I think a pig encounter may have put Dogface off nature for life.

(Photo by Neville Fenn.)

When we reached Lyndhurst we collapsed on a bench outside the pub next to the Maserati and Ferrari garages and enjoyed a coke and a half pint respectively. Then did some shopping and then walked round the corner to The Crown Stirrup pub, open all day for food! We are big fans of this pub. The staff are friendly, dogs are welcome, they have great local beers, and the food is AMAZING. See exhibit A below…

When I say dog friendly I mean the barmaid came out with a dog bowl of water for Dogface and some biscuits when we arrived having, obviously, been walking. The other great thing about the Crown Stirrup is that they have a back gate out of their garden straight into the forest and the paths back to the campsite so you can walk off lunch heading back to the tent!

Okay, so the walking was also punctuated with some eating and drinking too. Good times 🙂

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One thought on “Walking: The (not so) New Forest

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