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Hiking in the New Forest
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Hiking in the New Forest

6th October 2021

If you’re looking for a beautiful hike close to London then look no further than the New Forest National Park. Comprised of miles of ancient forests and untamed heathland, this corner of Southern England is packed with incredible options for adventure experiences. Charlie & Jess of the Travel Project spent an afternoon walking its beautiful trails, meeting the wild horses and stuffing their faces on the heath.

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Difficulty:

This is a very easy adventure, with relatively flat ground and not much preparation required. If you have small children or are feeling a little lazy, distance can of course be scaled back.

Time:

For this particular adventure we chose a 5 hour walk, however the New Forest offers all manner of walks, from a short stroll to a mammoth mission, there is something for all.

The Adventure:

We were after a long hike close to London, one that would plunge us into wilderness and take us across a variety of terrains. Just a couple of hours drive from our house, The New Forest National Park offered the perfect, easy to achieve option as we only had a day to spare.

Home to hundreds of wild horses, vast forests, free roaming cows, all manner of birds and undulating heathland, the area was proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror no less and boasts over a hundred hiking trails, varying in length and terrain. This means you are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing your route…

During our research we discovered alltrails.com, a brilliant website that outlines hikes across the UK. The site has several filters including time, distance, whether or you would like your walk to be a loop etc. It’s a real time saver, and we highly recommend planning your route using it.

For this adventure we settled on The Acres Down Loop, packed up the car and hit the road. Setting off from London at 7am meant we were parked up in Acres Down carpark by 9 and ready to go.

We set off bathed in sunshine and set about following the route. True to form it only took us an hour to get lost - we had failed to download the map and so were going off written instructions…
Hiking in the New Forest Hiking in the New Forest
Obvious tip: Signal is patchy so if you want to be efficient, download the map… unless you fancy navigating the park by yourselves, which does add quite a fun challenge element, however may lead to arguments.
We argued our way across some heathland, before coming to the conclusion that this was in fact quite a fun way to navigate the area. The National Park is vast, however you’re never too far away from the marked paths and so roaming free is a great option. After a couple of hours of hiking across the landscape, through bogs and past wild horses, we realised we hadn't seen another human since we set off, and that was the way for the rest of our hike.

The hike delivered on all fronts - 4 hours of nature therapy as we were blasted by fresh air and English beauty. Not all adventures need to push you to your limits!
Hiking in the New Forest Hiking in the New Forest

Pointers:

Picnic like a pro - one sure fire way to take the adventure to the next level is by making sure you prepare a mini feast as reward for your efforts.

Kit - This really is an entry level adventure. That said it’s always worth considering what kit to take, as this really can make a difference. The terrain of the New Forest tends to be pretty friendly, however the heaths can quite quickly turn to bogs, so waterproof footwear is a good idea. Furthermore it’s worth checking the weather as close to leaving your house a possible - we tend to use the Met Office for accuracy. Much better to be prepared for the rain when it comes!
Hiking in the New Forest

In Conclusion:

A great little adventure within a couple of hours of London. This was cheap, easy and gave us a much needed blast of the outdoors.
Hiking in the New Forest
Hiking in the New Forest Hiking in the New Forest
Follow Jess and Charlie's achievable adventures around the UK @the.travel.project

Where to stay near the New Forest

Planning your own New Forest adventure? Here's our pick of the places to stay in the local area.

Durns

Boldre - Hampshire

Sleeps 16 (max. 10 adults)

Gorgeously restored Georgian farmstead with heated outdoor pool in the New Forest. The perfect luxury group getaway.

Riverside Lodge

Fordingbridge - Hants

Sleeps 6

Quaint lodge on the edge of the River Avon in Hampshire, with huge windows, comfy furnishings, and great access to the New Forest and Cranborne Chase.

Hampshire Treetop Cabin

Beaulieu - Hampshire

Sleeps 2

Stylish woodland cabin in the New Forest.

Gins Barn

Beaulieu - Hampshire

Sleeps 9 + 2 kids

Escape the city lights and enjoy the finer things in life with a stay at this luxurious barn conversion on the New Forest coastline…

The Hay Loft - Warborne Farm

Lymington - Hampshire

Sleeps 8

A luxury barn conversion on an award-winning farmland estate, close to the sparkling Hampshire coast and the lush New Forest landscapes…

Little Patch

Ringwood - Hampshire

Sleeps 6

Stylish holiday cottage with a hot tub tucked away in the New Forest, perfect for a quiet countryside retreat surrounded by nature.

Odd Ways

Beaulieu - Hampshire

Sleeps 8 +4 kids

Spot wild ponies, relax in the peace and tranquility of nature, and venture out to explore the New Forest at Odd Ways.

The Brickworks

Beaulieu - Hampshire

Sleeps 8

An industrial treasure that’s won a place in our hearts with its idyllic riverside setting in the New Forest National Park…

Thatched Hat Cottage

Lymington - Hampshire

Sleeps 6

Beautiful 18th Century thatched cottage hidden away in the charming hamlet of Norley Wood in the New Forest, the perfect escape from the hustle and bustle

The Hut at Lymore Forest

Lymington - Hampshire

Sleeps 2

Lying just to the south of the New Forest National Park, this classic shepherd's hut is the perfect tranquil couple's retreat.

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