One of our favourite things about our coast-and-country location is the wide variety of walks which are available just a stone’s throw from the Heathfield Estate. Whether you fancy a coastal view, a rustic heathland ramble, or a wooded walk along well-made tracks, we’re sure we can find you something that’s just right. Most of the New Forest National Park is open common, so your walk could be along a prescripted route or it can take more of a ‘follow your nose’ approach. Whichever you choose each of the properties in Heathfield offers a plethora of maps and guides for you to plan your day.
We’re also blessed with beautiful coastline and estuaries, from the Beaulieu River across to Bournemouth’s sandy beaches and the famous peninsula of Hengistbury Head. Do ask us for walking suggestions to suit your group – but in the meantime, here are some tried and tested routes that we always like to recommend:
A lovely place to start a walk is the Station Tea Rooms in Holmsley. Just a five minute drive from Heathfield House, this route follows the tracks of the old railway line before opening out to reveal the open common of the New Forest. After a cream tea at the old railway station, walkers can make their way towards the village of Burley – famed for its witchcraft themed-shops and traditional village stores.
We never fail to be stunned by the beautiful river between Beaulieu and Bucker’s Hard. This two-mile walk takes you through a nature reserve and open fields as you wend along the ‘Solent Way’. The latter part of the walk has two options – riverside or woodland – which can make it feel more like a loop than a ‘there and back’ outing if you choose one path for each direction. At Buckler’s Hard, visit the historic shipbuilders yard and refuel with an ice-cream or a coffee at the Visitor’s Centre. This walk is one of the most accessible in the New Forest and would be appropriate for wheelchair users as well as little people in pushchairs!
The largest body of open water in the New Forest, this pond is particularly stunning at sunrise or sunset. Walking down Furzey Lane takes you into the denser trees of the Rans Wood Inclosure where paths and streams interweave in dappled sunlight. Perfect for cooling down on a hot day, or taking a camera for photo opportunities galore.
Lymington to Keyhaven
For a combination of coast and country, the sea wall walk between Lymington and Keyhaven provides views across to the Isle of Wight on your left, and inland nature reserves on your right. This is a reasonably flat walk with well-made paths, so might be another good option if you have a pushchair with you. Beware though, great views come with great exposure, and this can be a windy walk sometimes! At both ends of the path are fantastic places to eat, with a range of eateries in the town of Lymington and some classic country pubs in Keyhaven.