New Forest National Park is a diverse parkland with a variety of terrain and hiking trails, including the popular Lepe Walk and the Lyndhurst Hill and Swan Green loop. The trails are just as diverse as the park itself, ensuring that experienced hikers have a challenging experience and beginner hikers can take in the beauty of the landscape. Whether you want a nature walk with the little ones to see deer and horses or you enjoy the thrills of the outdoors, take a look at the 10 best hiking trails in New Forest National Park.

    1

    Lepe Walk

    Take in the coastal views

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    Lepe Walk is a 5-mile coast and countryside trail that travels country lanes, lush fields, dense woodlands and stunning shoreline with views of Solent. Though the trail can only be walked on the shore at low tide, there’s an alternative route away from the coast during high tide. The trail is well marked and mostly flat, making it ideal for all skill and fitness levels. After the hike, you can stop in the cafe at Exbury Gardens for some tea and snacks.

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    2

    Emery Down

    Enjoy historic sites on the walk

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    Emery Down is a loop trail that travels through the picturesque Emery Down village area, passing many historic sites along the way. You’ll see attractions like the Manor of Minstead, an 11th-century manor, the Roman Bridge and plenty of beautiful, open woodlands. Another fascinating attraction is the New Forest Reptile Centre, which has a collection of venomous and nonvenomous snakes, lizards and other reptiles. You’ll also walk through Silver Street, a village street with charming thatched cottages and a quiet atmosphere.

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    3

    Lyndhurst Hill and Swan Green

    See the wild horses of New Forest

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    Lyndhurst Hill and Swan Green is a spectacular loop trail with unrivalled views of the region's scenic beauty, including wildflowers, dense forest, dramatic moorland and open valleys. You’ll pass numerous pubs along the way for a break and quick drink. One of the best parts of taking the Lyndhurst Hill and Swan Green loop trail is seeing the wild horses that roam through the park. At the end, treat yourself to a drink at Thatchers at the Swan, a popular village pub.

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    4

    Tall Trees Trail

    Walk among towering firs and redwoods

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    Tall Trees Trail is easy and comfortable for beginners, so hikers of all skill and fitness levels can enjoy this short loop trail that travels along the river. The trail lets you take in the scenery of New Forest National Park, and some of the highlights of the trip include the towering trees of the park, such as Douglas fir and redwoods, and the native Roe deer that live in the park. If you want to explore more of the park, you can take the trails that branch off from Tall Trees Trail.

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    5

    Burley Village Walk

    Explore the sleepy village near the park

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    The Burley Village Walk is an exciting trail with natural beauty, small-town charm and impressive lore that begins at the village centre and loops around the exterior of the village. The trail includes an uphill climb on Castle Hill Lane, which provides stunning views of the Avon Valley and an ancient hill fort. Some of the trail goes along the Open Forest edge, so you can explore some of the natural environment without straying too far from the path. When you return, you can stop in Queen’s Head pub for a much-deserved pint.

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    photo by Jim Champion (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    6

    Bolderwood Deer Santuary Walk

    Check out the fallow deer herds

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    Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary Walk offers some of the major highlights of New Forest National Park, including scenic nature sights and wildlife. Beginning in the centre of the park at Ornamental Drive, the path passes through expansive meadows that are home to a variety of enchanting wildlife, such as herds of fallow deer. During the spring and summer months, you can watch the deer feedings that take place each day in the afternoon. You’ll also see the ancient and ornamental woodland trees, Douglas fir and redwoods and a variety of other unique plant life.

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    7

    Ashurst and Deerleap Enclosure

    Spend time with the dog in Deerleap

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    Ashurst and Deerleap Enclosure is a gentle loop trail that’s filled with wildflowers and wildlife for a lovely day in the outdoors jogging, cycling or walking the dog. The trail features an easy, straightforward design, and much of it passes the Deerleap Enclosure, a picturesque spot of woodland. Along with deer, you may see wild ponies that are known to graze along the edge of the trail. The trail has several additional trails that branch off, so you can explore more of the park’s environment.

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    photo by Mike Faherty (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    8

    Stricknage Wood Circular

    See native wildlife in scenic areas

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    Stricknage Wood Circular is a moderate loop trail with wildflowers and other unspoilt scenery for a pleasant yet challenging hiking experience. The trail is popular for hiking, cycling and wildlife viewing, especially with the abundance of deer, ponies and other animals that are found within the more scenic areas of the park. Due to the length and terrain, the Stricknage Wood Circular may be hazardous for inexperienced hikers. The trails here aren’t as defined as some other trails, so it’s easier to get off track.

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    photo by Jim Champion (CC BY-SA 2.0) modified

    9

    Fritham Circular

    Try a trail on horseback

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    Fritham Circular is a multiuse loop trail with a scenic atmosphere that’s popular for hiking, cycling and horseback riding through diverse terrain, though it’s straightforward and easy. On this trail, it’s common to encounter wildlife like deer and reptiles along the way. You’ll also see some of the best landscape views of the rugged heathland and forest. Several trails branch out from the Fritham Circular, but you can easily step off the path and explore nearby areas without losing your sense of direction.

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    10

    Lyndhurst Circular Walk

    Get close to the birds of New Forest

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    Lyndhurst Circular Walk is a moderate loop trail with a river, bogs, woodlands and open areas for an interesting hiking experience. Many birdwatchers use the trail to see the numerous bird species that travel through the area. You could also see livestock grazing in the forest. Though the trail covers woodlands, sandy areas, gravel paths and paved paths, it may pose challenges for beginner hikers. It’s also easy to go off the trail and lose your bearings, so be sure to bring a map if you intend to explore the surrounding areas.

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