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Brockenhurst

Hiking around Brockenhurst

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Photo: Rens Kokke (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

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As one of the main villages in the New Forest National Park and surrounded on all sides by countryside, there are plenty of options for walks from Brockenhurst. Will you hike west through the woods to historic Beaulieu or perhaps east across open heath to Wilverley Plain? No matter where you go in this royal forest, your thighs will thank you because it doesn’t have much in the way of hills. 

The New Forest is the stuff of watercolour paintings. Brockenhurst’s hikes immediately take you into beautiful open plains, forested enclosures and past quaint thatched cottages. Walking trails are a mix of surfaces from gravel tracks and dirt paths to quiet lanes. 

The village itself hasn’t changed much in decades, with several thriving pubs, cafes and tearooms. There are a few impressive hotels and lovely campsites on the outskirts for accomodation. Brockenhurst’s large college keeps the village youthful and it has everything you need to start exploring the area.

The trails here seem almost endless so pick one to begin and let the path lead. 


Top 20 best walks and hikes around Brockenhurst

    Map data © OpenStreetMap contributors
    1
    1
    Intermediate
    03:04
    7.34 mi
    2.4 mph
    250 ft
    250 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    2
    Intermediate
    02:46
    6.55 mi
    2.4 mph
    275 ft
    275 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
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  • 3
    Intermediate
    03:44
    8.96 mi
    2.4 mph
    300 ft
    300 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    4
    Intermediate
    01:02
    2.48 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    5
    Intermediate
    03:52
    9.36 mi
    2.4 mph
    200 ft
    200 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    6
    Intermediate
    01:08
    2.70 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    7
    Difficult
    06:07
    14.7 mi
    2.4 mph
    450 ft
    450 ft
    Expert Hiking Tour. Very good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    8
    Intermediate
    00:53
    2.14 mi
    2.4 mph
    50 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    9
    Intermediate
    01:28
    3.52 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    10
    Intermediate
    00:35
    1.42 mi
    2.4 mph
    25 ft
    25 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    11
    Intermediate
    01:45
    4.21 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    12
    Easy
    01:13
    2.90 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Easy hike. Great for any fitness level. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    13
    Intermediate
    02:10
    5.29 mi
    2.4 mph
    100 ft
    100 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    14
    Intermediate
    01:55
    4.58 mi
    2.4 mph
    150 ft
    150 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    15
    Intermediate
    02:26
    5.90 mi
    2.4 mph
    125 ft
    125 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    16
    Intermediate
    02:22
    5.61 mi
    2.4 mph
    225 ft
    225 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    17
    Intermediate
    03:36
    8.53 mi
    2.4 mph
    350 ft
    350 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    18
    Intermediate
    00:43
    1.72 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    50 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View
    19
    Intermediate
    04:25
    10.5 mi
    2.4 mph
    400 ft
    400 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Good fitness required. Easily-accessible paths. Suitable for all skill levels.
    View
    20
    Intermediate
    01:23
    3.35 mi
    2.4 mph
    75 ft
    75 ft
    Intermediate Hiking Tour. Great for any fitness level. Mostly accessible paths. Sure-footedness required.
    View

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More Information

The New Forest’s unique history

The New Forest has only been a designated National Park since 2005 but its 219 square miles (566 km2) have been protected for almost 1,000 years. William the Conqueror proclaimed this beautiful area a royal forest in 1079 and used it as his personal hunting grounds. With the exception of royals riding around with bows, not much has changed since. 

The king created laws within the forest that gave him alone the right to hunt but endowed the existing population the rights to pasture. As the New Forest is a vast area of unenclosed pasture and open forest, the inhabitants, called Commoners, could let their livestock roam freely. This right remains today, passing with the sale of specific plots of land. Thanks to this extraordinary history, you’re almost guaranteed to see grazing animals on your walks from Brockenhurst. 

The park is well known for its magnificent trees as well. Within easy reach of the village, you can explore the rare trees in the Blackwater Arboretum where redwoods tower over you. Some of the best hiking trails around Brockenhurst will take you through beech, oak and pine forests, important habitats for the park’s many animals. 

The animals of the New Forest

Possibly the most famous resident of the national park is the New Forest pony. This native pony breed can be found grazing in much of the park throughout the year. Strong and hardy, the ponies seem wild but every single one is owned by a Commoner. They spend most of their time happily munching away, taking no notice of walkers. It’s wise to stay back though as they get irritated by too much attention. You also shouldn’t feed them, even if they look interested at the contents of your lunchbox.

If you head off on hikes from Brockenhurst during the autumn, you might spot pigs snuffling along through the fallen leaves. These amusing creatures roam freely for 60 days each autumn, hoovering up the acorns which can be poisonous for cattle and ponies. 

Cows also graze the forest and Brockenhurst is a particular hotspot for fluffy Highland Cattle. These gentle giants have huge horns but take little notice as you walk on by. If you walk near Beaulieu, you’ll most likely see some of the resident donkeys who have a habit of standing idly in the middle of the road.

Walking in the New Forest gives you huge freedom to explore wherever the fancy takes you. You can admire the trees, catch glimpses of deer and replenish your energy at one of the many pubs in the area. No wonder ol’ King William wanted it for himself.

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