Ancient Oak & Resplendent Redwoods: Exploring the New Forest

The New Forest, one hundred and fifty square miles of ancient woodlands, heathlands, bogs and carrs, rivers and valleys, and some of the UK’s most historic villages. This rare and beautiful landscape hosts an abundance of wildlife; from beetles, bats and butterflies to woodland deer and moorland ponies, and continues to captivate all those who visit.

Toad Hall Cottages has a long list of gorgeous New Forest Holiday Cottages tucked away in this delightful corner of the British Isles, all of them providing an ideal base for your walking holidays.

Here are five enchanting New Forest walks for you to discover…

Bolderwood, near Lyndhurst

In the heart of the New Forest, along the Ornamental Drive, is Bolderwood, one of the best places to see grazing deer.

Bolderwood

There are three signposted circular walking trails from Bolderwood car park, all of them on either good gravel or firm grass and taking in Bolderwood’s ancient and ornamental woodland where some of the forest’s tallest Redwoods and most magnificent Douglas firs grow amongst the native beech and great English oaks.

The deer get fed daily between the months of April and September.

Obstacles: Gates around the car park with wheelchair-friendly trombone latches.
Chicanes at road crossing points.

Hatchet Pond, near Beaulieu

An idyllic spot for both picnics and wildlife watching, Hatchet Pond was created in the 18th century to power an iron mill.

Hatchet-Pond

It remains the largest area of fresh water in the New Forest and embraces a number of beautiful and easy-going walking trails.

Fishing is permitted on the pond and day, week, and season permits are available via the Forestry Commission: the fishing season runs from 16th June to the 14th March. A variety of fish can be caught here including roach, bream, tench, carp, pike, perch, eels and rudd.

Listen to the New Forest Dawn Chorus.

Rufus, near Minstead

The Rufus Stone marks the spot where William II, known as William Rufus (Rufus being Latin for ‘the red’) was fatally shot by an arrow during a hunting accident.

The inscription on the Rufus Stone reads:

“Here stood the oak tree, on which an arrow shot by Sir Walter Tyrrell at a stag, glanced and struck King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, on the breast, of which he instantly died, on the second day of August, anno 1100.

King William the Second, surnamed Rufus, being slain, as before related, was laid in a cart, belonging to one Purkis and drawn from hence, to Winchester, and buried in the Cathedral Church, of that city.”

Legend has it that the ghost of King William returns to the spot where the oak once stood on the anniversary of his death.

Blackwater, near Burley

There are several leafy trails to be discovered at Blackwater, on the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, all on easy-going terrain and encapsulating some of the New Forest’s most breathtaking woodland, including The Tall Trees trail and Arboretum walks.

Blackwater-Arboretum

“Blackwater arboretum certainly lives up to this description with a magnificent collection of some of the oldest and tallest trees in the United Kingdom, and other beautiful trees from around the world” – New Forest Guides

Obstacles: Gates at entrances to Arboretum, chicanes at road crossing points.

 

Knightwood Oak, near Brockenhurst

Pay a visit to what’s believed to be the oldest oak tree in the New Forest and enjoy its majestic surroundings and easy-going terrain.

The Knightwood Oak, also known as the Queen of the Forest, is a common or English oak and is thought to be more than 500 years old, standing over seven metres tall, and is still growing!

This mighty oak is also a living example of the ancient practice of ‘pollarding’; the cutting of branches above the height that grazing animals can reach to prevent damage to the new shoots.

Discover one of Europe’s oldest and most magnificent woodlands when you book a Tall Hall Cottage in the New Forest, the perfect setting for your walking adventures. Many of our New Forest Cottages are dog-friendly, so you can share your tracks and trails with your waggy-tailed companions.

Make 2018 your year for adventure and enter the wild with Toad Hall Cottages.