Brockenhurst-Rhinefield-Brock Hill-Bolderfold Bridge
The New Forest and its National Park is a wonderful and beautiful place situated in Hampshire down in Southern England. The New Forest National Park was created in March 2005 after six years of consultations. A national park authority was established in April 2005 and gained full statutory powers in April 2006. The park covers 140,000 acres and includes many existing Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and lies mainly in south-west Hampshire from east of the Avon Valley to Southampton Water and from the Solent coast to the edge of the Wiltshire Chalk Downs. The Forest is a living and working place with so many thatched cottages, hidden gems and secrets making it a haven for walkers, cyclists, horse riders and tourists. To enable you to enjoy the forest to its full potential is to leave the car and get out there and explore. There are many circular routes, which can be found in the tourist information places, with picnic areas and toilet facilities. There are also guided walks where experts will tell you about the forest, its history and wildlife etc. There is also the New Forest Tour which is an open top bus taking you on many routes round the forest and villages and you can hop on and off where ever you like. This is fun for everyone and ideal for people who cannot walk far or are disabled. The New Forest Museum and Visitors Centre in Lyndhurst is the best place for any information and advice. The main attraction of the New Forest is the wild ponies that roam free but are actually owned by New Forest Commoners. There are approximately 3,000 ponies and have lived here for about 2000 years. The foals are born in the spring and summer and they are a delight to see. In the summer and autumn each year Pony drifts are held so that the commoners can sell their stock and the job of tail clipping and veterinary checks can be done at the same time.
The New Forest River Restoration Project is a massive project to help restore the New Forest to create a better place for people and wildlife along its rivers. The New Forest National Park Authority, the lead partner for the project, are working with the Forestry Commission and Natural England to restore 2,700 hectares of the New Forest that has been damaged by past drainage activities in the 19th and 20th centuries. The New Forest is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the work started in April 2009 and will finish in March 2013.
Brockenhurst is a lovely village surrounded by woodland in the New Forest National Park and attracts thousands of visitors. Brockenhurst dotted with centuries old thatched cottages is the largest New Forest village by population and Brookley Road, its main shopping street, has a lot to offer with many shops to browse around and plenty of places to choose from to eat and drink and not only that you are more than likely to meet the wild New Forest ponies, donkeys and cows just wandering about the streets. At the western side of Brockenhurst two streams join as one and this stream flows across Brookley Road causing a ford known as The Splash. In 1765 the turnpike arrived in Brockenhurst operated by The Lymington, Lyndhurst and Rumbridge Turnpike Trust which is now the A337 and then in 1847 The South Western Main Line from London Waterloo to Weymouth opened as part of the Southampton to Dorchester Line. The station at Brockenhurst brought an influx of visitors, holiday makers and an increase in population to the village and the Lymington Branch Line opened in 1858. Brockenhurst’s Railway Inn was renamed the Snakecatcher in memory of Brusher Mills a local snake catcher. In the First World War Brockenhurst was a convalescence centre for wounded troops especially from India and New Zealand and hospitals were established in Balmer Lawn and at Forest Park and in the Second World War Balmer Lawn, now a hotel, was the location of many of Generals Montgomery and Eisenhower’s meetings, away from their headquarters in Southsea, as they planned the D-Day Landings. Balmer Lawn is a 500 acre New forest Lawn located in an amphitheatre of woodland that is grazed by forest stock. Forest Park Hotel was originally a vicarage in the early 1900’s and after being a field hospital during the First World War has been a hotel ever since. The parish church of St. Nicolas, situated on the outskirts of the village, is the oldest church in the New Forest and Brockenhurst College one of the most successful tertiary and sixth form colleges in the UK is also situated on the edge of the village. The Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and the Rhinefield Walk is well worth a visit. There are ample hotels, B&B’s and a camp and caravan site to stay overnight or for longer stays and the nearest towns are Lyndhurst and Lymington.
We park at the side of the road in one of the side streets and make our way to the Snakecatcher pub next to the railway crossing. We start by walking down Brookley Road turning right at the Foresters Arms and then pass the thatched restaurant on the right. We continue straight forward through the main shopping area to the ford known as the Splash at the end of Brookley Road. Here we turn left, sign posted Burley, and follow the path on the right of the road until we come to a barrier. We turn right and follow the track to the left, ignoring the footpath on the right, to the left of a white house. We pass by some thatched cottages on our right with the open Moor on the left until we come to Rhinefield Road with a car park opposite. We turn left and head forwards following the road on the grass verge passing Whitemoor Pond car park on the left and Whitefield Moor car park, with toilets offering disabled facilities, on the right. We keep following the road crossing over a bridge and past Rhinefield House Hotel on the left then cross over a cattle grid, until we come to Rhinefield Cottage where we turn left with the cottage on our right. We head forwards on the track pass through a barrier and keep following the track round to the right following the cycle route over a ford. The track turns right again and we soon come to the road at Brock Hill where we cross straight over, Brock Hill car park is on the right, and follow the track round to the right and then bearing sharp left at a barrier and tree trunk lying on the ground. We keep heading forwards and turn left at the crossroads of tracks then keep following the track going through a gate we now have open land on both sides and head forwards on a stony track towards the trees. We pass through the trees and bear to the left following the track with a field on our left. We pass through a gate and when the track splits into two we take the right fork and as the track bears to the right we go through another gate and keep heading forward. We pass a post with 260 on it and keep following the track going through a gate to a t-junction with a post opposite with 262 on it we turn right. We head forwards through another gate and follow the track to Bolderford Bridge. At the bridge we turn left and follow the river on our right and we can see the open fields on our left until we come to a bridge. We cross over the bridge and turn left keeping the river on our left for a short way, then cross over a little bridge on our right and head forwards out of the trees and into a large field. We head straight forwards towards the houses of Brockenhurst. When we reach the main road we turn right and make our way back to our start point and parked car.
An easy to moderate walk on mainly good tracks with some forest road. There are only slight inclines and declines. The last part of the walk by Lymington River is unlevel.
Approx 10 miles allow 3 hours 30 minutes using OS Explorer Map 22 New Forest.
Start point: The Snakecatcher pub next to the railway crossing on the A337 at Brockenhurst.
Brockenhurst in the New Forest National Park in the County of Hampshire.
Directions and Parking
At the merging of the M27 junction 1 and the A31 take the A31 to Cadnam then at the roundabout take the A337 to Lyndhurst then Brockenhurst. There are two car parks and some road side parking.
Toilets and Refreshments
There are public toilets in Fibbards Road Car Park at Brockenhurst and at the Whitefield Moor car park off Rhinefield Road. For Refreshments in Brockenhurst there are two cafes, a tearoom, five restaurants, three takeaways and five pubs The Foresters Arms, The Filly Inn, Snakecatcher, Forest Park and the Rose and Crown. There is also a good variety of shops including a post office, a chemist and a butcher.