Godshill to Castle Hill round
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.
Godshill is a small scattered working forest village retaining strong links with Commoning traditions therefore there are plenty of forest ponies and donkeys roaming around. The village which has a mixture of cob and thatched cottages and brick buildings with slate roofs lies within the New Forest National Park. Godshill has a pub the Fighting Cocks, so named because there was once a cockpit there, a village hall, the Sandy Balls Caravan Holiday Park and a cricket pitch half a mile eastwards of the village. Half a mile west of the village is the iron-age fort of Frankenbury Camp which sits on a small hill overlooking the Avon Valley. It has steep natural slopes on the west and south sides and the north east sides are defended by a simple rampart and ditch. The original entrance on the south east corner has since been widened. The site is now pasture and part of Folds Farm. The earthworks are lined with trees and the south and western sides of the fort are woodland.
Castle Hill fort, located about a mile south of Woodgreen, was built in 1148 on the site of an earlier Iron Age hill fort and the remains of its medieval earthworks in the form of a ringwork and bailey can still be seen. A little further up the road towards Woodgreen there is Castle Hill car park where there some seats to enjoy the superb panoramic views west across the Avon Valley and beyond to the chalk hills of Wiltshire.
From the car park we turn left. At the Fighting Cocks pub we turn right, sign posted Woodgreen, downhill past the village hall. We turn left at the yellow arrow into a field and head forward with the hedge on our left. At the end of the field we go over the stile and head forward now with the hedge on our right. We go over the next stile and turn left through a metal gate and head forward through the tunnel of trees. When we come to a yellow arrow we turn right through the gate and follow the tarmac track along the edge of the caravan park. At the end of the park we head straight forward past the gate and water tank on the left. We continue ahead into the woods passing the remains of Frankenbury Fort. We follow the path as it bends left downhill at seat on the right. Then at a second seat on the left we turn right off the path through a metal gate into the wood. We go through another metal gate and head forward through the tunnel of trees. At the gravel track we turn left towards Folds Farm. At the track junction we turn right onto the Avon Valley Path. We continue straight ahead through the farm and over a stream, then cross a cattle grid and follow the track straight forward, bearing left at the fork, to the road. We now turn left and follow the minor road uphill along the ridge to Castle Hill car park. We admire the views then retrace our steps downhill, stopping to look at Castle Hill fort on the right, to where we came out at the road earlier. We continue ahead on the road and turn right at the yellow marker down a gravel track alongside houses. We continue to follow the track past Brook Cottage then cross over a wooden bridge over the stream. We continue forward with the stream on our left. We keep heading forward through the fields until we reach a third gate and a gravel track. We turn right uphill until we reach a track. We turn left and keep ahead until we meet the road. We turn right and follow the road uphill back to the Fighting Cocks pub then turn left back to the car park.
This is an easy walk on grass and gravel footpaths/tracks and some tarmac minor road. There are some gates and stiles and also some steady incline and declines.
Elevation: approx lowest point 29m (96ft) approx highest point 97.50m (320ft) approx ascent 165m (542ft)
Distance and Start Point
Approx 4.5 miles allow 2 hours using OS Explorer Map OL22, New Forest. This walk is done clockwise.
Start point: car park near the Fighting Cocks pub, Godshill in the New Forest.
Godshill is located on the B 3078 road about 2 miles east of Fordingbridge.
Directions and Parking
From Fordingbridge, situated on the A338 between Salisbury and Ringwood, take the B3078 to Godshill and the car park is on the right after passing the Fighting Cocks pub.
Parking: car park near the Fighting Cocks pub
Toilets and Refreshments
There are no public toilets. In Godshill there is a pub The Fighting Cocks and there is a shop at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre. In Woodgreen there is a pub The Horse and Groom and a Community Shop.