Just stretching the legs

Had a nice, easy, walk in the New Forest on Saturday (30th July) - just to stretch my legs and get out in the fresh air more than anything else to be honest.

Started from the car park at Milkham Enclosure which is on the North side of the A31 and can be reached via the Stoney Cross road.  There is one main path leading from the car park and this is popular with Mountain Bikers as there is a nice 13mile (can be made longer) loop from here around a designated MTB path (this is marked on OS Explorer maps with orange dots) - I've ridden this loop hundreds of times myself as we used to use it as our summer training ride!

Following the main path takes you down into the enclosure itself and from here you can walk in pretty much any direction, or follow the marked routes.  Out of the enclosure to the North are Broomy and Holly Hatch enclosures and to the West is Slufters enclosure.  Going South takes you into Roe enclosure and then onto Bratley Plain before reaching the A31.

My walk was only about 4 miles but, in the trees and bracken of the forest, I hardly saw another person and this is the reason I love the New Forest.  There are hundreds of miles of tracks and paths for walking, cycling and horse riding (although I've never really managed to get to grips with the latter!) and if you pick the right spot then you can feel totally isolated and away from civilisation even though you're probably not that far from the nearest house, road or pub!

Hampshire County Council's website has some really usefull information on the New Forest so if you're planning a trip then it's well worth a quick look - www.hants.gov.uk as does the New Forest website - www.thenewforest.co.uk

Anyway, planning continues for the lake district 2-day walk - sleeping bags being my main consideration at the moment!


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