Trains to the New Forest run frequently from many UK destinations and while we stop at lots of fantastic places, the charming hamlet of Brockenhurst is a particular favourite of ours. Perhaps, because it’s enjoyed as much by its visitors as it is by the resident ponies. Or maybe because of its secret forest pathways that you can spend days exploring.
One thing that certainly adds to its appeal is that everywhere you go, you will have company of the four-legged kind. Donkeys, ponies, deer and cows freely roam the streets and lanes and complement the charming feeling of the village. Plus, they also make for a great photo opportunity!
Discover the Forest on Foot
Get ready to explore the great outdoors! Lace up your trainers and head off on an adventure through the nearby forest where the trails are just waiting to be walked. Put your best foot forward and let’s check out some of the best routes!
Length of Walk: 6.2 miles / approx. 2 hours
This route is perfect for avid walkers who took a train to the New Forest with all their hiking kit and caboodle! Start your exploration by walking to Setley, then continue to Lymington River before looping your way back. This route will take you on a countryside amble through the ancient woodland and you can enjoy the view of the beautiful river as it flows alongside you.
Where: Balmer Lawn
Length of Walk: 9.1 miles / approx. 3.5 hours
Take a walk beside Balmer Lawn, where you can marvel at the ancient beauty of the old brick and tile works site, which dates back to the 19th century. Continue walking until you wander into Denny Woods. As you make your way through the vibrant green maze of coniferous trees, you can investigate the broad leaves and fertile plants that make up the surrounding forest, before winding your way back.
Where: Brockenhurst Church
Length of Walk: 11 miles / approx. 3 hours 45 mins
If you’re keen to really dust off your walking boots, then start your adventure at the historic parish church! When you get to Roydon Woods Nature Reserve, turn right and stroll over Setley Plain that passes alongside a disused railway track known as Castleman’s Screw. It’s easy to let your imagination run wildly as you walk and take yourself back to years gone by. The path will then take you through Hincheslea Bog, before you finish your hike at South Weirs stream, which trickles its way gently back to the village.
Where: New Forest National Park
Length of Walk: 13 miles / approx. 4.5 hours
Begin your adventure by wandering to Lyndhurst and continue strolling your way through along before you stumble across the beautiful New Forest Heathlands. This walk will present some of Mother Nature’s finest work, from the dense trees to the low-growing woody vegetation swathing the open expanse of the heath found within the New Forest National Park. When you want to head return to the village, follow the same route back.
Whether you want to head down quiet green lanes, stroll the ancient woodland or wander through the heathlands, there’s a variety of environments to explore making it easy to soak up new sights every time you venture out.
Please Note: There aren’t any steep gradients to tackle and only the occasional stile to clamber making it the perfect environment for all types of walkers.
When you slip out of your hiking boots and into something more comfortable, there’s a lot to do in this charmingly quintessential English village. There’s boutiques, cafés, second-hand shops, antique stores and bike rental shop fronts lining the streets.
Cycling: Many visitors love to rent a bicycle and take themselves for a cycle around the pretty village lanes. Why not go on a test drive and explore the surrounding forest on two wheels? You can easily rent a bike from one of the plentiful stores or bring your own, as CrossCountry trains provide space for you to store your bike. There are even some electric bikes you can whizz around on!
Where to eat: The Pig Hotel is situated on Beaulieu Road and is a delightful place to grab a bite to eat. They serve seasonal food made from locally sourced products, which means their meals are delicious. If you fancy some more traditional pub grub, check out the local watering holes like The Foresters Arms or the historical Snakecatchers.
Where to sleep: There’s also a decent amount of choice when it comes to where to stay and here are some of the best choices:
- Hollands Wood Campsite is a family-friendly site where you can pitch your tent in the heart of the New Forest and is only a 20-minute walk from the train station
- If a B&B takes your fancy, the award-winning Meerut offers everything you need for a lovely stay, while you enjoy the splendour of the parkland
- When it comes to hotels, the Rhinefield House Hotel is a magical secret that oozes grandeur. For something a little less magnificent but still a stylish place to stay is the Huntsman of Brockenhurst that is perfect if you’re seeking a comfortable and relaxing stay
- And don’t forget that there are also plenty of cottages and apartments that you can rent such as the trendy Daisybank Cottage or the Edwardian Brockenhurst Apartments
You can also enjoy a host of outdoor pursuits. Why not go for a hack in the countryside? There are two stables nearby where you can take horses out for a ride. Plus, there’s a golf course in the heart of the New Forest if you fancy a round in some impressive surroundings. We love it in Brockenhurst and next time you get a train to the New Forest, we hope you will stop here!
Catching a train to the New Forest and jumping off at Brockenhurst couldn’t be easier and you can enjoy zero booking fees when you book CrossCountry Advance tickets online.