I did this walk just a week ago and it’s perfect for the wet weather we’ve been suffering recently. The whole walk is on paths which are less prone to mud and puddles and you are less likely to need to resort to wellies! If you aren’t familiar with this area of the New Forest, Fritham is home to The Royal Oak pub which serves some excellent lunchtime food. Be warned, there is limited seating inside, so you may find yourself outside eating your ploughmans.
Length of route:
Four and a half miles, around 2 hours.
OS Explorer Map (1:25 000) – OL22 New Forest
The Fritham car park is just past The Royal Oak pub, signposted on the left-hand side of the road. From the car park you need to head back out towards the road, turning left just before reaching the road onto the track with a Forestry Commission barrier in place.
Follow this wide track through the woodland, continuing on this and ignoring the right hand fork when you reach it. The track winds along with many other paths joining it and you’ll pass over a small stream. Shortly after the stream you should continue to bear left on the track and again ignore a turn to the right.
When you reach a small hill, keep your eyes open for a gate on the left and you’ll need to go through this, into Amberwood Inclosure, leaving the main track which continues up the hill. This track continues through the woodland for some time before another fork when you should bear left again.
Not long after this as the path descends slightly, you’ll cross a small wooden bridge over a stream and then need to pass through two wooden gates which cross a wide grassy track. Continue on the track until you reach a further wooden gate and then follow the track uphill and to the right until you join another track. Turn left here and you’ll find yourself leaving the inclosure and coming onto Fritham Plain.
This track continues back to the car park where you started. If you do want some refreshment at the Royal Oak you’ll need to keep going through the car park until you reach the road and then turn right. The pub is just down the road on the left hand side.
You can also follow this route on OS getamap and print the route out http://www.getamap.ordnancesurveyleisure.co.uk/?key=uMwI5G7OPAzQPvNBNns8iQ2