As it’s National Parks Week, we thought it was the perfect time for sharing a walk in the New Forest. This is a lovely walk that starts and finishes near the Royal Oak at Fritham – perfect for a rewarding pint or ice cream after your walk. There is free parking available, at the starting grid reference for the walk too.
I did this walk quite early on a Saturday morning recently and saw a huge range of New Forest creatures – from deer snoozing on the edge of woodland to ponies, cows, ducks and donkeys. Despite the fact it was early July I barely saw another person once I’d left the car park either.
Once you’ve parked up, head back down the track and turn left when you reach the road. Follow the paved road down hill until you reach a turning to another car park on your right. It’s worth a stop at the Eyeworth Pond here to admire the ducks, and the water lilies if they’re in bloom. Keep the pond to your left and follow the track in the direction of Black Bush Plain.
It starts as a nice shady route through woodland before opening up to rolling New Forest plains. It was just here that I spotted the deer lazing under the tree line on the left and then a host of ponies and cows over to the right. The track starts to climb gradually now and you’ll spot the road drawing closer on the horizon as you go. Shortly before you reach the road, turn right and keeping the road on your left, keep going until you reach Longcross Pond.
The last time I did the walk there were dozens of ponies and cows grazing and drinking at the pond. Keep the pond to your right and follow it around and back in the direction of Fritham. You’ll be walking on a plain between two roads (there’s also a trig point on the plain if you fancy a quick look), following them to the point at which they join. Here, cross over and cut around Fritham Lodge before joining the lane into Fritham.
It’s a fairly quiet road, but do take care walking along and watch out for any traffic. After a while you pass an old red phone box on your left and shortly afterwards you’ll spot a sign for a footpath also on the left. Head through the kissing gate and then follow the path (which can get quite overgrown) to the right. After passing through another gate, keep to the right of the meadow and you’ll spot a stile to your right about half way through the meadow. Follow this shady path until you reach another field. Keep to the left of this field and head towards the gate at the bottom of the slope. From here, you’ll join a track bringing you past homes on your right. Follow this and turn right into Fritham at the top of the track. You’ll find yourself heading back towards the Royal Oak and the car park where you started from.