Guest post by Lead Ranger Gillie Molland from the New Forest National Park Authority
Autumn in the New Forest is a wonderful place for a stroll, with fiery foliage and free roaming pigs and ponies providing the perfect backdrop to #GetOutside and explore on foot.
OS Maps can help you plot your own routes on public rights of way and footpaths in each of Britain’s 15 National Parks, including the New Forest. If you’re looking for a little bit extra then the New Forest Walking Festival could be for you.
For some, winter is a time of hibernation, staying in and never straying too far from the fireplace. For many others, though, it’s a time to get out the scarves, gloves, earmuffs and woolly hats which themselves have been hibernating for most of the year, and head out into the fresh chill outside.
Keen walkers know that the some of the UK’s most beautiful landscapes really come into their own in the colder season. A touch of frost here, a layer of snow there; it all adds up to make some of Britain’s most stunning scenery. So if you’ve got your layers on and fancy a stroll, here are some of our favourite winter walks around the country.
This week is National Parks Week, a seven-day celebration of Britain’s wildlife. It sees events organised across Britain’s 15 National Parks and encourages all Brits to head out and explore open areas right on their doorstep. There will also be a photography competition (on the theme ‘Space to Grow’) and overnight stays to show off the Parks’ dark skies.
So for those planning a visit to one of Britain’s National Parks for the big week ahead, here are some of the goings on you can look forward to.
‘Take pART’ is an arts and crafts scheme aimed at allowing children to get creative, learn a new skill and make something tangible, especially if this can be done with natural materials. This year’s National Parks Week will coincide with two Take pART workshops: pottery and felt pictures.
Both workshops will take place at the National Park visitor centre, with pottery on the cards on July 29 and felt the following day. The cost for each will be £5 per child. Adults or families looking for more physical activities, meanwhile, may be tempted by the Walk, Talk and Tea stroll around Mynydd Illtud. The family-friendly four-mile stroll will take in industrial sites, spiritual centre and Iron Age hillfort (depending on time). Space on the walk cost £4 but this includes a cream tea.
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.
Last week a team of outdoor enthusiasts from the Ordnance Survey Research Department rolled up their sleeves to help the National Trust raise the profile of a newly opened area of the New Forest National Park.
The team were given the challenge to create a huge sign saying ‘Foxbury’ from cut birch logs on a hill side in the New Forest National Park. The hillside sign will publicise the 370 acre area of the New Forest National Park that has been acquired, and is now being managed by, the National Trust. The Foxbury area was formerly a plantation and was about to be turned into landfill when the National Trust stepped in and rescued it. The area is now being restored to heathland and deciduous woodland, and a dedicated recreation space for walkers, cyclists and horse riders.
This week we’re not going to give you one walk of the week – we’re going to give you several to choose from. This week we’ve asked the Ordnance Survey Corporate Design team where their favourite autumnal walks are so we can share them with you.
Our Corporate Design team work across the organisation offering design, publishing and photography support. They are based in our head office in Southampton.
Given where we’re based – it’s no surprise that the New Forest National Park has come out as a firm favourite of places to walk in the autumn. Particular favorite locations in the New Forest are the Blackwater Arboretum on Rhinefield Drive near Brockenhurst (OS grid reference SU265048) and round by Eyeworth Pond (OS grid reference SU226148).
“I like the Blackwater Arboretum on Rhinefield Drive, near Brockenhurst. It’s an easy going stroll for all ages with a good mixture of tree types. ”
John Higgins, Graphic Designer
“When it comes to autumnal walks, I think the New Forest is hard to beat. The northern part of the forest is always quieter than the south part but just as beautiful. My Grandad introduced me to a walk that starts at Eyeworth Pond (SU2214). Here is a car park right next to the large pond and one can feed the Mallard Ducks, Canada Geese and other waterfowl. This is also a nice place for a picnic.
From here we used to head north-east along the south bank of the pond where we would come to the Irons Well on the left. This spring is coloured red by iron salts and was once used by a gunpowder factory near by. Its waters were also thought to contain restorative properties. From here we would follow the bridleway onto open heathland and then follow the road (B3078) that’s heading towards the right. Taking the next right we’d head towards the village of Fritham where the Royal Oak pub is. From here it’s back down the hill to where we started from”
Gary Tull, Technical Author
For those wanting somewhere a bit further north for their autumnal walk – Michael Stacey, Graphic Designer, suggests Ingleton on the Yorkshire Dales.
“Starting at Ingleton in the Yorkshire Dales, take the path northwards alongside the River Twiss. This is wooded for much of its length and you pass numerous waterfalls on the way, including Thornton Force. Take the track to Twisleton Hall and then to Beezleys and follow the path down the River Doe, again wooded for much of its length with more waterfalls. You end up back in Ingleton. In the autumn you get the combination of waterfalls and autumnal colours and on a bright sunny day (!!) it’s well worth the effort.”
For Julie Buck-Rogers, graphic designer and keen surfer, it’s Baggy Point, North Devon that has the appeal in autumn. This is because – if the surf isn’t up – it’s a lovely coastal walk!
So that’s some suggestions from our graphic designers in the Corporate Design and Publishing team – where are your favourite autumnal walks? Wherever you go for your walk – don’t forget to take your Ordnance Survey map with you!