Walk 2666 - printer friendly version
A walk in the north west of the New Forest Walk
Author - Donald Morton
Length - 9.3 miles / 15 km
Ascent - 250 feet / 76 metres
Grade - easy/mod
Start - OS grid reference SU178129
Lat 50.914396 + Long -1.7495954
Postcode SP6 2JD (approx. location only)
This walk starts at the large car park at Abbots Well (Grid Ref SZ178129), which itself provides panoramic views over the Forest. Walk back to the road and turn right. Where the road turns sharp left continue straight on along the gravel cycle route to Fritham. The route is initially uphill to reach Hampton Ridge. The track continues along the ridge with good views in all directions. At a fork of equal paths take the left hand branch and then later again take a left hand fork, this time on a rather lesser path running along gorse on your left and heading for woods. Just as you reach the woods, cross a wide gravel track and go straight on to enter Pitts Wood Inclosure, a lovely mixed plantation with plenty of bird life. (Note the stone on the right just as you enter giving the history of the enclosures.)
Go down hill to a stream. There is no bridge, but depending on the flow of water, is crossable with dry feet - a walking pole may help if the weather has been wet. After the ford carry straight on uphill. A little distance after emerging from the wood you pass a valley on the left and soon after this take a gravelly path branching backwards on the right. This takes a straight line NE over Little Cockley Plain, again with views all round. The gravel track runs into a lawn and disappears but continues beyond the lawn as a rather rougher path still on the same line. (Around here over to the right was a wartime practice bombing range but, from the path at least, there is little evidence to be seen now.) Where you join another path turn left. Ignore a path to the right and go straight on. The path does a right angle turn round a solitary birch and soon after reaches a wide track. Turn right to start the return leg.
The path back across the heathland runs more or less SSW. A number of tracks go off to the left towards woods but these should be ignored. Eventually you pass what looks to be a war time bomb blast protection wall and then after crossing a gravel cycle route you come to Amberwood Inclosure. Go straight on through the gate into the woods and down hill to a track junction. Turn right on a gravel track. At the next junction turn left. Follow it as it curves right, down into a dip and up to where it is crossed by a grassy path. Turn left downhill again and over a bridge to cross a brook and through a gate to a ride between two Inclosures. Turn right and continue to a T-junction with a gravel track. Turn left through a gate and continue to a gravel track T-junction.
Turn right and follow the track until you see a gate, on a spur track going off to the right. Go through the gate. Stay on this gravel track to cross the heath as far as the next Inclosure - Hasley. Do not enter the Inclosure but turn right along a very sandy track which skirts the edge. Where the boundary of the Inclosure bends left, take the right hand fork of the path down towards Latchmore Brook. On reaching the wide green area before the Brook turn left and use one of the many faint tracks to head towards the dwellings seen ahead. When you reach the gravel track turn right and follow it past the car park and over the brook. (Depending on where you hit the gravel track you may have to ignore a left fork.) Follow the track uphill. At the summit turn left for a short cut back to the start car park (or continue to the road and turn left for the car park).