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Walking in Hampshire

Accessible countryside

From open coast to rolling hills and river valleys, Hampshire's countryside has something for everyone. Here we offer a choice of attractive sites with facilities for less mobile visitors. Please contact the individual sites, or visit their websites for complete information concerning opening times, charges and facilities.

Alice Holt Woodland Park
Location: Near Farnham.
Access: The Woodland Park is signed from the A325 Petersfield to Farnham road about 4 miles north of Bordon.
Open: Daily.
tel 01420 520212
Easy Access Trail Distance: Short route 1 mile. Long route 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Limestone path. The route is level with some gentle undulations.
A woodland famous for its oaks, Alice Holt is a great day out for all the family.
The Forest Visitor Centre is the ideal place to begin exploring Alice Holt, with a well-marked easy-access trail from which you can discover the forest's quiet beauty. The Park plays host to a series of outdoor events throughout the year, for children and adults alike. There are several further areas of the forest which are accessible. For more information please refer to the site leaflet and the 'Holt Happenings' newsletter.

Alresford Millennium Trail
Location: Alresford.
Access: Starts from Alresford railway station.
Open: Daily.
tel 01962 840500
Easy Access Trail Distance 1 mile
Terrain: Terrain: Hardened
An accessible trail starts at the Watercress line steam railway and explores the charming Georgian town of Alresford along with its attractive riverside. A Millennium Trail guide leaflet is available from the Winchester Tourist Information Centre on the number above.

Basingstoke Canal
Location: Farnborough..
Access: From M3 junction 4 take the B3411 towards Mychett and turn off for the Canal.
Open: Contact the Canal Visitor Centre for opening times.
tel 01252 370073
Basingstoke Canal boasts a restored waterway and towpath from Greywell in Hampshire to Byfleet, Surrey. A total of 32 miles.
The canal centre, at Mytchett near Farnborough, provides information and an exhibition about the canal. The towpath makes a splendid linear trail and wheelchair accessible boats are available for hire, call 01252 622520 for information.

Blackwater Valley
Location: On the borders of Berkshire, Hampshire and Surrey
Access: From junction 4 of M3 take the A331 to follow the Valley south towards Aldershot or the B3272 North towards Yateley.
Open: Daily
tel 01252 331353
Easy Access Trail Distance: 8 miles.
Terrain: Hardened surface.
A linear, 23 mile long, riverside path follows the Blackwater River through woodland and flower rich meadows, linking a wide variety of nature reserves and country parks.
Sections of the path have been designated multi-user sections and are suitable for wheelchairs. 8 miles of path are identified between Aldershot and Farnborough. For information on this and other countryside sites and activity centres within the Blackwater Valley with disabled access and facilities, contact the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.

Blashford Lakes Wildlife Reserve
Location: Near Ringwood, New Forest.
Access: From Ringwood take the A338, then local roads
Open: Access by prior arrangement
tel 01425 472760
Easy Access Trail Distance: various.
Terrain: Hardened paths.
A wildlife reserve with woodland and flooded gravel pits support a large variety of wildlife.
Hardened paths give access to wooded areas and a fully accessible hide. The study centre and guided walks can be pre-booked.

Bohunt Manor Garden
Location: Liphook.
Access: To the South of Liphook, on the B2070
Open: Open daily, contact garden for opening times and admission prices. Car parking available.
tel 01428 727936
Easy Access Trail Distance: various.
Terrain: Hardened paths.
A woodland garden with a lakeside walk, ornamental waterfowl and herbaceous borders. Woodland and lakeside walks are accessible.

Calshot Activities Centre
Location: Calshot Spit near Fawley
Access: From Junction 2 of the M27 take the A326 towards Hythe
Open: Contact the centre for opening times and admission prices
tel 023 8089 2077
Not only one of the largest Outdoor Adventure Centres in Britain, Calshot also boasts superb views over the Solent and Southampton water. An accessible heritage trail provides a fascinating look around Calshot Spit, a significant strategic location during World War II and during Tudor times.

Charlton Lakeside
Location: Andover.
Access: Off the A343 in Andover
Open: Contact the site for opening times
tel 01264 338759
With an 18 hole pitch and putt, boating lake and pedaloes, crazy golf and children's play area you'll feel completely at home with the outside. Easy access paths lead to the lakes with boating and fishing available for the less mobile (pre-booking essential). For the suitability of other activities please call Charlton Lakeside.

Elvetham Heath Local Nature Reserve
Location: Elvetham Heath, Fleet.
Access: From the M3, take J4a and follow local roads to Elvetham Heath. The nature reserve is next to the village pond near Safeway Supermarket. Parking available at the Community Centre (500m away)
Open: At all times.
tel 01252 623443
Easy Access Trail Distance: Not more than 2km.
Terrain: Gravel path and boardwalks
A new nature reserve, which is an exciting wet heathland restoration project. As well as early stages of heathland there is a wetland area of reeds and rushes and a wet woodland, with many wild flowers along the pathways. Excellent for dragonflies.
The reserve has excellent pathways with boardwalks over the wet areas, making access easy. All gates are suitable for wheelchairs, pushchairs and bicycles. Guided walks, school groups and volunteer opportunities available from the Site Ranger on request.

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway
Location: Near Beaulieu
Access: Just 20 minutes from the M27 junction 2)
Open: Contact the gardens for opening times and admission prices.
tel 023 8089 1203
Easy Access Trail Distance: Not more than 2km.
Terrain: Gravel path and boardwalks
Beautiful oak woodland gardens with the famous Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, camellias and azaleas amongst other flowers.
Rare flowering trees and shrubs are arranged in three major gardens criss-crossed by hardened paths. There are some 200 acres of gardens including ponds, rose garden, rock garden and plant centre to discover. A free trail guide is available to all visitors.

Fleet Pond Local Nature Reserve
Location: Near Train Station, Fleet
Access: From the M3 take J4a then local roads to Fleet
Open: At all times
tel 01252 623443
Easy Access Trail Distance: Various.
Terrain: Hardened paths.
A diverse wetland wildlife reserve with woodlands and heathland. Supports a large variety of wildlife, including many species of bird, notably over wintering bitterns.
A circular pathway network is provided to cater for many differing abilities. A hard surfaced path is provided from the car park and has access to the heathland, woodland and lakeside. Along this route there is interpretive site information, maps and opportunities to watch birds or fish (permit required) from many of our purpose built platforms. Contact us on the details above for a free site map.

Havant Thicket
Location: Rowlands Castle
Access: Car park is accessed from the B2149 between Horndean and Rowlands Castle
Open: Daily
tel 01420 520212
Horse-riding Trail: Distance: 3 miles
Terrain: All weather track
A remnant of the Royal Forest of Bere this copse is an important site for nature conservation.
Havant Thicket has a variety of trails suitable for walkers and cyclists. There are numbered way markers to aid orientation. At the northern end of Staunton Country Park, it links to routes on offer within the park.

Hayling Billy Trail
Location: Hayling Island.
Access: Start at Havant Rail station via Langston High Street.
Open: Open daily, contact garden for opening times and admission prices. Car parking available.
tel 01428 727936
Easy Access Trail Distance: 4 miles.
Terrain: Varied but flat.
No trains have used the Hayling Billy railway line since 1963 and it is now available as a flat, secluded off road route along the western shore of Hayling Island.
This linear trail is a total of 4 miles from the start to Station Road, Hayling at the southern end, here boardwalks are available on the beach giving access to the foreshore. All along the way are superb views of Langstone Harbour nature reserve and the birds it supports. In addition the vegetation and flowers which now line this trail provide a convenient habitat for a great number of small birds and butterflies. Two short circular routes are available. Call 023 9248 0113 for more information.

Hilsea Lines
Location: Portsea.
Access: Along the north bank of Portsea Island, just south of the A27(J12)-A3 junction.
Open: Open daily, contact garden for opening times and admission prices. Car parking available.
tel 07958 353152 (weekdays)
Easy Access Trail Distance: 2 miles.
Terrain: Hardened.
A fascinating area of 19th century fortifications comprising a moat and defensive walls and embankments which are now covered with woodland.
The paths around the lines offer delightful and peaceful walks close to the busy city and provide easy access to this area's varied and interesting wildlife. An accessible waterside trail, with interpretation panels on route, explores a variety of habitats and the remains of a Napoleonic fort.

Hinton Ampner Garden
Location: Near Alresford.
Access: Off the A272 at Cheriton
Open: Access by prior arrangement
tel 01962 771305
These beautiful 20th Century gardens were carefully planted to sustain wonderful views across the gentle Hampshire countryside taking full advantage of the setting.
The gardens are accessible via grass ramps and gentle slopes. With all year round interest they are a delightful place for a stroll. A map of wheelchair routes is available. The house is also accessible via a ramp.

Holly Hill Woodland Park
Location: Swanwick.
Access: From A27 at Swanwick turn off towards Warsash.
Open: Daily
tel 01329 824543
Easy Access Trail Distance: up to ¾ mile.
Terrain: Graduated slope.
A Victorian woodland garden with lakes and waterfalls, a sunken garden and exotic plants.
An easy access trail avoiding steep slopes is reached form the Barnes Close entrance. Exploring the park the route goes through amazing Victorian landscaped gardens with lakes, islands, waterfalls, exotic trees and flowers to an area of hazel and alder coppice with large oak trees teeming with wildlife.

Itchen Valley Country Park
Location: Southampton.
Access: Accessed from Allington Lane off the A27.
Open: Contact the park for visitor centre and café opening times.
tel 023 8046 6091
Easy Access Trail Distance: 1 mile.
Terrain: Hardened paths
Charming countryside in the lovely Itchen valley. Throughout the acres of unspoilt countryside, the Park offers opportunities for walking, picnicking and barbecues.
Way marked trails guide you around the different areas and habitats. Part of the forest trail is suitable for pushchairs and wheelchairs.

Lepe Country Park
Location: Exbury.
Access: From the M271 or M27, head south towards Fawley, through Holbury and Blackfield on the A326.
Open: Daily.
tel 023 8089 9108
Lepe occupies a narrow stretch of land with superb views of the Solent and Isle of Wight.
The area is popular for summer relaxation, bird watching, windsurfing, sea-fishing, and bracing walks along the shoreline. Lying adjacent to North Solent National Nature Reserve this site has equally beautiful accessible walks with views of the Isle of Wight.

Liss Riverside Railway Walk
Location: Liss.
Access: On the Liss Forest Road between Liss and Greatham.
Open: Contact the park for visitor centre and café opening times.
tel 01730 266551
Easy Access Trail Distance: 8 mile.
Terrain: Hardened path
Liss is the largest village in the East Hampshire Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
Start the walk at the station and follow the route of the old military railway that runs alongside the River Rother, whose riverbank woodland consist largely of alder and willow. You will also pass old water meadows. This habitat is alive with small mammals and birds - one particularly special little invertebrate to look for on a summer's evening is the glow worm.

Longstock Water Gardens
Location: Near Stockbridge.
Access: From Leckford village on the A3057 towards Andover, cross the river bridge and take the first turning to the left signposted to Longstock.
Open: Contact the gardens for opening times and admission prices.
tel 01264 810904, www.longstockpark.co.uk
A delightful water garden renowned by horticulturalists.
The 2½ acres of acres of lakes are fed by the River Test and area accessible by grassland paths.

Lower Test Wildlife Reserve
Location: Totton, Southampton.
Access: Junction 1 of the M271.
Open: Daily.
tel 023 8066 7919
A wildlife reserve with a variety of wetland habitats rich in wildlife, especially over-wintering birds.
There is one easy access hide and two screened areas accessed via boardwalk. A further series of boardwalks within the reserve enable access to other parts of the site. Visit Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust website www.hwt.org.uk for diary dates and activities.

Manor Farm Country Park
Location: Bursledon.
Access: Follow the tourist information signs from junction 8 of the M27.
Open: Contact the Farm for admission times and prices.
tel 01489 787055
A traditional farm and ancient woodland overlooking the River Hamble.
Enjoy a circular, easy access trail in the woodland which offers lovely views over the River Hamble estuary. Or at the far end of the Country Park, meet friendly animals at the farm.

Meon Valley Disused Railway Line
Location: Meon Valley.
Access: The route is parallel to the A32 with car parking at Wickham and West Meon.
Open: Daily
Easy Access Trail: Total route length 10 miles.
Terrain: Flat but varied surfacing.
This 10 mile off road route follows the line of the old Meon Valley Railway creating a distinctive tree-lined feature.
The trail can be followed south from West Meon for ¾ mile and from Wickham in both directions. Following wet weather the trail gets very muddy.

Mottisfont Abbey and Garden
Location: Romsey.
Access: Signposted of the A3057 Romsey to Stockbridge road.
Open: Contact the National Trust for opening times and admission prices.
tel 01794 340757
Set amidst glorious countryside along the River Test, the Augustinian priory is surrounded by extensive grounds and lawn.
The famous rose garden with old fashioned scented roses (in flower during June and July) provides good wheelchair access. Please contact the property for information about access the rest of the grounds, volunteer driven passengers buggies are available.

The New Forest
Covering 145 square miles the New Forest is a place of ancient history, fascinating wildlife and stunning beauty. With areas of woods, heathland and forest lawns providing open grazing for ponies, cattle and pigs.
The many car parks throughout the New Forest provide access to campsites, way marked walks, scenic drives and barbecue sites, many with facilities for the less mobile. Contact the Forestry Commission for more information, tel 023 8028 3141,

Whitefield Moor
Location: Brockenhurst.
Access: From Brockenhurst follow the signs to the Rhinefield Drive. Whitefield Moor car park is on the right hand side.
Open: Daily, although areas may be closed of on weekdays for forestry work.
Easy Access Trail: Distance 1 & 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Reasonably smooth.
From the car park there are two way marked trails along gravel tracks. The routes pass through a variety of habitats of the Ober valley including heathland, grassland, woodland and the stream itself. Graded as moderate, the surface is reasonably smooth with some steeper sections.

Bolderwood
Location: Near Emery Down.
Access: From the A35 just west of Lyndhurst, turn right opposite the Swan pub towards Emery Down, after the village, turn left after the New Forest Inn. Bolderwood car park is about 3 miles down this road on the left.
Open: Daily, although areas may be closed of on weekdays for forestry work
Easy Access Trail: Distance 1.5 & 1 & 0.5 miles.
Terrain: Reasonably smooth.
There are three trails of varying lengths from here, each of which leads to the famous Bolderwood Fallow deer viewing platform. During the summer months the deer are fed each day in the early afternoon giving everyone a chance to observe these normally secretive animals. The longer trails pass the Radnor memorial before entering the arboretum. Graded as moderate, the surface of these routes is reasonably smooth with some steeper sections.

Blackwater
Location: Brockenhurst.
Access: From the A35 two miles out from Lyndhurst turn left into the Rhinefield Drive.
Open: Daily, although areas may be closed of on weekdays for forestry work
Easy Access Trail: Distance 1 & 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Reasonably smooth.
This is the best place to experience the majestic Douglas firs and redwoods of the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. Follow the sensory trail (0.5 miles) to discover the many different smells and textures of these trees. Alternatively, take the longer, 1.5 mile trail which runs under the under majestic confers planted in 1859 when it was the vogue to grow exotic trees. This trail can be followed from either end from the Blackwater or Brock Hill car parks.

Knightwood Oak Stroll
Location: Lyndhurst.
Access: Located on the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive just off the A35, 2 miles west of Lyndhurst.
Open: Daily, although areas may be closed of on weekdays for forestry work
Starting from the Knightwood Oak Car Park, this easy short circular route guides you around the Knightwood Oak and other ancient pollards.

Wilverley Plain
Location: Brockenhurst.
Access: : From the A35 turn off at the Burley junction then follow signposts to Setthorns campsite rather than towards Burley. Stay on road (ignoring campsite turnoff towards Sway) and car park is on the left.
Open: Daily, although areas may be closed of on weekdays for forestry work
Easy Access Trail: Distance 2 miles.
Terrain: Some rough patches and steep sections
A 2 mile trail through the inclosure which today is a mixture of conifers and broadleaves, old and young, with some open areas making it a beautiful and interesting place to walk. This path has been graded as difficult with some rough patches and occasional short, fairly steep slopes.

North Solent National Nature Reserve
Location: Between Southampton Water and Lymington.
Access: Car parking available at Beaulieu village, Lepe Country Park, Calshot and Blackfield.
Open: Open daily on public rights of way. Access to Needs Ore by prior arrangement. Permits available from the Beaulieu Estate.
tel 023 8028 6410, www.english-nature.org.uk and Beaulieu Estate tel 01590 614621 www.beaulieu.co.uk
Internationally important and protected coastal habitats ranging from open shore and mudflats to salt marsh, grassland, woodland and heathland.
There is disabled access to the hide at Needs Ore, on the western side of the Beaulieu Estuary (for access contact the above). Be prepared to see a remarkable diversity of plants and animals which include rare and threatened species. Lepe Country Park has accessible trails (see 18).

Old Winchester Hill National Nature Reserve
Location: Near Warnford.
Access: Car park sign-posted from the A32 along the minor road leading from Warnford to Clanfield.
Open: Daily
tel 023 8026 6410, www.english-nature.org.uk
Easy Access Trail Distance: ¾ mile.
Terrain: Hardened paths
This National Nature Reserve includes an Iron Age Hill fort which occupies a commanding position overlooking the Meon Valley. The site is renowned for its rich chalk grassland flora and associated butterflies and as a showpiece for chalk grassland management for nature conservation.
There is a small interpretive unit at the main car park and a leaflet is available from a dispenser. From here there is access to the picnic area with bench seats. There is an easy access trail and dedicated car park with access from Old Winchester Hill Lane, where the gate has a RADAR padlock. The track from this car park leads across the top of the hill to the iron age fort, with its excellent views across to the Isle of Wight. For more information please refer to the site leaflet.

Park Wood
Location: Waterlooville.
Access: From the A3 with parking in nearby streets.
Open: Daily.
tel 01476 581111
A level urban woodland with many unusual ornamental specimen trees and two meadow areas. This small site includes a former walled garden and interpretation on site

Queen Elizabeth County Park
Location: Near Petersfield.
Access: Accessed from the A3 south of Petersfield.
Open: Daily, please contact the park for Visitor Centre, shop and café opening times.
tel 023 9259 5040
Easy Access Trail: Distance 400 metres.
Terrain: Boardwalk.
Hampshire's largest Country Park with 1400 acres of downland and woodland, including Butser Hill National Nature Reserve. There are 20 miles of trails for walking, cycling and horse riding.
A short easy access trail extends from the back of the visitor centre, around a boardwalk to the pond and then to a picnic area and BBQ site.

Queen's Inclosure
Location: Cowplain.
Access: Situated between Cowplain and Waterlooville, alongside the A3, there are two entrances on Park Lane.
Open: Daily.
tel 01420 520212
Walking to Health Trail: Distance Up to 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Surfaced track.
A remnant of the Royal Forest of Bere, this fragment of forest is an important ancient oak woodland. Many of the larger oak trees are nearly 200 years old. An accessible trail criss-crosses the woodland.

Royal Victoria Country Park
Location: Netley, Southampton.
Access: Follow the brown tourist signs from junction 8 off the M27 or A27.
Open: The grounds are open all year round. Contact the park for heritage centre and tea room opening times.
tel 023 8045 5157
Easy Access Trail Distance: Various, no more than 2 miles.
Terrain: Mostly tarmac and hardened paths, relatively flat.
Attractive parkland, woods and historic buildings overlooking Southampton Water.
The Park is relatively flat with several tarmac roads. There are additionally access ramps to the heritage centre, tearooms and beach. A leaflet is available from the Park called 'Facilities for the less mobile'. This provides information on the available access and facilities, including three trails, a children's play area for wheelchair users, and a sensory garden. All leaflets are available in large print on request.

Sir Harold Hillier Gardens
Location: Near Romsey.
Access: Exit junction 3 of the M27 to Romsey, then follow white-on-brown tourist signs marked 'Hillier Gardens'.
Open: Daily, contact the gardens for times and admission prices.
tel 368787
Established in 1953 by distinguished plantsman Sir Harold Hillier, this magnificent collection of over 42,000 trees and shrubs is one of the most important modern plant collections in the world.
A hardened accessible path winds through the Gardens affording good access to large areas of the plant collection. Accessible parking and facilities available at the Gardens' new Visitor & Education Pavilion.

Staunton Country Park
Location: Havant.
Access: Located on the B2149 between Havant and Horndean, it is easily reached from the A3M and the A27.
Open:Daily, contact the park for admission prices.
tel 023 9245 2405
Discover a world of llamas and Giant Amazon water lilies when you visit... fun for all the family.
Regency pleasure grounds landscaped by Sir George Staunton offer an Ornamental Farm, formal gardens, maze and tropical glasshouses all of which are readily accessible. This offers close contact with both farm livestock and beautiful plants.

Titchfield Haven National Nature Reserve
Location: Hill Head, Fareham.
Access: From junction 9 of the M27 take the A27 towards Fareham and then turn off onto the B3334 towards the Solent.
Open: Closed Mon and Tues unless Bank Holidays. Visitor Centre free with free parking for badge holders; admission charge for reserve.
tel 01329 662145
Easy Access Trail Distance: 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Varied.
A major wetland nature reserve extending from the village of Titchfield to the shores of the Solent with great bird watching.
Improvements are continually being made to ensure that visitors with disabilities can enjoy a visit to the site. Much of the reserve is accessible, although some paths are muddy following rain. Bird hides have low level windows for wheelchair users. A level, surfaced walkway around Hill Head harbour gives good views over the Solent. All facilities in the Visitor Centre are accessible. For further information, contact Haven House Visitor Centre.

Warsash Common
Location: Warsash.
Access: From Fleet End Road in Warsash turn into New Road.
Open: Daily.
tel 01329 824543
Easy Access Trail Distance: ¾ miles..
Terrain: Mainly level
An attractive common with a fascinating mixture of heath, woodland, meadow and marsh with a wide range of plants, trees and wildlife.
Follow the easy access trail around the site and you may well stumble across a wealth of wildlife which in the summer include basking Grass Snakes and Lizards. In the denser woodland of Willow, Alder and Silver Birch you may get a glimpse of a Green Woodpecker, Jay or Wren.

Wellington Country Parkk
Location: Near Reading.
Access: Just off the A33 on the B3349, near the village of Riseley. Easily accessible from the M4 (Junction 11) and M3 (Junction 5).
Open: TOpen from Spring through to Autumn. Contact the park for full details on opening times and admission prices.
tel 0118 932 6444,
Easy Access Trail Distance: 1 & 1.5 miles.
Terrain: Reasonably smooth.
The ancestral home of the Duke of Wellington, this 350 acre park has attractions for all the family including woods and a lake, children's farm and nature trails.
Many of the nature trails are accessible. Contact the park for details of suitability of other activities.

West Walk
Location: Wickham.
Access: Car parks are situated off the A32 or at Hundred Acres north of the B2177 at Wickham Common.
Open: Daily.
tel 01420 520212
West walk is the largest remaining fragment of the former Royal Forest of Bere. It is one of the most important woodlands in Hampshire, outside the New Forest.
This open woodland is crossed by easy access paths. From the Upperford Copse car park a surfaced path provides visitors of all abilities the opportunity to explore the ancient wood. This trail also gives access to the Meon Valley disused railway line. Numerous forest glades provide peaceful picnic areas.

Yateley Common Country Park
Location: Yateley.
Access: The Park car parks are off the A30 between Yateley and Blackwater.
Open: Daily.
tel 01252 870425,
As an important area of heathland, woods, grassland and ponds. Heathland supports a large number of rare and beautiful species and the site is carefully managed in order to conserve and restore this important habitat.
The Gravel Pit car park (off the A30 between Yateley and Blackwater) gives access to a pond and to a network of paths through open heathland and woodland. Additional easy access paths across grassland, heathland and woodland lead from Blackbushe airport car park (off the A30, west of Cricket Hill Lane).

 

Further information on Walking in Hampshire

Getting About Guides provide travel information aimed primarily at older people and disabled people for each Hampshire district.

Walks with buggies

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