Walking with Kids: the Wilverley Wander, New Forest
Hampshire as a whole is a wonderful place to walk with children small and not so small, with a long and scenic coastline and large areas designated as National Parks.
With its many woodland ‘inclosures’, the New Forest in particular comes into its own in autumn – and in this latest in our walking with kids series, we bring you an easy jaunt through ancient and ornamental woodland dotted by deer and other wildlife in the south-western part of the forest, handy for New Park Manor Hotel – plus some handy resources for other great walks in the area with kids of all ages.
See also our tips for walking with kids.
The Wilverley Wander
The New Forest’s inclosures are managed woodlands that were fenced off from the 18th century onwards to cultivate timber, often for shipbuilding. The Wilverley inclosure, first fenced in 1775, is a working woodland interspersing conifers and broadleaves, old and young, with open areas – great for parents who like to let their kids roam but keep an eye on them at the same time.
The Wilverley Wander is a signposted Forestry Commmission (http://www.forestry.gov.uk) trail taking you along a gentle, smooth, largely flat (and hence buggy-friendly) path for about two miles. You can start from either Wilverley Plain car park or the Wilverley Inclosure car park, taking the green or yellow trail. Wilverley Plain itself is a large grassy area popular both with wild ponies and with families for picnics, kite-flying and ball games.
You can also take a longer, more informal trail through the inclosure, or cycle along part of it.
Other Hampshire Walking Resources
• The Hampshire County Council’s website (www3.hants.gov.uk) has an excellent walking section including buggy-friendly walks and children’s ‘story trails'.
• New Forest Access for All (http://www.newforestaccessforall.org.uk) lists easy, buggy-friendly walks in the New Forest National Park.
• The New Forest National Park website (http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk) has local walking information.