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New Forest Cycling

Cycle ride 8
Woodland near Burley, including Burley New and Burley Old Inclosures

Location: 2.5 kilometres (1 1/2 miles) north-east of Burley.
Start: Lucy Hill car park (SU 227045).
Station: Sway, 11 kilometres (7 miles).
Camping in the Forest campsites: Holmsley, 8.5 kilometres (5 1/4 miles); Setthorns, 9 kilometres (5½ miles).
Alternative starts: The car park across the road from Lucy Hill; and the Anderwood car park, not far from Anderwood Cottage.
Distance: 8 kilometres (5 miles), including a short stretch of road close to the start car parks and again near Anderwood Cottage.
Extend or shorten the route: To optionally increase the distance covered, combine this cycle ride with nearby Cycle ride 7 (to the north-east of this ride). Alternatively, to reduce the distance covered, turn left at cycle track sign number 116 or 118 or by Anderwood Cottage to follow Lyndhurst Road back to the start point.
Route map

Starting in the Lucy Hill car park, 2.5 kilometres (1 1/2 miles) north-east of Burley in the western section of the New Forest, this fairly gentle 8 kilometre (5 mile) circular route takes cyclists through wonderfully varied woodland landscapes. A further car park just across the road from Lucy Hill and the Anderwood car park, not far from Anderwood Cottage, provide alternative start points.

The route includes two short stretches of road: the first is close to the Lucy Hill car park and is travelled along at the start and end of the ride, whilst the second is near Anderwood Cottage.

Refreshments are available from pubs and cafes in Burley.

Deer, fallow in particular, may be encountered anywhere along the way and so might a wide range of woodland birds. As always, though, those who pass quietly through these woods, and take the time to stop and stare, are most likely to experience the sights and sounds of local wildlife.

The cycle track near Lyndhurst Road
The cycle track near Lyndhurst Road

Aged beech and oak trees within ancient, unenclosed woodland tower high above the early part of the route, before Lyndhurst Road is left behind upon entry to Burley New Inclosure. Inclosure names can, however, be misleading, for Burley New Inclosure is not particularly 'new' for it was first set aside for trees way back in 1810 and was so named to contrast with Burley Old Inclosure, which is encountered a little farther along the way.

But first the intriguingly named Cockroad Hill is passed. Richardson, King and Driver on their late-18th century map show Cockroad Hill just as it is today, and also show a Cock Road and another Cock Road Hill north-east of Brockenhurst, on the route of the old Salt Way. It has been suggested that these names refer to the presence of a still relatively common and widespread New Forest bird: the Woodcock.

And so to Burley Old Inclosure. Created in 1700, this was one of the first New Forest woodland inclosures, and still contains trees from the original planting. The cycle route, though, passes beside more recent broadleaves and conifers. Somewhat unusually, commoners' stock, primarily ponies, are being encouraged to enter this inclosure and also Dames Slough Inclosure - grazing by the ponies will introduce something of the character of unenclosed woodland into the inclosures. Gates are accordingly locked open. Please leave them as you find them.

Adjoining Burley Old Inclosure is Dames Slough Inclosure, created in 1859 and now an excellent example of mature mixed woodland featuring many fine broadleaved trees, predominantly oaks but with other species present, too. Black Water, a stream of modest size, passes through the inclosure.

The second short stretch of road follows, bordered in places by impressive ancient, unenclosed woodlands, before the route veers right, close to Anderwood Cottage, a picturesque, black and white, New Forest keeper's cottage, prominently dated 1876 - look out for two pairs of fallow deer antlers adorning the walls.

Anderwood Inclosure is then entered, followed by Burley Outer Rails Inclosure, 1811 and 1810 creations, respectively, that both now feature a mixture of broadleaves and conifers of variable age and, particularly in Burley Outer Rails, mature broadleaves that appear to be from the original planting.

In places, the route here borders the grounds of Burley Lodge, for which documentary evidence exists dating way back to 1490; whilst from 1690, Charles Paulet, who was to become the 2nd Duke of Bolton, held Burley Bailiwick and lived at the lodge, as did successive members of the family until the early 19th century. The 6th Duke died in 1794, however, without a male heir, and the dukedom became extinct. In 1809 the Crown purchased the outstanding portion of the lease from the Dowager Duchess, after which the main house was demolished and a substantial part of the grounds were taken for Burley Outer Rails Inclosure. A second, smaller lodge was constructed on the site, or an earlier building retained, for use by New Forest keepers and subsequently as a farmhouse.

Upon leaving Burley Outer Rails Inclosure, ancient, unenclosed woodland can again be briefly enjoyed before Lyndhurst Road is re-joined and the Lucy Hill car park reached.

The route
(Only designated cycle tracks are usually mentioned below and shown on the map (as yellow lines), not footpaths and other tracks. Cycle route marker post numbers are also shown).

1) Leave the car park and turn right along Lyndhurst Road.

2) After 300 metres, turn right again, along the cycle track beside Burley New Cottage (by the Burley Products sign) and follow it straight on, initially uphill, through Burley New Inclosure, passing after 1 kilometre (0.6 mile), at a cross roads, a cycle track turn on the left. Beyond is Cockroad Hill.

3) Enter Burley Old Inclosure through a gate, and continue on beside a low, bracken-covered inclosure boundary bank.

4) After 1 kilometre, follow the track as it swings to the left, and pass through a gap in the inclosure boundary bank, into Dames Slough Inclosure. Reach a T junction and continue straight on, over a narrow stream - Black Water - to, after around 600 metres, join a minor road.

5) Turn left along the road and at the first cottage – Anderwood Cottage – turn right to enter Anderwood Inclosure.

6) After 1 kilometre, reach a ‘T’ junction and turn left.

7) After a further 400 metres, pass a cycle track on the right and continue straight ahead into Burley Outer Rails Inclosure.

8) Pass over Blackensford Brook and, to the left, the grounds of Burley Lodge; then pass another track on the right and continue on for around 1.5 kilometres (1 mile) to go through a gate and rejoin Lyndhurst Road at a junction of cycle tracks.

9) Turn right and return to the car park.

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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%.
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley