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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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New Forest Short Walks - Walks from Lyndhurst

Walk 1
Pondhead Inclosure and the heathland ridge close to Bolton's Bench

Start: Lyndhurst village centre.
Terrain: Mainly on level ground, but with a single, gentle gradient; and mostly firm, but after heavy rain, short sections can be quite wet, and strong boots are then recommended.
Distance: 3 kilometres (almost 2 miles).

Walk route and map
Overview
Previously known as Mine House Grounds, Pondhead Inclosure was first planted in 1810, and many of the original trees remain. Notice here the stock-proof and deer-proof fencing that for more than 20 years has helped reduce grazing and browsing pressure, allowing the development of a rich under-storey that includes abundant wild flowers, and in spring and summer, attendant butterflies and other insects. Rotational hazel coppicing is also undertaken here, further encouraging the growth of wild flowers.

Buzzards frequently soar above the trees, mewing loudly, Hawfinches can occasionally be seen, and so too can all three woodpecker species and a wide range of other, more common woodland birds.

Heathland on White Moor
Heathland on White Moor

The Ridge on White Moor provides distant views across rolling New Forest heath and wetlands towards Longwater Lawn. The heathland here is home to a range of birds that in much of Britain are scarce or absent. Look out for Dartford warblers, woodlarks and stonechats, and from May to early August, at dusk, listen for the churring calls of nightjars. Another national rarity, the silver-studded blue butterfly, is also abundant here during July and early August, which is the main flight period.

The narrow neck of the Park Pale can also be seen on The Ridge where it now survives as a somewhat wasted earthen bank and ditch. Dating back to at least the 13th century, the Park Pale once surrounded a medieval deer park known latterly as Lyndhurst Old Park.

Passed along the way:
Broad-leaved inclosures
Heathland

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New Forest seasonal highlights
March
Lesser celandine blooms illuminate woodlands, and heathland edges.
Fallow deer remain in single sex herds, the bucks at this time always separate from the does.
Curlews return from the coast to breed in and around the New Forest's wetter areas.

Red admiral butterflies are increasingly seen on bright, sunny days.

April
Redstarts are amongst the many returning long distant migrant birds that arrive in April.
Large red damselflies take to the wing, the first of many such species that will soon be seen in the New Forest.
Bluebells blossom, sometimes in good numbers in ungrazed woodlands.
Badger cubs first appear above ground towards the end of the month.
New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies in the road
New Forest ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but in 2015, 55 were killed on the roads.
Always take care when driving
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley