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New Forest Walks - Walks from Lyndhurst

Walk 9
Pinkney Lane, woodlands, Queens Meadow and Highland Water

Start: Lyndhurst village centre, or from roadside parking at the entrance to Brick Kiln Inclosure.
Terrain: Mainly on level ground, but with a small number of gentle gradients; and mostly firm, but as sections can at times be wet and muddy, strong boots are recommended.
Distance: 10 kilometres (6¼ miles) from Lyndhurst village centre. 6 kilometres (3¾ miles) from the entrance to Brick Kiln Inclosure.

Walk route and map
Overview
From Lyndhurst village centre, this walk follows Pinkney Lane towards the outlying hamlet of Bank. A delightful, relatively traffic-free country lane, Pinkney Lane offers views of Foxlease, passes beside the grounds of the now demolished Cuffnells mansion, and Wilverley House; and provides a taste of the wider countryside quite different to the Crown lands of the New Forest.

As an alternative start point, limited parking is available at the entrance to Brick Kiln Inclosure. First planted in 1810, Brick Kiln Inclosure features a wide variety of broad-leaved trees, including original oak, beech and sweet chestnut, as well as invasive birch, hornbeam and a relatively small block of conifers. The name recalls an old brick kiln sited here from at least the late-18th century until well into the 19th century – the kiln was marked by Richard, King and Driver on their late-18th century map, and was also shown by Greenwood on an 1826 map. It had, however, disappeared by the time of the 1870s Ordnance Survey map.

Early morning mist in Hursthill Inclosure
Early morning mist in Hursthill Inclosure

Hursthill Inclosure is visited, and so are Brinken Wood and Gritnam Wood. Hursthill was first planted in 1808, and contains many original oaks together with a variety of other trees of later date. Brinken Wood and Gritnam Wood are fine examples of ancient, unenclosed woodland heavily grazed and browsed by commoners’ stock, and deer. They are an important habitat for a wide range of birds and insects, and are notable, too, for magnificent autumnal displays of fungi of often quite bewildering variety.

Queens Meadow, mid-way along the walk route, is an extensive patch of relatively close-cropped grassland, fenced to prevent disturbance to the fallow deer and red deer that can often be seen here, sometimes in very large numbers, feeding or simply loafing in the sunshine.

Nearby, continuing the royal association, in name, at least, is the riverside woodland of Queen Bower, and the adjacent site of a hunting lodge known to date back to at least the 14th century.

Highland Water adjoins Queens Meadow. A beautifully clear, in places fast-flowing, gravel-bottomed New Forest stream, Highland Water is home to breeding season kingfishers and grey wagtails, whilst occasional little egrets and mandarin ducks can also be seen. Then from the end of May through to August, Beautiful Demoiselle damselflies dance above the water’s surface, jealously guarding their own small patch of sunlight.

Passed along the way:
Broad-leaved inclosures
Ancient unenclosed woodlands
Coniferous inclosures
New Forest streams

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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 first returning long-distance 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
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%. And in the full year, 63 animals were killed on the roads compared to 56 in 2017.
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley