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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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New Forest walks a little off the beaten track

Cattle in Janesmoor Pond, near Stoney Cross airfield, taking a well-earned drink on a hot spring day
Cattle in Janesmoor Pond, near Stoney Cross airfield, taking a well-earned drink on a hot spring day

Although these walks are a little off the beaten track, they're certainly not out in the wilds - it's just that they're not very close to any of the New Forest villages. And in fact, the routes are just as easy to follow as all the others in the Explorers Guide.

The first walk in this section starts close to Denny Wood campsite and follows a straight-forward circular 8 kilometre (5 mile) route - glorious ancient pasture woodland is passed along the way, and so are more recent, though still centuries-old, woodland inclosures.

Fallow deer and maybe roe deer, too, are likely to be present, although they can be elusive for much of the day, preferring to venture out primarily at dawn and dusk. Woodland birds, such as great and lesser spotted woodpeckers, are well-represented and so are a range of wild flowers and butterflies.

Those with an interest in New Forest history will not be disappointed, either, for the route passes close to the site of a medieval Royal Hunting Lodge, a 17th century Stag Park and Bishop's Dyke, an earthen bank and ditch dating back to the 13th century.

Other walks will follow in this section - further routes are planned that take in Castle Hill, near Godshill, the Frankenbury Iron Age hill fort and Godshill Inclosure; Hatchet Pond, Hawkhill Inclosure and the old Beaulieu and East Boldre airfields; Castle Hill, Burley, with its own Iron Age hill fort; Woods Corner, Burley, South Oakley Inclosure and White Moor Bottom; and Janesmoor, North and South Bentley Inclosures, and the old Stoney Cross airfield.

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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%. 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