5 of the best autumn walks in Hampshire & the New Forest - with a FREE downloadable walk

5 of the best autumn walks in Hampshire & the New Forest - with a FREE downloadable walk

Looking for the best autumn walks in Hampshire & the New Forest? Look no further. Here we’ve rounded up a selection of our favourite routes in the area - walks chosen specifically to make the most of beautiful colours, ramble-friendly temperatures and quiet paths...

All of these walks originally appeared in our Hampshire & the New Forest Year Round Walks book. The first walk you come to below, around Rhinefield, appears exactly as it does in the book, complete with map, pictures and step-by-step directions. 

📥 You can even click here to download a PDF version, which you can print or take with you on your phone. 

Below that are a number of further recommendations for places to get out for a walk in Hampshire & the New Forest this autumn.   

Rhinefield (2 miles) 

This family-friendly walk is all about seeing the autumn colours of the New Forest at their finest. It takes in the stunning trees of Blackwater Arboretum, continues with a short stroll through two wooded “inclosures” and returns via a part of the majestic Tall Trees Trail, which boasts some of the tallest trees in the UK. With trees starting to change their colours from mid-September onwards, a mid-October visit will see this walk at its most colourful.

  • How to get there & parking: From Lyndhurst take the A35 towards Christchurch, and after two miles turn left into the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive (signposted ‘Rhinefield and Rhinefield House Hotel’). The Blackwater car park is located on the left-hand side, approximately half a mile along Rhinefield Drive. Pay by donation policy. Can get busy at peak times.
  • Sat nav: SO42 7QB. 
  • Refreshments: Coffee and ice-cream vans in the car park (at peak time only). Nearby pubs include the Oak Inn at Bank and the Swan Inn at Emery Down.

The Walk

1. From the centre of the car park, pick up the signs for the Blackwater Arboretum. With your back to the pay and display unit cross the road and continue straight on along the wide avenue to the arboretum. Pass through the gate and take your time here to explore the circular trail at your leisure.

2. Exit the gate on the other side of the arboretum and continue straight on along a wide surfaced path. At a T-junction of paths turn right. You will be sharing the pathway with cyclists so do keep an eye out from time to time. Continue straight on along this pathway past a wide grassy path to the right-hand side, and two crossing forest rides, and as the path bends to the right, follow it round. After 200m, the path is crossed by the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive with Brock Hill car park on the right.

3. Cross the road, and continue straight on, still on the wide surfaced path. After 250m or so, the path bends again to the right; follow it round, and continue straight on, past a wide ride crossing the path. After a further 350m, the cycle path turns to the left.

4. Leaving the wide path at this point, continue straight on along the wide grassy ride straight ahead to a T-junction of paths. Turn left, with the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive visible to the right-hand side. Continue straight on back to the car park. This section of the path follows the Tall Trees Trail. 

4 more autumn walks in Hampshire & the New Forest

Compton (5 miles) 

From September onwards, tree leaves slowly start to change colour, making up for the loss of summer with glorious displays, and this walk is particularly beautiful in autumn.

It also passes several of Compton’s ancient evergreen yews on the way up to Yew Hill on Compton Down, with stunning views over Winchester landmarks such as St Catherine’s Hill, Twyford Down and the St Cross Hospital. The return route is along an avenue of fine beech trees at their most colourful in autumn, along quiet wooded paths and a chance to see more of this parish’s beautiful ancient yews. 

Hinton Ampner & Kilmeston (4.5 miles) 

October and November are great months to see autumn colours on the Hinton Ampner estate in the South Downs National Park.

This walk starts at Hinton Ampner house and gardens, passing through open fields, and farmland with views over the rolling hills of the South Downs. Quiet lanes lead to historic Kilmeston village and grand views of Hinton Ampner House await your return. The route takes you through the designed estate landscape with its carefully planted clusters of trees. You could also make a day of it with a visit to this National Trust-owned house, gardens and café.

East Worldham (4 miles) 

Starting from the historic village of East Worldham, with connections to the Chaucer family, this walk explores quiet, wooded countryside in the South Downs National Park.

After exploring an historic 13th-century church, the walk enjoys views of a local landmark, an Iron Age hillfort known as King John’s Hill, follows a section of the Hangers Way through mature woodlands and returns via some of the steep-sided slopes covered by ancient woodland. These are locally known as ‘hangers’. A peaceful walk through rural countryside and another good place to enjoy the colours of autumn. 

Netley Abbey & Royal Victoria Country Park (2 or 4.5 miles) 

A semi-urban walk linking parks and paths around Netley, taking in Netley Abbey, views over busy Southampton Water, The Hard at Netley, and Royal Victoria Country Park, with its past military connections.

The park was once home to the Royal Victoria Hospital. With several woodland stretches, this walk is particularly enjoyable in autumn, perhaps even around Remembrance Day in November, as the walk passes Netley Military Cemetery connected to the hospital, a poignant reminder of the losses experienced during the First and Second World Wars.

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  • Rory Batho
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