There are hundreds of magnificent walking trails throughout the New Forest, where friendly ponies mosey alongside you while you drink in the spectacular scenery and crisp views.
Unfortunately, most of these trails are not buggy friendly due to boggy, stoney or bumpy landscape. Our son was ten weeks old when we moved to the New Forest, so finding some buggy friendly walks became a neccessity.
We have tried many an accessible route and found the following five to be our favourites; places we return to time and time again.
This walk covers the cliff top at Milford on Sea and offers up beautiful views over the Solent to the Isle of Wight and her Needles. The entire walk benefits from a buggy friendly path.
Distance: 1.1 miles from Hordle Cliff West car park to the Needles Eye Cafe
Where to park: Hordle Cliff West, Cliff Road, Milford on Sea, SO41 0NT. There are toilets and a refreshment kiosk in the car park.
Where to eat: The Needles Eye Cafe serves a variety of hot and cold food as well as tea, coffee, cake and the delicious New Forest Ice Cream . There is a small playground next to the cafe as well as access to the pebbly beach.
If you want to prolong the walk you can head into Milford village via Sea Road (opposite Hurst Road East Car Park at the end of the walk). This will add 0.5 miles to your walk each way. Milford has a plethora of cafes, pubs, restaurants and quirky shops. The Smugglers Inn at the top of Sea Road is a nice pub with a children’s play area.
Hatchet Pond is the biggest expanse of fresh water in the New Forest and is situated near the picturesque village of Beaulieu. The water is beautifully clear and don’t be surprised to see some ponies or cows quenching their thirst at the water’s edge. While it’s not possible to walk around the entire lake with a buggy, you can walk for about 2 miles on a gravel path or hard grass.
Distance: Depending on the route you choose, you can walk for about 2 miles with a buggy.
Where to park: The main car park is just off the B3055 and is free. There are toilets in the car park and, at peak times, an ice cream van selling refreshments.
Where to eat: There’s nowhere to eat around Hatchet Pond, however it is about a five minute drive to Beaulieu where you will find pubs, cafes and tea rooms.
Mudeford to Highcliffe
This is a beautiful coastal walk from the bustling Quay of Mudeford, along Avon beach to Steamers Point, through Highcliffe Castle’s grounds and ending at Highcliffe cliff top.
While the map shows part of the walk via the A337, you can actually walk through Steamer Point Nature Reserve and then through the back of Highcliffe Castle, making the walk less than the 2.8 miles shown. This is a much more pleasant option than walking on the road. There is path or hard grass the entire way.
Distance: About 2 miles.
Where to park: Mudeford Quay car park, Christchurch BH23 4AB. There are toilets in the car park.
Where to eat: There is a pub at Mudeford Quay, however children are not allowed inside the bar area. Next to the pub there is a cafe.
In my opinion, it’s far better to wait until you arrive at The Noisy Lobster on Avon Beach. Here you will find the best breakfasts in the area and also tempting lunch and dinner menus. If you can nab a seat in the conservatory you will have a gorgeous view overlooking the ocean.
A lovely little cafe called The Beach Hut serves hot food and snacks as well as tea, coffee, cake and ice cream. You will find the Beach Hut past Avon Beach, just before Steamer Point.
Highcliffe Castle has tearooms or there is a restaurant called The Cliffhanger on Highcliffe cliff top at the end of the walk. The Cliffhanger boasts beautiful views over the ocean and serves hot food all day.
Janesmoor pond is situated between Fritham and Stoney Cross. It’s a lovely, peaceful part of the New Forest and an excellent place to have a short stroll and a picnic.
Distance: About 500 metres.
Where to park: In the free Janesmoor Pond car park, Fritham (nSO43 7HH. There are no toilets or refreshments available in the car park or around the pond.
Where to eat: You won’t be able to find anywhere to eat around the pond, so it is advisable to take drinks and a picnic with you. The nearest pub is in Fritham or you can drive ten minutes to Lyndhurst where you will find many pubs, cafes and restaurants as well as lots of well-stocked gift shops.
Another of our favourite, buggy friendly walks is around Sturt Pond in Milford. The pond is a tidal inlet, bordering Hurst Spit and is a great location for a spot of crabbing or bird watching. Start from Hurst Road East car park and head along Hurst Road towards the spit to find the pond.
Distance: About 2 miles
Where to park: Hurst Road East car park, Milford on Sea, SO41 0PY. There are toilets in the nearby Needles Eye cafe.
Where to eat: The Needles Eye cafe serves hot food, ice cream and beverages and there is a small playground next to it. Milford village is a short drive away where you can find a wide variety of eateries.
(I have made every effort to ensure the accuracy of the information contained in this post and do not accept liability for any errors or omission. I do not accept any liability for you getting lost or encountering any other problems. )