One of our favourite places for a walk in the heart of the New Forest is Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. This is the New Forest at its best, where unspoiled meadows meet dense woodland and wildlife is abundant. It’s the perfect place for spotting deer, picnics, a long walk (many of the trails are buggy friendly), den building and other adventures.
Located just off the A35 near Lyndhurst, the drive to Bolderwood takes you down the stunning Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive. This tree lined road offers up the best of the forest with dramatic views framed in varying luscious greens.
Once you arrive at Bolderwood, you can park for free in the main car park although you are encouraged to place £2 in the donations box. There are toilets in the car park and, in peak season, an ice-cream van for refreshments.
Opposite the car park is a large meadow, perfect for picnics or a ball game with the kids. You can follow the signs to the deer viewing platform where, if you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see deer playing in the meadow below. Around the platform, there are plenty of information boards for those who wish to learn more about the deer.
Once you’ve seen the deer you can continue through the woods along the buggy friendly trails or venture off the paths into the thick woodland.
Fans of Stick Man will love following the Stick Man Trail. There are fun activities to complete along the way as you join Stick Man in his attempt to find the family tree. You can pick up an activity pack from the information hut (in the car park) for £3, although it’s not essential to do so. For more information on the Stick Man Trail (including available dates) visit the Forestry Commission website here.
All in all a trip to Bolderwood is a fantastic family day out. Kids of all ages will enjoy climbing trees, seeing New Forest wildlife and blowing off some steam in the woods. For my part, being surrounded by so much beautiful greenery and breathing in the pure, fresh air evokes an inner calm which stays with me long after I’ve returned home.
Bolderwood is one of the more popular New Forest tourist destinations. It’s not as quiet as other beauty spots (such as Janesmoor Pond) so try and arrive early in peak times to ensure you find a spot in the car park.
(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. )