Best walks in Hampshire

Explore Hampshire's countryside, coast and its two National Parks - the New Forest and South Downs - with our pick of the best walks in the county.

The New Forest National Park, Hampshire/Credit: Getty Images

Hampshire is the fifth-most populated county in England – yet in spite of its many villages and towns, there is still plenty of countryside to explore.

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Set out across this landscape on foot and discover thriving wildlife, verdant woods and beautiful coast with our favourite Hampshire hikes.

Here is our pick of the best walks in Hampshire, including the New Forest and South Downs National Parks.

Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst, Hampshire

This 6.5-mile walk starts at Hollands Wood in Brockenhurst, winding through wildlife-rich forests to Beechen Lane in Lyndhurst. Look out for deer and ponies as you make your way north towards the ‘capital’ of the New Forest.

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New Forest Pony and reflection
Spot ponies alongside the path ©Getty

Meon Valley, Hampshire

Discover a landscape shaped by man and nature over 6,000 years on a walk that enters the heart of the South Downs National Park in Hampshire.

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The Meon Valley
The Meon Valley ©Thinkstock
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Denny Wood, Hampshire

The New Forest National Park, with its rich mosaic of heathland, oak and beech woodlands, hasn’t changed that much since William and his nobles hunted there over nine centuries ago. Here’s an easy three-mile walk into the glorious and historic New Forest National Park.

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A young fallow deer and its father looking into the camera in the forest
A young fallow deer and its father looking into the camera in the forest ©Thorsten Spoerlein

Solent Way, Hampshire

Stroll down the Solent Way and discover another side to the New Forest National Park.

Best walks in the New Forest National Park

From vast heathland hills and ancient trees, to butterflies, reptiles, wading birds and wild ponies, the national park is a vital refuge for some of Britain’s most precious species.

Here is our guide to the best walks in the New Forest National Park, from food trails and woodland rambles, to the 60-mile Solent Way.

View the best walks in the New Forest National Park

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views from the solent way footpath new forest national park lymington-keyhaven nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary hampshire england uk salt marsh marshes
views from the solent way footpath new forest national park lymington-keyhaven nature reserve and wildlife sanctuary hampshire england uk salt marsh marshes ©Getty

St Catherine’s Hill, Hampshire

Walk to the top of the tree-topped beacon of St Catherine’s Hill in historic Winchester with this easy four-mile stroll.

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St Catherines hill
St Catherines Hill ©Getty

Beaulieu Food Trail, Hampshire

Explore the beautiful Hampshire village of Beaulieu before following the Beaulieu River south to  the shipbuilding village of Bucklers Hard. The route is 2.2 miles each way, but your day out can be as long or short as you like.

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Autumn scene of Beaulieu Pond in The New Forest National Park with a white swan
Cistercian monks founded an abbey in 1204, naming it Beau-lieu, meaning beautiful place ©Getty

Avon Valley Path, Hampshire/Wiltshire

The 34-mile Avon Valley Path runs north to south from the Cathedral city of Salisbury along the border of the New Forest National Park to Christchurch on the south coast.  Walk a small section of this historic waymarked path, or take on the whole lot over several days.

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Hot, Sunny day on the River Avon looking towards the bridge arches of Fordingbridge
The town of Fordingbridge sits ten miles south of Salisbury on the Avon Valley Path ©Getty

Best walks in the South Downs National Park

Comprising undulating chalk downland, dry valleys and huge coastal cliffs, the South Downs National Park is one of Britain’s most precious landscapes.

Take to the trail with our guide to the South Downs best walks and discover 260 square miles of spectacular countryside, interwoven with dozens of thriving towns and villages.

Here is our guide on the best hiking routes in the South Downs National Park.

Seven Sisters, Sussex

Hamble-le-Rice, Hampshire

This circular six mile walk takes in the gently clinking yachts in Hamble-le-Rice marina, the rootling birdlife on the coastal mudflats and a ride across the water in a pretty pink ferry.

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Golden Plover
Golden Plovers are one of the species that can be spotted on the mudflats by the Hamble river ©Getty