I had roughly preplanned the route I would walk from Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst, taking me along walking trails deep through forest goodness. However, quite abruptly, my preplanned route had to change.
That morning, as soon as it stopped raining, I quickly put my hiking shoes on and left. I had about 5 hours before it started raining again so needed to get going quick. I made it about 10 meters outside of my accommodation when I realised I could not go any further.
You see, I have been sporting an Achilles tendon injury for a while now, and the walk I did yesterday, from Brockenhurst to Beaulieu, had caused it to flare up. Now, wearing my hiking shoes, with their hard back, the way it rubbed on my tendon was excruciating. I felt it as soon as I put them on, but figured I would be ok. After walking that little bit, the pain became so bad I just couldn’t go on.
My only option now (other than not going for a walk, which really wasn’t an option) was to wear my trainers, with their soft back, which would be a bit gentler on my poor tendon.
The thing is, these trainers were my only other shoes. The same shoes I would be wearing tomorrow when I went back to London and straight to work. They were not allowed to get wet or muddy.
So I changed tactics. I decided that I would instead walk from Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst along the bike trails. Having walked along some of the bike trails yesterday, I knew they were nice and dry and I would be able to keep my shoes safe….or so I thought.
Oh, and I also might have wet myself on this walk. More on that later….
Logistics for the Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst walk
- Start: Hollands Wood, Brockenhurst
- Finish: Brockenhurst
- How to get there: Hollands Wood is a short walk from Brockenhurst train station, along Lyndhurst road. Brockenhurst is on the South Western rail line and you can get there in 1.5 hours from London.
- Distance: 10.6 miles
- Time: 3h45min
- Difficulty: Mostly easy
- Terrain: A bit of road, gravel trail, mud and marsh.
- Elevation: Total gain 938ft. But it doesn’t feel like it. It’s pretty flat with small elevations. The highest point is about 239ft.
- Tips: Wear waterproof hiking shoes. You can actually do this whole route on a bike. There is a small section on the walk into Lyndhurst then at the end into Brockenhurst where I left the bike trail, but I will tell you which way to go instead if you do
decidedto do it on bike.
Map – Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst walk route
Click on the box in the top right corner to open in your Google maps
More walking ideas for the New Forest will be at the end
The start of the walk from Brockenhurst to Lyndhurst
So, after changing into my trainers, I headed out towards Hollands Wood to find the start of the trail. At this point I was limping a little, but the pain wasn’t nearly as bad as when I had those hiking shoes on.
Once in Hollands Wood, my plan was to stick to the road, but I noticed that the trail on the right didn’t look too muddy. It actually looked very civilised and dry(ish), so I decided to give it a go.
This little bit of path was very lovely. Walking under the trees on the edge of the woods, with a big open green field to the right, and horses each on their own, dotted about.
Once at the end I decided to have a quick walk back through the middle, to see what this place was about and make a small circular trail route in the Woods. Then once back at the
Walking along that edge was lovely, so I didn’t mind at all doing it twice.
(I just have to say, that at this point, my right toes were a little damp. That walk through the middle was wetter than I had expected. But a wet toe is fine. That should dry).
Leaving Hollands Wood
At the end there was a little bicycle signpost pointing right and out of Hollands Wood, along a trail with trees on either side. Given the time of year, the ground was covered in leaves. It had been raining a lot recently, so the leaves were wet and small puddles had formed. So I jumped myself around and walked on some edges in an effort to avoid the wet.
Things were going well until I was hit with mud patches. Well, this was unexpected.
Inspecting the mud, I planned my route through, and again managed to avoid any shoe damage. Soon though, the mud patches turned into long stretches of muddiness. So I continued to zigzag my way through, all the while thinking about how much I would love to be in hiking boots right now so I could just stomp my way through it.
Things did eventually got a little drier as I followed the bike trail further along.
It’s quite easy to follow. At all the junctions there are little stubs with a picture of a bicycle, letting you know which one is the bike trail.
Then I wet myself
Ok, so let me explain.
I had been holding in a wee for a little while now. But I also needed a poo. I wasn’t sure that if I went for my wee that some poo wouldn’t also come out. So my plan was to hold it until the poo feeling went away.
It had actually subsided a bit further back, but at this point, I was too lazy to stop for the wee. Instead, I would hold it in until I was really desperate.
Well, some point along here, I slipped, and in that moment of slippage, I let go of my wee holding in muscles and, well, you get the picture.
I did manage to stop it before it got to critical level. And then pulled over by these logs to finish my business.
(Just to clarify, it was just the wee. Not the poo)
The New Forest
For a lot of the route, the scene was very samey. A trail with
But alas. My shoes.
I walked through the occasional gate, which always seemed to have a puddle. A puddle trap.
The walk into Lyndhurst
As I was nearing Lyndhurst, I first came across some houses and a small road. This is where I left the bike trail. If you are on a bike, just continue straight, then at the main road, turn right and you will arrive in Lyndhurst.
As a walker, going that way wouldn’t be so enjoyable, so I decided to take a risk and follow the walking trail right as it curved around into Lyndhurst.
It was actually alright, and by that I mean, not mega wet.
When the trail hit the road again, I was now out of the forest and noticed how bright the day was. It was quite a stark contrast going from woodland to large open green.
I only stopped for a quick coffee and snack in Lyndhurst. Checking the weather, I could see it was due to start heavily raining within two hours. I had under two hours to make it back. I personally didn’t mind getting wet….
But it was all about the shoes.
Taking a walk through Lyndhurst, along the high street, it did all look rather lovely. I made a mental note to come back on another visit to the New Forest.
The walk back to Brockenhurst from Lyndhurst
The beginning part out of Lyndhurst is side road for about 1mile to reach the bike trail. Along this part, I couldn’t help but notice a small sign on a gate warning of a bull in field. Ah, I’ve seen this sign before, on my walk from Lewes to Southease. That time I had to walk through the bull field. I was feeling very relieved that this time, I did not have to.
In general, the walk back to Brockenhurst from Lyndhurst was a lot simpler. Less twists and turns. Much much dryer (for now anyway).
The scene was also again very samey. An easy trail with the New Forest woodland on either side.
I passed by a couple of black horses. One was eating from the branch of a tree.
Leaving the bike trail
After crossing a bridge and admiring the trees surrounded with water, I made a left turn up ahead to walk through the tree tunnel. This is where I left the bike trail. Leaving the bike trail was a mistake, but I didn’t know that yet.
If you are on you bike take a right turn and follow it around as it leads into Brockenhurst.
The tree tunnel
Everything was going so well. I had made it nearly all the back with just a wet toe area. Walking down this tree tunnel, I was on the home stretch.
One straight line back into Brockenhurst. The ground was lovely and dry.
Looking out to the right, to the big open green, I noted how wet it looked. I knew I could walk out on it. But my shoes wouldn’t be too happy about that.
Sticking to this lovely dry tree tunnel area, things started to get a little muddy. Not too bad though. I was able to navigate around it.
Then things got muddier….
Then a full on lake happened.
Ok. Now I had to take a right and walk on the marshland. I was hoping it wasn’t as wet as it looked.
Thing is, I was stuck at the first hurdle. A strip of water had formed and I needed to find a way across it. So I doubled back on myself to try and find were it ended, or at least a narrow part. It only got worse the further back I got, so I turned around and ended up back where I started.
If you are following my trail, then you may noticed the red line of my walk gets quite thick here. This is me walking back and forth trying to find a crossing.
The only option was for me to jump. So I jumped, and as my foot landed, the marshiness squelched under my foot.
I thought to myself how the hard part was over.
Turns out it was not. I found myself at more bodies of water where the only option was to jump across.
A mixture of this, and the general marshiness of the whole area, meant that in no time, my shoes were soaked through.
Now that my shoes were soaked, it didn’t really matter any more. I could just walk and not worry about the consequences. The consequences had already happened.
Arriving back at Brockenhurst
As I arrived back into Brockenhurst it started to rain. Again, it didn’t matter anymore. The only thing I was trying to keep dry was no longer at play.
For my journey back into London, I had to wear those hiking shoes. So I stuffed tissue down the backs of them to stop my tendon rubbing. I might have gone a little overboard with the height of the tissues, but it actually worked quite nicely.
It also gave me an idea. For future hikes, I could fashion some sort of cushioning for the back….I will let you know how it goes.
Regardless, I could not be wearing hiking shoes to work, so the first thing I did when I got back to London
More walks in the New Forest
If you would like something more challenging and longer, then you could try the walk I did the day before, from Brockenhurst to Beaulieu. Another circular walk I would recommend is the walk from Brockenhurst to the tallest trees in England.
Sticking to the Brockenhurst area, you could try the Brockenhurst village walk which takes you on a circular around Brockenhurst. Or if you would like something very simple and much shorter, you could take a walk around Hollands Wood.
You can read a summary of all the walks from Brockenhurst here.
These are walks to do if you are staying in Brockenhurst, however, if you want to explore nearer Lyndhurst, then you could try the walk from Ashurst to Lyndhurst, or the Lyndhurst parish circular walk.
You can find a summary of the walks around Lyndhurst here.
Or you could check out the ultimate guide to the best walks in the New Forest here.
If you would like some walking ideas for other areas in the New Forest you could check out this New Forest website.