Summer walks in the New Forest

Path cutting through heathland in the New Forest

Discover a wealth of wildlife and picture-perfect views with a summer walk in our New Forest Commons. We've got three very different downloadable trails for you to try, drawing you into some of the Forest's fascinating history, and magnificent ancient landscapes.

Our New Forest car parks are now open. We encourage everyone to observe social distancing measures while they visit. Please stay local if possible to avoid creating hotspots. If a car park is full, please come back another time. Help protect the New Forest by not parking on the verges.

Summer in the New Forest

From mid-late summer, the New Forest glows with shades of purple: swathes of heather begin to bloom, attracting clouds of silver-studded blue butterflies. Bright yellow gorse also appear in high summer.

Look out for ground-nesting birds such as the Dartford warbler - their breeding season lasts up until July, so they'll be establishing territories and building nests. The European nightjar can be heard across the commons as evening falls.

You may spot dragonflies and damselflies as they hover above bogs and pools. Moths are also prolific this time of year, with day and night flying moths filling the air. 

Dogs are welcome on your New Forest walk, but please keep them on leads to help protest the local wildlife.

The Countryside Code

Please respect and protect the New Forest while you enjoy its unique landscapes by following these guidelines:

Respect other people

  • Consider the local community and other people enjoying the outdoors
  • Park carefully so access to gateways and driveways are clear
  • Leave gates and property as you find them
  • Follow paths but give way to others where it’s narrow

Protect the natural environment

  • Protect the natural environment
  • Leave no trace of your visit, take all your litter home
  • Don’t have BBQs or fires
  • Keep dogs under effective control
  • Bag and bin any dog poo
  • Please don't camp on our commons

Enjoy the outdoors

  • Plan ahead, check what facilities are open, be prepared
  • Follow advice and local signs and obey social distancing measures