Walk to the Huff Duff

Walking trail

Take in breathtaking views from Ibsley Common, an area steeped in military history, and visit the Huff Duff (an old directional station) and associated bunker. The heathland is awash with autumn colour: huge expanse of purple heather and the rich golden foliage of oak and beech trees contrast with evergreen hollies and pine. Fungi litter the edges of woodland with a myriad colours and amazing shapes.

Dogs need to be kept on a lead or under close control during ground nesting bird season (March – July). Livestock present - Take care, and keep your distance - Avoid getting between animals and their young - Please keep your dog on a short lead - If cattle or ponies approach please let your dog off the lead Walk through carpets of purple heather in early autumn and stands of yellow flowering gorse.If you take your binoculars you may catch a glimpse of heathland-loving birds such as the tiny Dartford warbler, the stonechat and woodlark. Descend to a tranquil wooded valley at Dockens Water before crossing the stream to Rockford Common. Wet heath and gleaming bogs reveal carnivorous sundews and many mysterious mosses. In autumn the deer rutting season begins. Lsten out for the fierce crack of antlers as the roaring bucks (male deer) spar for the attention of the females.

Purple heather around a clump of trees at Ibsley Common in the New Forest, Hampshire

Map

A walking trail map around the Huff Duff on Rockford and Ibsley Commons in the New Forest, Hampshire

Start:

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1

Walk back towards the road, under the limbs of ancient English oaks, and cross over the Dockens Water using the footbridge. Continue up the road ahead with Moyles Court School on your left. Before reaching the riding stables, turn right onto the Avon Valley Path (AVP) leading you uphill through horse paddocks towards the tree line of Newlands Plantation.

2

Turn left as you reach the tree line to continue following the AVP, with the tree line on your right. Go through the gate ahead and enter Ibsley Common. Follow the trodden path that skirts along the edge of the common, keeping the fence line on your left. Follow this path for about 1/3 mile, cross the ditch via the boardwalk and footbridge, go straight across Mockbeggar Lane and up the other side of the bank, following the AVP.

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3

Follow the contour of the land, keeping the houses on your left, and continue straight on as you reach a track ending in a large junction. Turn right through a wooden barrier gate back onto Ibsley Common. Walk onto Summerlug Hill, keeping the banks of the old gravel works on your right.

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4

Bear left on a well-trodden grassy path, heading in a north-easterly direction. The path will take you slightly uphill, past a wooden bench and across the tops of two valleys to your left, known as Little Chibden Bottom and Chibden Bottom (if you find yourself heading towards a clump of pine trees on the horizon, called Whitefield Plantation, you are heading in the wrong direction, you want this on your right). The path becomes gravelly after a while and passes between birch trees. Continue onwards.

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5

After about half a mile, you'll be able to see a cluster of pine trees in the distance to your left, known as Robin Hood’s Clump. Ahead, you will see an octagonal brick building. This is the Huff Duff, a direction finding station during World War Two. Head east, to the right of the Huff Duff, towards a scrub covered mound to find the nearby air raid bunker.

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6

Continue on and turn right, heading south on a gravel path, keeping right of the Whitefield Plantation. Passing the plantation, you reach a white-stone trig point. Stop here to take in the view.

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7

Continue heading south on the path bearing left, and turn left at the track crossroads, heading east towards a horizon of trees.

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8

This track will take you slowly downhill through open heathland. Go straight on at the crossroads, down towards the Dockens Water stream. Pass the National Trust sign on your left and cross over the footbridge (great for pooh sticks!) into the cover of pine trees, known as Newlands Plantation.

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9

Cross the road ahead onto Rockford Common and ascend the gravel path. When the path levels out you will reach a crossroads: turn right and follow the gravel path south for 2/3 mile. Finally, go down through the sunken lane downhill, around the barrier, and back into the car park.

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End:

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Walk to the Huff Duff

How to get here

Address
Rockford Common National Trust Car park, opposite Moyles Court (over the ford), BH24 3NA
By road

Off Ellingham Drove/Highwood Lane, Rockford, Hampshire 10 miles west of Lyndhurst, access from A337. 3 miles north-east from Ringwood and 5 miles south from Fordingbridge on A338.

Walk to the Huff Duff

Facilities and access

  • Free car park
  • No toilet facilities on route
  • Several pubs within two miles of the car park at Rockford Common: Alice Lyle, The Red Shoot and The Royal Oak