Opening times for 2 December 2023
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Free parking at Bramshaw, Rockford, Hale Purlieu and Hightown Commons. Not suitable for coaches
Dogs need to be kept on a lead or under close control during ground nesting bird season (March – July) and around livestock
Parking at Bramshaw, Rockford, Hale Purlieu and Hightown Commons. No toilets. Gravel tracks and footpaths. Uneven and wet surfaces.
Although there are some well-established footpaths, many of our commons consist of unmade tracks which can be uneven
Rockford car park: 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. (Grid ref: SU163083. Latitude 50.873998 Longitude: -1.7693679)
Hale car park: Lady Mile, off High Street, Hale, Hampshire, 5 miles north-east of Fordingbridge, access from A338. 12 miles north-west of Lyndhurst via A337/B3078. (Grid ref: SU188176. Latitude: 50.957524, -1.7337023)
Hightown car park: Hightown Hill, near Ringwood, Hampshire, 10 miles south-west of Lyndhurst, access from A31. 3 miles east of Ringwood and 9 miles from Fordingbridge, travelling south on A338. (Grid ref: SU180055. Latitude: 50.8487058 Longitude: -1.7460536)
Parking: Free car-parking facilities at Bramshaw, Rockford and Hightown Commons
Comprehensive network of rights of way
Brockenhurst station, 10 to 15 miles
National Express coaches stop at Lyndhurst, Lymington and Ringwood. See National Express or call 08705 808080 for details.
Public bus network details available from: Bluestar - Southampton 023 8061 8233; Wilts & Dorset - Salisbury 01722 336855; Poole 01202 673555 and Transdev Yellow Buses - Bournemouth 01202 636060.
Comprehensive network of waymarked cycle routes: click to look at the cycling route information on the New Forest NPA website.
Walking trails loop through the open commons of the New Forest, offering both sweeping views and secretive spaces.
Heather and gorse, braided wetlands and ancient woodland pasture make up an internationally rare wildlife habitat, of which the New Forest is one of the main strongholds in Britain.
Commoners practise their ancient right to graze livestock on the open forest, shaping and sustaining a diverse landscape.
Endangered ground-nesting birds, rare reptiles, insects and diverse plant life all rely upon the continued, careful management of the Commons.
Humans have been living in, changing and sustaining the forest since the Bronze Age, and traces of Second World War structures can be found here.
A circular walk from Ibsley to Rockford Commons, taking in military history with a visit to the Huff Duff (a wartime directional station) and wildlife to spot along the way.
A figure of eight walk through Hale Purlieu, crossing streams and taking in great views across the valleys and mires of the New Forest's Northern Commons.
A short walk around our smallest heathland site in the New Forest – great if you don't have much time but still want to experience the mosaic of habitats the New Forest has to offer. Walk across grazed lawns, through dark ancient woods and wander off route to discover some hidden wetlands, all in under 30 minutes.
A wide open, boundary-less landscape containing exposed plateaux, leading gently through a mauve haze of heather and woodland to miniature valleys, swollen with bouncy bogs and gravel streams. A place for ground-nesting birds, rare reptiles, a myriad of insects and diverse plant life.
Cross the cattle grid to a diverse landscape, shaped and sustained by traditional commoning practices since time immemorial, a tamed wilderness. Deeply ingrained and continued, the use of the New Forest by local people is a way of life, rather than a leisure pursuit. The commoners’ ponies, donkeys, cattle, pigs and sheep are the architects of the forest, exploiting rights that are centuries old. To this day the Verderers' Court, an ancient thirteenth century assembly, meet to ensure forest law is upheld.
The New Forest has a long history that dates back almost a thousand years. Humans have been living within, changing and sustaining the forest since the Bronze Age.
Caring for the New Forest is a big task. Learn how our team of rangers and volunteers work to protect rare lowland heathland, a terrain that supports a rich variety of wildlife.
There are plenty of opportunities to volunteer at the New Forest Northern Commons. Discover how you can get involved and help to support rare habitats and wildlife.