The New Forest National Park coast has miles of beautiful and protected shoreline. Wild ponies and cattle live on much of it. It’s well worth exploring for some beach-y downtime. Dog walkers are welcome here through the year.
Our favourite beach in the forest is Tanners Lane. It’s 3 miles west of Lymington and usually very quiet, particularly during the week. It’s not a sun bathing mecca, has no facilities and is a pretty and wild place.
Parking here has got very tight. The lane at the beach end does get congested. We suggest cycling or walking here from our nearby houses. For guests from elsewhere in the New Forest, there are masses of other beaches for you to access. Lepe to the east, or Keyhaven, Milford on Sea, Highcliffe (best white sand) to the west.
The best Tanners walk is the public footpath west (facing the sea turn right) for the short and quiet stretch of coast that runs approx’ 1 mile toward Lymington. Views here are of the Solent and directly south to the Isle of Wight. The sun sets onto this stretch of coastline through the summer so it’s a fantastic place for an evening picnic supper to watch the migrating birds settle to roost.
The beach itself, near the parking area is quite small. High tide still gives kids place to play and there are good climbing trees, a rope swing. The view here is to the Isle of Wight. At low tide you can walk out on the gravel beds (avoid the muddy silty tidal marsh beds (also protected bird areas) to the sea.
- – There are no facilities at this beach whatsoever.
– Dogs must be on a lead if they are going to disturb the wildlife on the tidal marsh area. THIS IS IMPORTANT. There are rare, migratory species that use this area through the year. In summer they are nesting so any dog or child disturbance can upset the fragile balance here.
– Anyone accidentally walking on the tidal marsh mud area will probably get very stuck! It’s glutinous and heavy. You’ll also be disturbing birds too, so please don’t. This area is also a RSPB reserve, see above, so keep off it please.
Walk west from Tanners beach parking area and you’ll find an eroded coast where old growth forest is falling into the sea. Large pines and weatherbeaten small oaks prop up the fragile coast. It’s great for kids to scramble along and there are plenty of picnic areas to find. Cross the little wooden bridge (perfect for Pooh sticks) and you’ll find grassy banks with fantastic views of the migrating birdlife that live here.
Walk west again and follow the coastal footpath to cross the Pylewell estate and you’ll find a freshwater lake behind you and shallow channels of the tidal marshes in front. There is no sand here but it’s beautiful, rarely has visitors (apart from ponies and cows) and is a fab spot for a picnic or some quiet book reading.
Continue west on the footpath and you’ll follow country lanes to the Lymington ferry terminal and the Costa Coffee or a tiny bit further to the Ferryman pub (excellent food!). Or wait for the train at the ferry terminal and pop to Lymington (1 stop) and enjoy lunch and continue your coastal walk west from there.