Dog walks and dog days in the New Forest

Dogs are part of New Forest life. So long as they are well behaved, it’s pretty much access all areas in the area and in the National Park.

There are very few areas in the New Forest that you can’t walk with your dog.

There are also many pubs that you can take dogs into, which makes a day walk, or lunch out, much easier for everyone. Our favourite is The Turf Cutters in East End, where you’ll often find more dogs than people at Sunday lunch.

Here is a great page for walking information on the New Forest National Park Authority website.

The New Forest dog walking code…

  • 1. Keep all dogs under control at all times and keep them within your sight as to avoid disturbing wildlife.
    2. Respect any rangers, if they ask you to put your dog on a lead then please follow their instructions.
    3. Remember to clean up after your dog.
    4. Please take dog mess home or dispose into a proper rubbish bin.
    5. Respect other walkers, if you are struggling to keep your dog under control or within your sight please use a leash.
    6. Watch out for pigs loose in the pannage season – usually from July to November but it can be longer.
    7. From the 1st of March to the 31st of July in common land areas please keep your dog on a leash to avoid disturbing the ground nesting birds.
    8. We’d be remiss not to mention that there is a disease in the forest area, that does occasionally affect dogs, called Alabama Rot. Over 70,000 dogs are walked on the forest and cases are rare, but it can happen.


Our favourite walks…(not on the above map)

1. Beside the Beaulieu River from Bucklers Hard to Beaulieu village and back again.

This is a very pretty walk. Protected from wind in winter, leafy and shady in summer. Dogs can swim in the river, and if you start at the Agamemnon boat yard and walk toward Beaulieu, then there are lots of good cafe’s in the village for a lunch stop.

(There are various great little cafes and a chocolatiere shop in Beaulieu to refuel).

2. Start from Hatchet Pond, walk along Furzey Lane and into the woods toward Brockenhurst.

The heath here is beautiful. Dogs are welcome to swim in Hatchet Pond. Parking is good. You’ll definitely see wild ponies and probably cattle too. The forest area is quiet and the tracks well marked.

Go for lunch at the The Turf Cutters (usually more dogs than people) nearby in East End.

3. Roydon woods and the ancient forest toward Brockenhurst.

In the springtime, go and see the bluebells in Roydon Woods near Brockenhurst. It is owned by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and has plenty of good vantage points. There is a lovely clear stream for dogs to swim in at the Roydon woods end.

4. The coastal path from Milford on Sea and back to Lymington (take in the Hurst Castle Spit for a much longer walk). 

Some 6+ miles of trails, paths, tracks and beaches. Dogs can walk off the lead here through the year. The beaches are sandy at mid-low tide.

There is an excellent cafe at Hurst Castle for lunch, or stop in Keyhaven at The Gun Inn for a drink. Raft Rocks is a great cafe near Milford on Sea. Dogs will need to stay outside.

5. Hurst Castle and the spit. 

We love the 1.5 mile walk along the shingle spit to Hurst Castle. The sea is wild and fast moving on the western side, but the eastern side is protected by the spit and there is a huge lagoon. Perfect for dogs who love to swim. Walk east into pretty Keyhaven for a pit stop at The Gun (a famous smugglers haunt), or west into Milford on Sea for lunch.

6. Tanners Lane Beach, a short coastal walk back toward Lymington.

Read more about Tanners Beach in our guide here.

This fabulous, wild spot where ancient forest drops into the gentle Solent. Detour and head slightly inland to the East End Arms pub for lunch. Be careful to not let your dog disturb the nesting birds on the tidal marsh areas at Tanners. There are wild ponies and cattle who live on the beach here, so be watch out for them as you walk.  Park near the beach or on the lane or at the East End Arms pub.