Dog days in the New Forest

The New Forest is the perfect playground for four-legged friends to explore. With acres of open forest & miles of stretching coastlines to roam together, many of the shops & pubs throughout the New Forest are dog-friendly too, so you and your best friend are in for a treat!

Please explore some of our recommendations below to ‘fetch’ all the details...

Our top New Forest dog walks (in no particular order)

1. Bucklers Hard to Beaulieu village and back again.

Start/ finish: Bucklers Hard Boat Yard, Brockenhurst, SO42 7XB

what3words: ///cabbies.terminology.quack

Distance: 4 miles circular

This is a very pretty and mainly flat walk. The path is protected from wind in winter whilst it’s beautifully leafy and shady in summer. Start at Buckler’s Hard boatyard and walk to Beaulieu where there are lots of good cafe’s, a great pub and restaurant and a chocolatiere shop to refuel before heading back.


See our full insiders guide to Beaulieu.

2. Roydon woods and the ancient forest near Brockenhurst.

Start/ finish: Filly Inn, Lymington Rd, Brockenhurst SO42 7UF

what3words: ///tablet.durations.teach

The patchwork of woodlands, meadows and copses at Roydon Woods nature reserve are beautiful all year round, but arguably most spectacular in springtime when the woodlands have floral carpets of bluebells. The reserve is owned by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and has plenty of beautiful vantage points. There is a lovely clear stream and MASSES of deer living here (be careful if your dog is a chaser.)

We recommend starting and ending your walk at the Filly Inn (free parking available to patrons).

See our full insiders guide to Brockenhurst.

3. Lymington to Keyhaven, and back.

Start/ finish: Lymington Yacht Haven, King’s Saltern Rd, Lymington SO41 3QD

what3words: ///simulations.response.perfected

Distance: 5.4 miles circular

The path along Solent Way is utterly beautiful. You’ll find views of the Isle of Wight, mudflats and saltmarshes and there are plenty of benches to sit on and while away your time.

We love starting in Lymington, near the Yacht Haven and walking east toward Keyhaven. Stop for coffee or lunch at the Gun Inn in Keyhaven before heading back to the Yacht Haven to warm up by their wood burner or sip something refreshing on their sun terrace, depending on the weather. 

The marshes are full of birds feeding and roosting all year around, so please keep dogs on a short lead.

See our full insiders guide to Lymington.

4. Burley Village Loop.

Start/ finish: Chapel Ln, Burley, Ringwood BH24 4AA (carpark)

what3words: ///prepare.failed.powerful

Distance: 4.2 miles circular

This walk skirts around the edge of the ancient village of Burley. From the village centre, follow the path along Castle hill lane, past the hill fort on Castle Hill and across open forest before you return to the village for a potter around the shops and a pit stop at one of the village pubs.


See our full insiders guide to Burley.

5. Hurst Castle and the spit. 

Start/ finish: Saltgrass lane, Keyhaven, Milford on Sea

what3words: ///habits.exhaling.sprouted

Distance: 3 miles circular

We love the 1.5 mile walk along the shingle spit from Keyhaven 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 (and children) who love to paddle. Hurst Castle is an iconic landmark, built by Henry V|||. You can read our full guide here. 

There is plenty of free on street parking along Saltgrass lane, a popular crabbing bridge and an ice cream truck in peak months.

See our full insiders guide to Keyhaven.

6. Fritham and Rufus Stone area. 

Start/ finish: Royal Oak, Fritham, Hampshire, S043 7HJ

what3words: ///winds.diets.shapeless

The walks here are never ending and absolutely beautiful. You’re deep in ancient trees and most of it is unfenced. Be careful to not get lost! Our favourite is the walk from the Royal Oak pub in Fritham (definitely stop here too) and out toward Godshill. The ridge on the hill has superb viewing and it’s less popular than the south of the forest.


See our full insiders guide to nearby Fordingbridge.

7. Hatchet Pond towards Brockenhurst.

Start/ finish: Hatchet Pond, Brockenhurst, SO42 7WT

what3words: ///latched.reckon.committee

The heath here is beautiful. Dogs are welcome to swim in Hatchet Pond and there is ample parking. You’ll see wild ponies, donkeys and probably cattle too. The forest area is quiet and the tracks well marked.

An ice cream truck selling New Forest ice creams is almost always parked here in peak months, but if you fancy something more substantial, then try the The Turf Cutters (usually more dogs than people) in nearby East End.

View our full list of dog friendly getaways here…


With over 140 miles of off road tracks and footpaths to explore, it’s no wonder that the New Forest is a favourite with both man and his best friend.

There are very few areas of the New Forest that you can’t walk with your dog, but there are some things to be aware of when visiting:

// Livestock roam free in the New Forest, please keep your distance when they are present and be careful not to get between a mother and its young.

// From March- August each year, the area is full of ground-nesting birds. During this time, please keep to the walking paths and keep dogs on leads so as to not disturb their nests.

// Though many of the local beaches are dog friendly all year around, some of them have seasonal restrictions. Look out for local signage.

// Please always take bagged dog waste home, or use a litter or dog bin. Dog poo can be very harmful to grazing wildlife.

Dog-friendly places to eat & drink

Monty’s, Beaulieu

In the heart of Beaulieu, Monty’s welcome their 4 legged guests with open arms. Great for cream teas or larger meals (the ingredients for which are grown predominantly in their kitchen garden). The place has a more laid back feel than its sister restaurant at the Montague Arms.

The Beachcomber Cafe, Barton- on- Sea

On the cliffs overlooking Barton-on-Sea beach, The Beachcomber has a massive garden to enjoy a light lunch or cup of something. The views can also be enjoyed on colder days from inside the window lined cafe.

The Turfcutters Arms, East End village

Famous in ye olde smugglers times, and very well regarded now. The Turfcutters is great for an inexpensive meal, it’s all home cooked, a generous size and unpretentious. There is easy parking and a very relaxed policy on dogs. In fact, your dog is likely to have more chat than you. There are usually more dogs than people here – especially at weekends.

The Mayflower, Lymington Marinas.

The Mayflower is a great spot just behind the marinas, the Salt Water Pools and the coastal path. Recently renovated and huge inside, it sprawls for a large bar area with lovely tables for coffee, food and drinks, and a separate restaurant which is much smarter. Dogs are welcome in the bar area. Outside there is extensive decking and relaxed dining.

This is a favourite spot of ours for warming up after chilly walks on the coastal path.

Steph's Kitchen, Beaulieu

Steph’s Cafe, at Fairweathers Garden Centre is a great cafe and well regarded. You can eat here or do a bit of shopping. Opposite is a beautifully run, educational show garden showcasing interesting fruit and vegetable growing techniques and best practice gardening. It’s well worth a visit and suitable for dogs and small children too.

Our top dog friendly beaches

Hordle Cliffs, Milford on Sea

Carpark: SO41 0UX

What3words: ///angry.reminds.marzipan

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round.

The beach here is accessed via a relatively steep set of stairs, but once you are down, your pooch (and you) will love the seemingly endless length of shingled beach.

Mudeford Sandbank

Carpark: BH6 4EL

What3words: ///bill.verbs.hype

Restrictions: Dogs welcome all year round.

Mudeford sand spit adjoins the ancient headland of Hengistbury Head. The sandly beach is approximately 500m in length and are backed by dunes. Both the Isle of Wight and the Needles are visible across the Solent from here.

Lepe Country Park, Beaulieu

Carpark: SO45 1AD

What3words: ///straddled.hampers.photocopy

Restrictions: Restrictions during the summer months.

Lepe is on the outskirts of the New Forest and gives you the opportunity to enjoy a walk on both the beach and in the country. After frolocking in the waves, take your dog on a walk around the ‘Lepe Loop’, a circular walk that takes you around scenic Lepe and Exbury (approx 5 miles).

Check out some of our four- legged guests enjoying our dog friendly properties
Dog Parks

Dandelion Dogs, Hordle, Lymington.

If you’re looking for an opportunity to exercise your dog off lead, in a secure and more private setting, why not book a session at either the meadow or play pasture offered by Dandelion Dogs. These settings have 6ft secure fencing, fresh water, waste bags and bins for disposal. The perfect activity for a more reactive dog, an older dog or a puppy.

The Woodland Dog Park Bransgore.

Woodland Park has two enclosures with around 2 acres of fenced forest land. The fields are well away from roads and other people so function as a safe place to exercise, train and play. Enclosure 1 is shady with shrubs and logs for your dog to climb, whilst enclosure 2 has tyres filled with wood chips, a tunnel and a seating area for you to enjoy the view whilst your pooch plays.

Wild & Free, Fordingbridge

Wild & Free have 2 dog meadows available for private hire on the outskirts of the New Forest. The meadows have a great selection of play things including (but not limited to) stepping logs, scent walls, cooling stations, a play house and log mountain and a natural agility course including a tunnel, jumps, catwalk, weave poles and platforms. This place really is a holiday treat for your canine companion.

Useful Numbers

Dog Walkers and Boarders

Sophie’s Pet Care –  New Forest and surrounding areas – Dog days out, walking and boarding services.

No Time To Paws -Beaulieu and Hythe areas – Dog walking and sitting services.

The New Forest Dog Hotel – Fordingbridge, Ringwood and Burley areas – Boarding house set within an acre of inclosed land.



Local Vets

Forest Lodge Vet Practice, Lymington –  01590 673687 – SO41 8DU

Seadown Veterinary Group, Beaulieu – 023 80842237 – SO45 3NG

Southern Counties Veterinary Specialists, Ringwood01425 485615 –  BH24 3JW

Forest Veterinary Clinic, Fordingbridge – 01425 652221 – SP6 1EQ