Our favourite dog walking spots & doggy days out in the New Forest
The New Forest and man’s best friend are a match made in heaven. Here’s our pick of the best places and routes to try — with some pub pitstop recommendations, of course!
Nestled in serene south west England between Southampton and Bournemouth, this luscious 566 km² expanse of ancient heathland boasts no shortage of shady glades, sun-dappled country hills and sandy beaches — just ideal for exploration with your canine companion.
As well as breathtaking unspoiled natural landscapes, the New Forest National Park boasts free-roaming livestock including cows, donkeys, pigs and, of course, the native ponies — a true escape to reconnect with nature.
As such, with the terrain suitable for so many animals, there are some fantastic places to stretch all four legs. Your furry friend will love exploring the New Forest just as much as you.
The best dog walks & dog-friendly places in the New Forest
For walkies with a difference in the New Forest, you might want to head to the rolling heathland of Telegraph Hill, Turf Hill or Moors Valley Country Park. For characterful rural village vibes, Nomansland might be up your street, or try Highcliffe for some sea breeze and sand in between your paws!
1. Telegraph Hill— a gentle, picturesque & easy-going route
Whether you’re just visiting the New Forest for a getaway or you and your pooch are lucky enough to live here, this should be one of your go-to routes.
Starting at the car park just off Roger Penny Way (SP5 2PX), there’s a 5km amble that takes you across the heath and along the water. It takes around an hour depending on how quick you’re going.
Don’t be fooled by the name — this mainly flat but rocky walk is popular with keen mountain bikers and dog walkers looking for quiet field views that take you directly to the outskirts of Fordingbridge, which has lots of local amenities such as shops, cafes, art exhibitions and, perhaps most importantly, dog-friendly pubs!
If the weather’s been sub-par, be sure to pack suitable footwear as things can get slightly muddy.
2. Turf Hill— for the New Forest at its finest
This walk includes different types of terrain starting on paths and ending on a grassy pathway back to the car park (SP5 2PU).
Perfect for soaking some of the best scenery the New Forest has to offer. Similarly to Telegraph Hill, despite its name, Turf Hill is also largely a flat route — so you don’t need to worry about inclines tiring out your pooches.
Despite being largely open, there are some nice shady glades where you can stop to admire the views (or even treat yourself to a picnic), so why not make an afternoon of it, or even catch a sunset? Keep your eyes peeled for one of the New Forest’s most historic, fascinating quirks — the semi-wild native ponies.
3. Nomansland — to take things easy (and a great pub pitstop)
For dogs or dog walkers in the New Forest not wanting to tire themselves out, the small village of Nomansland is perfect. The green, opposite the Lamb Inn, is a great place to unwind and relax — as well as walk your dog, of course.
If you’re visiting the New Forest, this is a great chance to soak up some quintessential village vibes. Despite its small size, there’s plenty of character. If you’re walking on the green, you’ll pass a war memorial and cricket pitch. You might spot a game in progress if you’re visiting over the weekend.
You and your furry friend might choose to stay on the green, but if you’ve still got energy to burn, consider venturing into the surrounding woods if you so wish for a longer, more adventurous experience.
Once you’ve worked up a thirst (or an appetite), no trip to Nomansland is complete without a sit down at the dog-friendly Lamb Inn for a local beverage and some delicious home cooked pub grub.
Image credit: Jim Champion / The Lamb Inn, Nomansland, New Forest.
4. The Solent Way— for the salty sea dogs
Whilst you might not associate the New Forest with the seaside — forgivable, considering its name — this gorgeous part of the world is actually home to 65km of stunning shoreline, with a fair few dog-friendly beaches. Perfect for pups who want to feel the sand in between their paws.
The Solent Way — named after the sea strait separating England and the Isle of Wight — links Milford with Emsworth Harbour. It mainly traces the gorgeous Hampshire coastline, with a few inland diversions.
Along The Solent Way, there’s no shortage of brilliant walkies opportunities and dog-friendly beaches; may we recommend you start at Milford-on-Sea, recently crowned the ‘most dog friendly beach’ in Hampshire?
Highcliffe (near New Milton) is also home to a beautiful stretch of coastline filled with pebbly beaches and off the beaten track pathways. Dogs are not allowed on the beach from 1 May to 30 September each year, so it’s ideal for off-peak adventure.
For a bit of history, Highcliffe also boasts an impressive castle with grounds open to dog walkers, but they will need to be on a lead throughout your visit. There’s too many walks to mention on The Solent Way, but we’re sure you’ll soon discover your favourites.
5. Moors Valley Country Park and Forest, Ringwood— for nature reserves, fun-filled family adventure & an abundance activities with Rover
Open heathland, shady woodland, golden beach and even country parks — there’s so much variety of scenery in the New Forest. For the latter, be sure to head straight for the Moors Valley Country Park in Ringwood.
Complete with a huge range of signposted walking and cycling trails across its nature reserves, Moors Valley is a great example of a park that does both. As well as glistening lakes, it even comes with its own steam railway and an abundance of activities that make it super family friendly and great for kids; be sure to check the website for the latest ‘what’s on’.
It’s made the list as dogs are welcome to visit, however, the park asks that your furry friends are kept on a lead at all times in the interests of all walkers.
6. Salisbury — for canine city slickers seeking a range of walks & a fantastic selection of pup-friendly pubs
If you’re in this neck of the woods, the mediaeval-yet-modern city of Salisbury is just a 15-minute walk away from the official boundaries of the New Forest National Park.
Now, we know what you’re thinking: Salisbury is a city. And while that’s true, it’s a great base for nearby walks in the New Forest and beyond. A relaxing stroll around Old Sarum — the earliest settlement in Salisbury — is one of the most history-rich dog walks you’ll ever find!
You might be surprised to learn that the world-famous Salisbury Cathedral welcomes well behaved dogs, so the whole family can take in Europe’s tallest church spire together. Salisbury is also home to many dog friendly pubs and eateries, including The Pheasant on Salt Lane, Bishops Mill and the Old Ale & Coffee House.
It’s safe to say that there’s something for everyone here, and you’re only ever a stone’s throw away from woodland walks.
Stay a while in the New Forest…
Seeking that at-one-with-nature sense of escape with your four-legged friends? Join us at Green Hill Farm, our dog-friendly luxury holiday park nestled near Nomansland and Landford, right at the heart of the New Forest National Park.
We offer camping, touring, glamping, holiday homes and luxury lodges to book. Or, for something truly unique, step into one of our safari tents, complete with hot tub!
That’s in addition to our incredible location, offering direct access to the New Forest. Then there’s our fantastic selection of amenities and facilities, including Ember, our on-park restaurant. Trust us, the pepperoni pizza is to die for.
For those wanting to make the ultimate commitment to this gorgeous region, we also offer holiday home ownership in the New Forest.