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Important: 3 things to note before you start the walk...
1. This walk suggestion must not be taken as any kind of official New Forest walking guide.
2. Walkers using these pages must be responsible for their own safety and awareness.
3. The owner(s)/author of www.new-forest-national-park.com take absolutely no responsibility for anyone following this walk suggestion, or for using any information whatsoever from the website.
The Burley walk is quite short and starts from the eastern edge of Burley village. The first part of the walk runs close to Burley golf course, one of several courses on the Open Forest. You'll get some good views of New Forest heathland on this walk, as well as seeing some Forest wetland areas. A short section of the walk takes you along the dismantled railway line, where steam trains once roared through! After the walk you can stroll down to the village for a pint in the Queens Head pub, or a cuppa in one of Burley's many tearooms.
Car park location: OS ref. SU213028 -- GPS lat/long: 50.825,-1.697
Approximate distance of this walk: 2 1/2 miles
Allow (time): an hour and a half
Nearest pub/s: The Queen's Head in Burley village, 2 minutes from the walk car park, and the White Buck about 3/4 mile east in Bisterne Close.
Important update: Regrettably the OS map excerpt previously shown for this walk can no longer be used on this website. The walk is do-able without it, by following the directions and photos outlined below, but please take extra care. If you don't feel confident about trying the walk without the map excerpt, please don't!
My apologies for any inconvenience caused by this.
From the green 'Burley' car park sign, head away from the road and car park entrance, so the trees are on your right. Either go through the 2 small wooden posts on the left, or head down to the low-level Forestry Commission gate at the end. If you take the first option, bear immediately right onto the sandy track (don't follow the obvious gravel track).
The sandy track turns to gravel and goes downhill. You'll have open heath on your left and trees on your right.
The track narrows and returns to grey sand. You'll pass through a thicket of gorse and then back onto open heath, with the valley bottom (Shappen Bottom) on your right.
Update 5/2013: apparently the gorse isn't there any more, possibly due to a previous fire.
After several hundred metres, you'll see a wooden bridge across Shappen Bottom, down to your right. Don't go down there, but keep to the path you are on - take the right hand fork immediately ahead of you.
After a short distance, the path forks again. As before, take the path to the right and continue through the heather.
You'll soon join a gravel track and this will take you over an area of wetland and stream. Look out for wildlife here, these areas are a great attraction for animals and birds!
Carry on the gravel track and you'll quickly come to the remains of the old railway crossing, with brick walls each side. Turn right here, and start walking along the old railway line.
After a few hundred metres along the line you'll see a set of old railway crossing gate posts, by a small clump of trees on the left. There's a definite path down to the right, next to the right-hand gate post. Take this path and leave the railway line.
This narrow gravel path takes you back over the wetland and up through the heather. Keep to the path, it bears slightly left and goes up a small hill (Shappen Hill). Near the top, you'll join a slightly bigger track coming in from the right.
After a short distance through the heather, the track forks. Take the right hand fork and follow this track. Open heath is on your right, trees on your left.
Just stay on this track and follow it down to the area of grassy lawn. As you round the corner at the bottom, you'll see a pair of Forestry Commission cottages ahead of you.
Keep walking towards the cottages and pick up the main gravel road the runs to them. Head round to the right, and follow the gravel road.
The track joins a narrow tarmac lane. Head right, and just follow the lane uphill until you reach the Burley walk car park at the top, on your right.