Print this page (opens printer dialogue box)
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.
Fritham walk is one of the most popular walks within the New Forest, not least because of the proximity to the famous Royal Oak pub in Fritham village, and also Eyeworth Pond at the bottom of the hill.
This suggested route takes you through 3 different inclosures, and across the open heath of Fritham Plain.
There are good opportunities for deer-spotting on this walk, but not if it's busy! During the rutting season (early October), fallow bucks can be seen clashing antlers on several ancient rutting grounds within the area.
A year-round highlight is looking north over Islands Thorns and Amberwood Inclosures from Fritham Plain, on the way back to the car park. If you've seen Kevin Costner's Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves, you'll recognise this view as Sherwood Forest, after he and Morgan Freeman 'steal' Maid Marion's horse while escaping the Sheriff's cousin. This is probably the New Forest's biggest claim to Hollywood fame, even though the shot only lasts a few seconds!
Car park location: OS ref. SU229141 -- GPS lat/long: 50.926,-1.672
Approximate distance of this walk: 4 1/2 miles
Allow (time): 2 1/2 hours
Nearest pub/s: Royal Oak in Fritham village, walk from the car park.
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 inside the main car park, walk back towards the road but then double-back on yourself just before the road, and walk down the lower car park track. You should see a low-level 'Cycle route to Frogham' sign on the right of the track, soon after the Forestry Commission barrier at the start of this track.
This is the main Forestry Commission track that you'll be following, and at this point goes through a mixture of wooded area and open land. After about half a mile it enters Islands Thorns Inclosure.
At the point where you enter the inclosure you'll see a track that forks right. Ignore that, continue on the one. The track is quite windy and there are several junctions along the way. At one point you'll bear sharply right, where another track comes in from the left, and then cross a small stream. After the stream, ignore the track going to the right and bear sharp left on the main track.
Not long after these sharp bends, you'll come to the start of a small hill. There's a cycle route sign on the right hand side. The main track continues up the hill, but you need to turn left at the cycle sign and go through the gate. You're entering Amberwood Inclosure, which has some nice Ancient & Ornamental Woodland.
The track through this part of woodland is narrower, but still gravel. As before, keep to this track and ignore any junctions.
After about a mile, or slightly less, the track bears to the left but looks like it goes straight on. Stay on it to the left, after a very short distance you'll see a wooden Memorial bench dedicated to New Forest film maker and conservationist Eric Ashby, on your right.
Shortly after this bench, you'll cross a wooden bridge over Latchmoor Brook, a very typical New Forest stream. Immediately after crossing the stream, you'll go through 2 sets of 5-bar wooden gates, one gate each side of a wide grassy ride. Cross this ride and continue on the gravel track.
Stick to this track, ignoring the one going to the left shortly after the second gate. You'll go through a mixture of Ancient & Ornamental Woodland and forested pine. Fallow deer are plentiful in this area, so keep your eyes peeled!
After about a mile or so of following the main gravel track you'll come to a 5-bar wooden gate exiting the inclosure. Go through here and follow the track up and round to the right before turning left at the top, where it joins another track coming in from the right.
This track takes you straight back into the car park. You're now walking across Fritham Plain and from leaving the inclosure to reaching the car park is about a mile.
About half way along this track look over to your left, this is the spot where Kevin Costner and Morgan Freeman stopped on horseback to look over Sherwood Forest!
You'll enter the car park soon after the 'Sherwood Forest' view, there is a low-level Forestry Commission barrier gate. Walk through the car park, across the village green and head for the Royal Oak, to replenish those lost calories!