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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.
Matley is a couple of miles east of Lyndhurst, the 'unofficial' capital of the New Forest. Located on the road to Beaulieu, the start of the walk is Matley campsite, although the walk car park is the second gravel entrance, coming from Lyndhurst. The walk lasts a couple of hours and takes you through and around all of the New Forest's habitats - Ancient & Ornamental Woodland, open heathland, grassy lawns, bogs and pine inclosures; so this particular walk gives you a great 'tour' of the New Forest!
Car park location: OS ref. SU332075 -- GPS lat/long: 50.865,-1.532
Approximate distance of this walk: 4 1/2 miles
Allow (time): 2 hours
Nearest pub/s: choice in Lyndhurst, and Beaulieu Hotel at Beaulieu Road Station.
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.
There are two gravel entrances at Matley; coming from Lyndhurst, pass the first entrance (to Matley campsite) and enter the second. Bear round to the right and park.
From the car park, you have to walk through the campsite (ie with the road behind you), and head for the gravel road on the northernmost side of the campsite. Turn right when you hit the track, and at the northeastern corner of the site there is a low Forestry Commission barrier, and the gravel track enters Matley Wood. Follow the track.
Follow the track through Matley Wood, a small patch of New Forest Ancient & Ornamental Woodland. After about 500 metres, the woodland ends and you walk out onto Matley Heath, a large expanse of heather with sandy tracks. Stay on the track you're on for about half a mile, walking on a north-easterly heading.
After about 500 metres you will reach a small stream and grassy area - Fulliford Bog -- and the path returns to gravel. It takes you over the main railway line. Cross the bridge and stick to the main track.
Walk past the gate into Deerleap Inclosure on the left, and follow the main track running parallel to the inclosure on your left. After half a mile or so, there is a turning to the right, when you're in view of Deerleap car park. Take this turn.
Ignore the fork off to the right, the main track goes down a dip, over a small stream and towards a pine inclosure. At the corner of this inclosure, don't follow the track straight on but turn right. You're now on a sandy track, with the pine inclosure on your left. Follow this new track.
After 600 meters or so, after bearing round to the left, you'll come to a definite junction in the track. The main track carries on round to the left, but you need to turn right at this point.
After a few hundred metres there is a crossroads, with the track that you're on bearing sharp left. Carry straight on here, leaving the main track and following the grass/sandy track instead. Looking ahead, the land drops away in front of you.
Stay on the path although it can be a bit vague in places. Head down the hill, and diagonally left (southerly heading). The raised railway line is very close, to your right.
The narrow, sandy and often boggy path takes you across the heath to a small patch of woodland, and there is a small wooden bridge over a very young Beaulieu River (Fulliford Passage). Cross the bridge and head under the railway, through the brick arch.
Once through the arch, head straight on and follow the edge of a large grassy plain. After a short distance there is an obvious track to the right, take it.
This narrow gravel track takes you over a small bridge over an area of wetland (King's Passage). Walk up the other side and head left, up onto the grassy area.
Head across the grass and head for the woodland directly ahead of you. This is Matley Wood, and you'll soon pick up the track that you were originally on from the campsite. Head back through the trees and the car park.