October half-term walks in Hampshire: Best city and woodland trails near me - from the New Forest to Meon Valley trail
WITH nights drawing in and the weather becoming cooler, there are many trails and walks to enjoy this autumn in Hampshire.
Lockdowns and working from home has meant many of us had no choice but to venture into the great outdoors in the last 18 months.
There is no better time than the autumn to get out the house and get lost on a forest walk or an adventure trail as the weather is now cooler and the nights are still fairly light before the clocks go back over Halloween weekend.
Here's a list of some of the best autumn walks that Hampshire has to offer this year:
Meon Valley Trail
The trail was once a railway line that ran from Fareham to Alton as it transported livestock and agricultural produce.
It now spans a glorious 11 miles through the Hampshire countryside from West Meon to Wickham.
This trail may be long but it is mostly flat with a wide path, so suitable for those with mobility scooters, pushchairs or those who do not fancy an uphill walk.
You can find the trail carpark just off Station Road in West Meon, GU32 1JJ and entry is free.
There are many locations in the New Forest to go for an autumn stroll.
The New Forest truly blooms in the autumn months as the colour of the leaves begin to change.
One of the best walks within the New Forest is to the Huff Duff, which is a 4.3 mile dog friendly and moderate stroll that will take you to a tranquil wooded valley in Dockens Water before you then cross the stream into Rockford Common.
The closest car park for the walk is at Rockford Common National Trust car park which is opposed Moyles Court.
Entry is also free.
The Vyne is an easy but peaceful 1.4 mile woodland walk.
It begins at the visitor reception and will take you along a medieval parkland boundary.
Walkers will be able to take in the woodland colours due to the variety of trees, such as oak, beech and sweet horse chestnut trees.
You can find The Vyne on Vyne Road, Sherborne St John, Basingstoke, RG24 9HL.
Entry for the walk is free but booking is required.
The Trundle is located in the heart of the South Downs National Park and is accessible from the Triangle Points car park.
Keen walkers will stumble past an ancient monument as they soak in fantastic views that stretch the historic landscape and out to the English Channel.
There are three different trails to choose from at The Trundle, which range from 1.4 miles to 2.5 miles in length which all have different gradients.
Petersfield Heath is a short distance from Petersfield town centre and is made up of 69 acres of land with a 22 acre pond.
It is an easy and flat walk around the pond, which can usually take around half an hour to complete.
The address for Petersfield Heath is The Plump Duck, Heath Road West, Petersfield, GU31 4LA.
Entry and parking for the heath is free.
The South Downs Way
This trail is not for the faint hearted!
The walk is 100 miles long and well way-marked so you can pick up the trail at various points.
Those who make their way across the length of the trail will pass wildlife, pretty villages, great pubs and lots of history.
The start point for The South Downs Way trail begins at City Mill, High Street, Winchester, SO21 8EJ.
This walk is great for those who prefer to stroll near water.
Fleet Pond is Hampshire's largest freshwater lake and is home to plenty of wildlife such as butterflies and dragonflies.
Fleet Pond is also a great place to bring a picnic for the warmer, dry autumn days.
The walk takes around an hour to complete and the car park is situated off of Cove Road, Fleet.
You can access parking via a narrow, brick railway bridge and there is a brown duck sign at the junction.
Cross the bridge and turn right, you will then find the car park which is 400 meters down the track.
The nearest postcode for Fleet Pond is GU51 2RT and entry is free.
Bishop's Waltham Heritage Walk
This four mile circular walk will not be too taxing on your feet but it is not suitable for those with pushchairs or limited mobility.
The heritage walk is great for those who love history, families or chilled out strollers who want to embrace the autumn season.
On the route you will be able to see what is left of Bishop's Waltham Palace which was ripped down during the Civil War.
The best way to start the walk is just off of Station Road, Bishop's Waltham, Southampton SO32 1DH.