Guest post by Rebecca Henderson of Ordnance Survey
The Forest of Bere is fondly known as the 100 Acre Woods and is a firm favourite of mine to stretch my legs, don the wellingtons and walk off the inevitable excesses of Sunday lunch.
Length of route:
West Walk Car Park, Forest of Bere, Wickham, Hampshire. West Lodge’s postcode (opposite the West Walk car park entrance) is PO17 6JD.
Walking and Cycling
Ordnance Survey: 119 Meon Valley, Portsmouth, Gosport & Fareham
It can be a little tricky to find, but is well worth the hunt, as not only is it a great short walk with beautiful scenery but there is also a large adventure playground for exploration. Although designed for kids, it does have the tendency to bring out the playful side of most adults!
There are three access points with car parks and easy access to the trail: Upperford Copse, Wood End and West Walk. West Walk car park is a good place to start as it is the closest to all the facilities; refreshment stand, toilets and playgrounds. The car park opens at 8am and closes at dusk, charging 2 hours at £1.50, 2 to 4 hours at £2.50 and over 4 hours £4.00. The Forestry Commission offers BBQ hire in the summer and it is a fantastic spot to settle down in the sunshine with a picnic or some treats on a barbecue.
The trail is sign posted, and you can do longer or shorter versions of the walk as it is a loop around the forest. My advice would be to stick to the path on your first visit or take a map if you want to explore as there are few notable land marks. The walk is not too taxing, with only one fairly steep incline, so it is ideal for people of any ability. After heavy rainfall it would be worth taking appropriate footwear as it can get a bit muddy. Remember to keep your eyes peeled along the way as people have made their own dens and wigwams nestled just off the main routes!
The playground has two sections. One is situated just off the West Walk car park which is cordoned off (so you can let little ones run free) and has a tree house, wigwam, and shingle stream. The other is situated in the forest opposite next to the BBQ area and features larger play equipment.
If you are looking to extend your visit, nearby is the beautiful village of Wickham. It is about five minutes by car from the Forest of Bere and you will find yourself in a setting that befits a Jane Austen novel. For the keen walkers out there, you can plot a route to walk to the village which is only two and a half miles away. The village has some quintessentially English tea rooms and boutiques to discover, my favourites are Lilly’s and the Chesapeake Mill. Lilly’s will draw you back time and time again with their home made cakes and friendly atmosphere. It’s the perfect place to escape to on a Sunday!