One of the best sights of the New Forest in the summer is the spectacular, vibrant heather sweeping across our vast heathlands! The three types of heather in the New Forest provide a beautiful purple and pink carpet across the forest floors from start/mid August to mid September, although it seems to have come out a little earlier in places this year!
Few would fail to be impressed by our heather spectacle, so we’ve put together our top 5 locations:
1. Rockford Common, Near Ringwood
High up on this hill located just outside of Ringwood, you can see for miles across the forest, most of it covered in heather during the summer months. Take a stroll along the path up the hill from Rockford Common car park and follow it to the top and you’ll be truly amazed by the view. You could even bring a picnic and set up for the afternoon with the gorgeous landscape as a backdrop.
2. Goatspen Car Park, Near Burley
On the road between Burley and Brockenhurst, you’ll want to stop off so you don’t miss the glorious sights of the heather across this part of the New Forest. On the side of the road where the car park is located, you will see lots of heather mixed with the lovely grassland, where our famous New Forest Ponies usually ‘hang out’, and if you walk safely to the other side of the road, you will see an expanse of heather all the way to the trees far in the distance.
3. Bratley View, Near Lyndhurst
Just past the popular Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary, you will find Bratley View. From the car park you can enjoy the view of the valley, covered in magical purple heather, ancient trees and other bright green fauna. If you look hard enough into the flora and fauna you might even be able to spot one of our 5 types of deer that live in the New Forest. While you’re at Bratley View, if you head over the road and take a short walk into the forest, following the gravel track, you’ll end up at Mogshade Pond – a popular, large pond and an ideal place to take some stunning photographs!
4. Burbush Hill, Near Burley
Another beautiful location on the outskirts of Burley is Burbush Hill. Here you’ll be able to enjoy a fantastic adventure through the forest, exploring our wonderful nature and wildlife, including heather in the summer months. At Burbush, you can enjoy a circular walk up the hill, along the old railway line and down to Whitten Pond… all of which is surrounded by beautiful heather.
5. Longslade View, Near Sway
On the road opposite the well-loved Wilverley Plain there is a row of 4 New Forest car parks. If you go up to the top of the hill to the last car park, you will find Longslade View down a gravel track, where, as you can imagine from the top of a hill, the views across the forest are delightful, and even more so in August and September with the heather in bloom! At Longslade, you may also see some free roaming Ponies and cattle too, making your New Forest experience even more memorable.
As well as the 5 locations listed above, there are lots of other places to see the heather in the New Forest in the late summer. If you cycle, walk or drive through the forest, you will be sure to see some heather along the way…