The New Forest is the perfect destination for walkers and nature lovers. Explore beautiful heathlands, ancient woodlands and vast grasslands, and pass by enchanting free-roaming wildlife and unique flora. Whether you're planning a gentle stroll, a mighty hike or a wildlife walking experience, being prepared with the correct clothing can make your experience even more enjoyable!

Here's our guide to dressing appropriately for walking in the New Forest, ensuring comfort, protection and style…

Layer up!

As everywhere in the UK, the weather can sometimes be a little unpredictable here; also, when walking, our body temperature can increase and decrease constantly, so we recommend layering up for versatility! Here are some ideas on how best to layer your top half to adjust your temperature and protect from the weather:

Base layer - Choose a moisture-wicking base layer – either a vest, t-shirt or long-sleeve top. This layer needs to be breathable!

Middle layer - Pick out an insulating middle layer – perhaps a fleece or a lightweight jacket. This layer should be easy to remove or add as needed!

Outer layer - Go for a waterproof and windproof outer layer - a jacket is ideal. This layer protects you from the elements!

Top tip: Choose quick-drying and breathable fabrics. These materials help regulate your body temperature and keep you dry and comfortable! Avoid cotton, as it tends to retain moisture, which can lead to discomfort and coldness.

Three people walking in the New Forest

Protect your legs!

For your lower body, wear comfortable, dry-fit trousers designed for walking or hiking. Made from durable and stretchy fabrics, these trousers allow for a full range of motion. Plus, they usually have water-resistant properties, which can be beneficial for dewy mornings or unexpected showers. Some areas of the New Forest can be thick with bracken and grass, so please be aware that these can be tick-prone areas. Consider tucking your trousers into your socks or wear gaiters for added protection.

Footwear is the foundation adventure!

It is crucial to wear good-quality and supportive footwear when walking in the New Forest. Although most routes have level pathways, at times, you can encounter uneven terrain, from rocky trails to muddy paths, meaning boots or shoes with a sturdy grip that are waterproof are important. Always ensure footwear is well-fitted and broken in before your adventure to avoid any discomfort or blisters. Pair your chosen shoes with comfortable and breathable socks. 

Man walking on path in the New Forest

Remember accessories!

Hats and Gloves - A lightweight hat and gloves can be essential for cooler months and early mornings. When it's really cold, a scarf or a neck warmer may be a good idea, too. A cap is ideal for sunnier and warmer days, protecting your head, face, and neck from the sun. These items can be easily stored when they aren't needed or wanted.

Sunglasses and Sunscreen - UV protection is essential, even on cloudier days. Apply sunscreen to exposed skin; this will guard against sunburn. Sunglasses with UV protection are also great on sunny days, with prolonged sun exposure when walking in our open spaces. 

Backpack - A small and comfortable backpack is perfect for carrying essentials such as water, snacks, a map, and any additional layers.

Two people walking in the New Forest

Check out a variety of excellent New Forest walking routes on our website and plan your next adventure in this stunning location.


Happy walking!