New Forest Walks

Topographical Notes

 

Abbot's Well

The spring water that supplies Abbot's Well is alleged to possess health-giving properties and curative power; and has certainly been used since mediaeval times when the place was known as Alleyenewell. The well itself is unpretentious and often unnoticed by passers-by despite its proximity to the road-side. It comprises an open tub and a covered brick well both set into and almost flush with the ground.

Alderhill Inclosure

Planted with Oak in 1864, Alderhill Inclosure lies in a wild but beautiful part of the Forest at the eastern end of Latchmore Bottom.  Little of the original woodland remains and much of the inclosure's ninety-six acres has been given over to Scots pine and Douglas fir. The northern fence climbs Alder Hill which took its name from trees of that species once plentiful hereabouts but much less so now.

Amberwood Inclosure

An outstandingly attractive area of undulating oak woodland planted in the year of Waterloo, much of the original woodland remaining due to the recommendation of the New Forest Advisory Committee of 1928.  The name "Amber" is of Celtic origin and means a river or stream, in this case the Latchmore Brook which bisects the inclosure laterally.

Appleslade Inclosure.

Appleslade is a small hillside inclosure of eighty-seven acres lying south of the hamlet of Linwood. It was inclosed in 1829.  in New Forest terminology 'slade' is synonymous with valley, in this case well endowed with crab-apple trees.

Ashleycross Hill tumulus

This is a Bronze Age barrow at the junction of the ancient trackway from Godshill to Fritham with that which runs along Hampton Ridge from Frogham to Studley Head.  Nearby is a large mound concealing a concrete block-house used in connection with the wartime bombing range situated between the ridge and Pitts Wood, sometimes referred to as the "submarine pens".

Black Barrow

A forty foot mound south of Dockens Water between North Hollow Bridge and the ford at Woodford Bottom, sometimes referred to by its shortened name 'Black Bar1. It is almost certain that this is no burial place and is probably one of several small sandy hillocks in the locality, a produce of the peculiar irregulatities of erosion. It might well have been used as a stronghold by Iron Age man and the discovery of charcoal and fragments of Romano-British pottery suggests it was put to some use by the potters of Black Heath.

Black Heath

Black Heath is an area of open forest between Dockens Water and Linwood. It was in farmland adjacent to the Heath that between 1920-1922 Heywood Sumner excavated three Romano-British kilns.  The sites were located fortuitously by moles throwing up potsherds in their wake and amongst many interesting finds was a small brass coin of Licinius I (A.D. 307-323) and a spindle-whorl of Kimmeridge shale thought to have been used for making indented patterns on the ware.  The site has been re-investigated in recent times.

Breamore Hat

A small piece of oak and holly woodland between Picket Corner and The Butts to the west of Island Thorns Inclosure.  The pronunciation is 'Bremmer', a slight variation of the Old English "Brember" meaning bramble.

Brogenslade Bottom

A steep sided valley at the base of Dorridge Hill. The name suggests a valley with a stream and no doubt refers to Huckles Brook at its western end.

Broomy Inclosure

This Inclosure of two hundred and twenty-two acres lies almost entirely on Bracklesham sands and clays.  It was planted with oak in 1809.  About two-fifths of the earlier woodland remains mainly in the eastern section which was thrown open some years ago.

Butts, The

A group of tumuli between Leaden Hall and Breamore Hat outside the western boundary of Islands Thorns Inclosure. The name is not uncommon in the New Forest and it is said that the barrows were often used as safety banks behind archery butts in mediaeval times, despite prognostications from the superstitious that the giants interred within would rise in vengeance.

Charlesford

A track from Ogdens to Abbots Well crosses the Latchmore Brook here.  The exact meaning of the name is lost in antiquity.  In the thirteenth century it was Celiarsford and in the next four hundred years changed only slightly to Coliarsford.  It has been suggested that the name is connected with the charcoal industry which flourished from Saxon times and this might be so. A small wood called Colliers Thorns between Handy Cross and Pinnick Wood further south could possibly have the same origin.  The modern "Charlesford" might well be the cartographer's misinterpretation of local pronunciation.

Church Piece

A small earthwork in Sloden Wood probably used as a pastoral enclosure.  It is otherwise known as "Church Yard" although Ordnance Survey Maps show this to be at the eastern end of the adjacent Sloden Inclosure.

Claypits Bottom

A valley north of Studley Wood where the westerly arm of the Latchmore Brook rises.  It is near enough to the former pottery sites in Islands Thorns Inclosure to have been used in Romano-British times, but clay like gravel, sand and marl has been extracted from various parts of the New Forest over the centuries and the name probably originates from more recent usage.

Dark Hat Wood

A small but beautiful A & 0 wood on Homy Ridge east of Claypits Bottom.  There are many fine oaks here but the northern side of the wood in particular has a considerable quantity of holly remaining from times when this was the dominant species and the name applied.

Deadman Hill

This is a stretch of the B3078 along a ridge from Godshill The most likely origin of the name is that a gibbet was situated at one time near the junction with the Redlynch road but a more colourful local story tells how in the mid-eighteenth century a smuggler named David Smith, in return for the promise of a free pardon, betrayed his associates including the infamous Captain Diamond.  But not all were apprehended and Smith was waylaid near Studley Head by some of Diamond's crew who had evaded capture.  He was dragged down into the valley east of Cunninger Bottom, now known as Deadman Bottom, where his tongue was cut out, he was cruelly beaten and finally hanged from a tree.

Dockens Water

This stream rises near Fritham and flows westwards through a pretty valley lying between ridges rising one hundred and fifty feet on either side before meeting the Avon at Blashford.  This attractive, meandering stream with its bankside thickets of thorn and willow has been the subject of recent drainage and scrub clearance proposals to "improve" grazing for commonable stock.  Local wildlife photographer and naturalist, Eric Ashby, has spearheaded a campaign for the preservation of its natural state and it is hoped that the Forestry Commission will honour its commitment to afford the area 'sympathetic treatment1, should work proceed.

Eyeworth Lodge

The Domesday Book states that "The King Holds Ivare (Eyeworth) in the Forest and two freemen held it of King Edward".  So the homesteads that now make up this small settlement stand on land that has certainly been occupied since Saxon times end probably long before that as Neolithic flint knivec have been found in the area. It is not unreasonable to suppose that the British potters of Crock Hill had their huts and field systems hereabouts and that the Saxons merely took over what had already been established.  In more recent times, Eyeworth Lodge had been the headquarters of the Schultze Gunpowder Factory which in its heyday produced fifteen thousand pounds of powder each week. The firm began in a modest way about 1860 making black powder for which charcoal was needed and in those times, of course, a supply was readily available.  Later when smokeless powder was preferred the factory expanded considerably and during World War I the Schultze works supplied the Allied troops in Flanders.  After the armistice it was decided to move to Scotland and in the early nine teen-twenties many of the seventy wooden buildings were dismantled and the factory site abandoned.

Eye worth Pond

Nowadays the pond is a Forest beauty spot but originally it served as a reservoir for the gunpowder works at the Lodge.  It is a triangular chalybeate pond between Eyeworth and Ironswell woods with enough aquatic vegetation to support a resident colony of coots.

Eyeworth Wood

The Domesday Survey names Eyeworth as "Ivare" meaning a wooded hill so that trees have covered the slopes west of the settlement for more than a thousand years. Eye-worth Wood is a typical A & 0 woodland with some of its oaks and beeches attaining girths in excess of sixteen feet.

Freeworms Hill

This hill is 350 feet above sea level and is covered in part by old oak and beech woodland encircled by hollies, known locally as "Fancy Trees". The ancient name refers to the Right of Pannage which dates from earliest times and allows commoners to turn out pigs to forage in the autumn, the 'worms' being a corruption of the Old English 'weorn', a herd of swine.

Fritham

Pritham is a small village with houses lying either side of a narrow, twisting road that plunges downhill and up again to the green at its western end.  The name means a settlement amongst trees (Old English "fyrtht" - a wood) which remains a fitting description of its location At the time of the Domesday Survey in 1086 manorial land at Fritham was assessed at eight hides (something between 500 and 1000 acres) and was held by five men including the Earl of Shrewsbury, who had two manors, and Bishop Walkelin, a relative of the Conqueror, who received his holding as part of the endowment upon his accession to the See of Winchester in 1070.  Despite its history there is little of antiquity apart from Fritham House, Fritham Farm and the "Royal Oak" inn.  The church is very small and dates only from 1861.

Frogham End

A small, pink cob cottage opposite the car park at Abbots Well, once the home of Juliette de Bairicli-Levy authoress of "Wanderers in the New Forest".

Gaze Hill

The Scots pines at the summit of Gaze Hill are a Forest landmark and were planted in 1815 as a shelter belt for the oak woodland of Amberwood Inclosure. A second generation of pines has now almost replaced ilxe original trees.

Great Witch

Great and Little Witch are two hillocks on the northern slopes of Hasley Hill protruding into wet heath in Latchmore Bottom.   The name 'witch1 is probably derived from the Old English "wise" meaning marshland.

Hallickshole Hill

This is high land between Sloden and Hasley inclosures. The name is interesting and could originate from the Old English "halig" meaning holy and refer to the tumuli in the area, or from "hall" a water meadow.  Certainly Watergreen Bottom between Hallickshole and Dead Buck Hill is damp and boggy.  But perhaps the most likely explanation is that it is a corruption of Hasley Hole.

Hampton Ridge

This rims along high plateau three hundred and twenty feet above sea level with Long Bottom and Lay Gutter Valley to the north and south respectively. The present-day track along the ridge follows the course of a prehistoric trackway and it is certain that Romano-British ware from the potteries of Crock Hill and Islands Thorns was transported along this path to settlements in Dorset and further west. The abundance of gorse and its relative isolation makes the R dge one of the strongholds of the Dartford Warbler.

Hasley Inclosure

Hasley is an isolated, hill-top inclosure of 92 acres standing 100 feet above the surrounding moorland. It was planted in 1843 with hardwoods but much of the original woodland has been felled and replaced by conifers. The name means, quite simply, a clearing in a hazel wood and although this tree is not nowadays well represented in the Forest it was certainly plentiful enough in earlier times. It has been suggested that a Saxon settlement at Hasley was one of many demolished by William I, but most recent historians refute allegations that the Conqueror ordered the destruction of churches and villages in the New Forest and liiere is no archaeological evidence of a homestead here. It is likely, however, that mesolithic man knew the area well as flint weapon heads of that era have been found in the red-sand area outside the north eastern fence of the inclosure.

Holly Hatch Inclosure

Planted with oak in 1808, this inclosure of 154 acres is now principally coniferous. It lies in a sheltered position on Bracklesham beds overlooking Docksns Water. The inclosure takes its name from a hatch gate which was situated, one presumes, near to the present-day Holly Hatch Cottage.

Holly Hatch Cottage

A small, Keeper's cottage built in 1809 where the northern boundaries of Broomy and Holly Hatch inclosures converge. It was used in the late 1970's for the filming of some instalments of Independent Television's revival of "Dick Barton, Special Agent".

Homy Ridge

This ridge extends from the north-east corner of Eyeworth Wood to the B.3078.   The name is a misspelling of "holmy" meaning covered by hollies.

Hope Cottage

A small cottage, just within the Wiltshire border, at the junction of the Godshill road with that from Stoney Cross to Redlynch.  Opposite the cottage at one time was the Bramshaw Telegraph situated at the highest point in the New Forest, 418 feet above sea level.  This was one of a series taking messages from Telegraph Hill, between Daggons Road and Verwood, and passing them on to Toot Hill near Romsey.  The last message was received and relayed in 1847.

Howen Bottom

A valley north of Eyeworth Pond lying 125 feet below the surrounding moorland. The name is a variation of "How-den", a deep valley.

Ibsley Beacon

In 1960 the Board of Trade erected a Very High Frequency Omnidirectional Radio Range beacon on Ibsley Common, situated on the centre line of Airway Red One running from Gatwick to the Channel Islands and the Continent.  This was housed in a small square building with an overhanging disc-shaped roof surmounted by a cylindrical turret of orange perspex, enclosed within a stockade.

In 1973, however, a larger and more sophisticated beacon was erected a short distance to the north resembling a cluster of mushrooms above a grid framework.   The original building was later demolished.

Ibsley Common

The common takes its name from the hamlet of Ibsley which lies at the base of its western slopes. The contents of six Bronze Age barrows uncovered here can now be found in Salisbury Museum. More recent excavations on the Common have been for commercial sand and gravel. Ibsley is one of the “adjacent commons” brought within the jurisdiction of the Verderers by the New Forest Act of 1968 but the land is owned by the Normanton family of Somerley Park on the further side of the Avon. Spotted heath orchids grow here in profusion and Solomon’s seal, a much rarer plant in the Forest, can be found in places.

Ironswell

A spring on the eastern side of Eyeworth Pond which is alleged to possess curative properties. It has long since fallen into disuse but in years past its waters were considered a remedy for sore eyes, bad legs and other numerous ailments including mange in dogs. It was at one time called “Lepers’ Well” and there is a vague tradition locally that a lazar house stood nearby, but this has never been substantiated.

Islands Thorns Inclosure

One of the most attractive of the statutory inclosures being almost entirely hardwood and most of the mature oak dating from the initial planting of the inclosure in 1852. It is situated 350 feet above sea level and covers 495 acres. The name, in all probability, should be Highland Thorns, the cartographer failing to allow for the common practice of dropping ‘aitches’ when making local enquiries concerning traditional place—names.

Latcbmore Brook

This is one of the most attractive of the many New Forest streams and one which flows through some of the loneliest parts.  The name is derived from the Old English 'laece' meaning a stream and "Maere" a boundary. It probably acted as a demarcation line between Ashley Walk to the north and Ogdens Purlieu and Broomy Walk to the south.  It has three sources at Studley Head, Clay-pits Bottom and Howen Bottom, all within a very short distance of the Forest's border with Wiltshire.  Its waters were used by the Romano-British potters seventeen hundred years ago and earlier this century by the gunpowder factory at Eyeworth.

Linwood

A dispersed hamlet with a history going back at least seven hundred years.  We know that at some date prior to 1271 Peter de Linwood made a gift of all his holdings in the settlement to William le Rus and Adam de la Bere. By the early fourteenth century the ranor of Linwood had passed into the hands of Edmund de Kendall who later divided the estate between his daughters Felicia and Margaret.  When the girls married locally the moiety of each became merged with the manors of Ellingham and Harbridge respectively.  Nowadays, Linwood is partly residential and partly agricultural.  In more recent years a private camping site has attracted summer visitors.

Little Witch

See "Great Witch"

Milkham Inclosure

Milkham is a very well laid out inclosure of three hundred and ninety-six acres, almost entirely coniferous It was planted in 1861, much of the original Scots pine being used for boarding in the trenches of World War I. The name is derived from the Old English "moel cwm" meaning a valley bereft of trees and shrubs.

Moyles Court

Moyles Court takes its name from the Meoles family, lords of the manor in the fourteenth century.  The present house (now a private school) dates from the seventeenth century and was the home of Dame Alice Lisle until her execution for harbouring fugitives from the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685.  At her trial the jury had found her not guilty but were sent back by the notorious Judge Jeffreys to re-consider their verdict.  They finally submitted to his insistent demands and threats and returned a verdict of guilty, the old lady being taken to the Square at Winchester where sentence of death was carried out.

Moyles Court Oak

A very fine tree indeed of tremendous spread and a girth of well over twenty-two feet at four feet three inches from the ground.  It stands between the ford through Dockens Water by Moyles Court and the Linwood road.

North Hollow

This is a short, narrow valley on the eastern slopes of Ibsley Common.  The name comes from the Old English "hoi".   'Hollows' and 'holes' are common in the north of the Forest.

Qgdens Purlieu

The dictionary pronunciation is "Purlew" but local forest people usually say "purlee" (as with Beaulieu).  A purlieu was a stretch of country wrongly afforested and subsequently disafforested as a result of a "pouralee" or perambulation to determine the actual boundaries of a royal forest and was administered by an official having the title of Banger.  Ogdens Purlieu came under the jurisdiction of a local worthy named Ogden Rooke during the latter half of the seventeenth century and was, no doubt, at that time referred to as Ogdcn Rooke's Purlieu.  The very small settlement of Ogdens has the same origin, of course, and it is possible that the ranger had his home there.

Picket Corner

As with Picket Post the meaning is "pointed".  In this case it probably denotes the angle between ancient trackways.  One is now the B3078, the other is still a rough track running from Studley Head via Hampton Ridge to Frogham.

Pitts Wood Inclosure

This inclosure was named after John Pitt who was surveyor general at the time of its first planting in 1775. Until 1944, when this part of the Forest was used as a bombing range, Ashley Lodge stood close to the northern boundary its paddocks enclosed by the fencing of Ashley Rails. This house had been built in 1773 on the site of an older Lodge and it was here by chance that Keeper G. Slighton who lived there at the time unearthed part of a Romano-British pottery kiln when burying a dead pony.

Rakes Brakes Bottom

This is a boggy valley noirth of Broomy Water between Sloden Wood and Freeworms Hill-  The name means a path through bracken used by ponies and cattle, presumably that which still climbs the southern slopes of Fritham Plain from the two bridges over the stream.

Roe and Roe Wood Inclosures

Roe, Roe Wood and Milkham inclosures are juxtaposed and form a block of woodland of almost seven hundred and fifty acres, two-thirds of which is coniferous.  The name 'Roe1 is something of a mystery as apparently this species of deer was not known to exist in the New Forest in 1811 when the two inclosures were planted out.  Perhaps one animal had wandered in from Dorset at some time in the past and its presence was sufficiently unusual to warrant the naming of the woodland which formerly occupied the site of the present Roe Wood Inclosure.

Romano-British Pottery Sites

The main centre of the Romano-British pottery industry which flourished in the New Forest in the third and fourth centuries A.D. was at sites in the present-day Pitts Wood Inclosure, Islands Thorns Inclosure and Sloden Inclosure.  Secondary centres were at Linwood and in the South Oakley-Anderwood area near Burley.

Many of these sites were investigated in the latter half of the nineteenth century and the first half of this. Rev. J. Pemberton Bartlett, Percival Lewis and John Wise were involved in earlier excavations but the greatest authority on New Forest archaeology was Heywood Sumner whose books on the subject have long been regarded as works of reference.  The better quality ware was produced at the Pitts Wood and Islands Thorns sites, much of this being glazed and patterned with slip or by indentation.  The bowls, flagons, thumb-pots, bottles, jars, dishes and various types of mortaria were packaged and then transported along ridgeway trade to much of southern England and as far west as Lydney in Gloucestershire.

For a full description of site exploration over the years one should consult Heywood Sumner's "Excavations in New Forest Roman Pottery Sites" published in 1927; John Wise's "New Forest: Its History and Scenery, 1862 et seq.: Anthony Pasmore's "New Forest Pottery Kilns and Earthworks' 1967.

'Royal Oak',' Fritham

A small thatched inn situated at the western end of an isolated hamlet.  It is said to have been the haunt of smugglers at one time.

Sloden Inclosure

Sloden was one of thirteen mediaeval coppices surveyed by John Norden in 1609 and the encoppicement banks extend into the present inclosure and into Sloden Wood. New Sloden, as the inclosure is often called, covers two hundred and thirteen acres, two-thirds of which is coniferous, and was planted in 1864. The name 'Sloden' is derived from 'slough' and 'den', meaning a boggy valley.

Sloden Wood

One-third of Old Sloden's ninety-two acres lies on land once occupied by part of the mediaeval coppice reviewed by John Norden, James I's Surveyor of Woods in 1609. Sloden is a beautiful hillside wood of oak and holly with some whitebeams and a considerable number of yews, many of them dead from exposure to the prevailing wind.  It was once believed that a village existed here, destroyed by the Conqueror when he extended the Saxon "Ytene" to make his "Nova Foresta" but that theory has long since been discounted.  Undoubtedly, the Romano-British potters, who had several kilns hereabouts, must have had a settlement of sorts but that would have fallen into disuse with the decline of the New Forest pottery industry in the fifth century.

Slufters Inclosure

An  inclosure  of three hundred and sixty-one acres most of which is  coniferous. It was planted in  1862 but twenty years later the greater portion of  its young woodland was  destroyed by a heath fire which spread rapidly from the south-west. Many of the trees of the subsequent replanting were felled to provide boarding for the trenches during World War I

South Gorley

One of the many Avon Valley hamlets along the Forest's western boundary.  It was here at "Cuckoo Hill", a house overlooking Buckles Brook and the road to Ogdens, that Heywood Sumner, author, artist and archaeologist, lived until his death in 1945.  His knowledge of the Forest has been equalled by few, if any.

Splash Bridge

The small concrete bridge spans Dockens Water and carries a footpath from Broomy Inclosure to Hallickshole Hill.   'Splash' simply means a ford, of course.  An earlier wooden bridge crossed the stream at the same place the remains of which can be seen a few yards downstream.

Stoney Cross Airfield

This disused airfield, now in part a popular camping site, lies vetween Fritham and Stoney Cross.  It became operational in November 1942 with No. 38 Wing, Army Co-operation Command and early in 1943 became a fighter station with No. 239 Squadron flying Mustangs.  Two months later they were joined by the Hurricanes of 175 (Northern Rhodesia) Squadron which was to see service again in the New Forest at Holmsley South in 1944.  By the end of May both Squadrons had been posted elsewhere and until August, Stoney Cross remained virtually inactive when No. 297 Squadron arrived for exercises involving glider-towing and paratroop drops with the Airborne Division emcamped nearby.  In October, No. 299 Squadron also moved in and remained until early in the New Year. During the Spring and Summer of 1944 the Americans arrived, first the 367th Fighter Group and later the 387th Bomber Group of the U.S. Ninth Air Force.  By the autumn yet more changes saw the sudden arrival and depar ture of No. 38 Group's Heavy Glider Servicing Unit and No. 11 Group Fighter Command before the Station was taken over by No. 116 Wing, Transport Command.  This was to be the airfield's last change of administration before it ceased to be operational at the end of 1946. During those last two years three former fighter squadrons, No. 46, No. 232, and No. 242 (Canadian), the latter at one time led by the legendary Douglas Bader, all of which had converted to Wellingtons and Stirlings (and later Liberators) were deployed carrying troops between England and India.  By the end of 1947 Stoney Cross Airfield had been officially closed.

Studley Head

It is usually suggested that the name owes its origin to an association with horses and this might be so. Alternatively, it might be derived from "Sted-ley" a place set aside for pasture.  Studley Wood to the south is a small but very attractive hillside wood where the decaying Queen Beech (19 feet 4 inches in girth) can be found. Not far away to the west in Island Thorns Inclosure is Studley Castle, a Celtic enclosure of little under half an acre. Moss covered banks varying in height between two and four feet are all that remain as evidence.  The term 'Castle' is misleading and the enclosure is too small to have been a univallate fortress and was no doubt used as a pen for livestock.

Whitefield Plantation

An experimental acre of mature Scots pine near the tri-angulation point on the summit of Ibsley Common providing a landmark for many miles around.

Windmill Hill

This name is misleading. Locally, it is more often called Windsmore, i.e. an exposed pool, a good description of the pond which lies below the hill.