New Forest Walking and Cycling Festival: discover a unique freshwater landscape

10th October 2022

Freshwater Habitats Trust is inviting people of all ages to discover the New Forest’s internationally-significant freshwater wildlife during the New Forest Walking and Cycling Festival 2022.

The national conservation charity is running three guided walks, one each week of the popular festival, which is organised by the New Forest National Park Authority and is now in its 10th year.

Walk on the waterside (25 October 14.30-16.30)

This walk is aimed at families, with information and activities about the New Forest wetlands. The walk will pass through the woods, across the bumpy lawn, over streams and around an important wildlife pond. Take part in games and activities and look out for wetland plants and some of the creatures that live in the water.

The walk is 1.75 miles and should take about two hours with activity stops. The walk is over uneven surfaces so is unsuitable for those with mobility issues. Footwear with ankle support should be worn if possible.

Meet at the green space next to Standing Hat car park. This location is accessible by public transport by getting the bus or train to Brockenhurst and then walking to the meeting point.


Wonderful Wetland Walk (18 October 16.00-18.00 and 1 November 10.00-12.00)

This walk is aimed at people who want to learn more about the New Forest’s freshwater habitats. The walk will take you on a journey through mire, woodland and heathland, where we will see some of the New Forest’s wonderful wetland plants and discuss the special qualities of the Forest.

The walk is 2.7 miles and should take roughly two hours with stops for talking and looking at plants. The walk is on flat paths, which may have debris on them in the woods but should be otherwise clear. Some areas can be muddy and there are serval puddles on the path after rain so please wear footwear that is appropriate for these conditions.

Meet at the car park on other side of to the railway bridge from The Drift Pub. This location is accessible by taking the train or bus to Beaulieu road station.

Freshwater Habitats Trust Project Officer Thea Margetts said: “Every year, thousands of people are drawn to the New Forest because of its beautiful landscapes. However, not many are aware of the fact that the New Forest is an internationally-significant landscape for freshwater wildlife. The Forest is home to many rare plants and animals, which have been lost from much of the rest of the country.

“The New Forest’s streams, ponds, wetlands, lakes, rivers and ditches create a network that supports freshwater wildlife. The healthy functioning of this network is essential for biodiversity and our own health and wellbeing.

“These walks are an opportunity to discover a different side of the Forest and the work of Freshwater Habitats Trust and others to protect it.”

Book your place

To book your free place on either walk, please email

When booking please include the name and date of the walk, your name and the number of people within your group.

Freshwater Habitats Trust is co-host of the New Forest catchment partnership and promotes the sustainable enjoyment of the New Forest through its Wilder for Water campaign.