Cycling in the New Forest holiday cottages

Cycling in the New Forest

Content Team 19 July 2019

The New Forest is a great place to stay in a holiday cottage whilst you explore the vast area on your bike and is great for both casual cyclists and those looking to take part in an event or a sportive. Many visitors are choosing to leave their car at home, whilst others only use it to get them to the New Forest in order to transport their bikes and other essentials. Some are even arriving via public transport. The New Forest is well connected to all of the major towns and cities in the south by the national rail network.

Our New Forest cottages are perfect for cycling holidays, with many cycle rides waiting to be taken on straight from the doorstep.

Before your bike ride

There’s a large choice of trails to choose from for cyclists to enjoy across the whole of the National Park.

We hope you find our small selection of New Forest cycle routes useful and inspiring. You’ll travel through a good diversity of landscapes on each of them. They vary in length and ease of completion. Why not hire a bike for the course of your trip?

New Forest cycle routes

Hawkhill Trail 

This cycle trail is completely free of roads and traffic. The ride is close to our Beaulieu cottages and begins at Round Hill Campsite. This bike trail passes through some of the most interesting features of Beaulieu Airfield with some very visible evidence of its Second World War past. The trek also cuts through some attractive deep forest areas. It also takes in New Copse Railway Cottage, Pignall and Parkhill Inclosures, Denny Wood, Hawkhill Inclosure, and the haunting Beaulieu airfield and hangars.

The Beaulieu area is predominantly wooded and beautifully typical of the best of the New Forest. As much of the ride is shaded, it's great for hot days. It's reasonably lengthy for beginners but utterly worth the extra effort. You can reward yourselves with a 'slap-up' dinner in one of the many New Forest gastro-pubs. Read our guide to Beaulieu for even more tips on what to do in this pretty village.

  • Distance - 9 miles
  • Difficulty - easy

Why not stay at The Saddlery in Beaulieu, an inviting prospect for six guests? 

The Saddlery in Beaulieu

Rhinefield Ornamental Woodland Ride 

Ride along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, one of the must-visit sites of the New Forest, to see the National Park's tallest and most ornate trees. This trail originates in Brockenhurst and takes in a deer sanctuary, a ford, the Rhinefield House Hotel, and Black Knoll. The route takes you across an area of the National Park rich in wild beauty. The trail is mainly made up of gravel off-road by-ways with fantastic views of the New Forest's unique landscapes.

Out of the handful of recommended rides, this is the longest and most unusual. It's well shaded for summer riding and mostly made up of low gradients. The cycle trail benefits from starting and ending in Brockenhurst, a local transport hub which has lots of restaurants and pubs to imbibe some local ales in, and also plenty of places to stock up for a picnic during the ride.

  • Distance - 11 miles
  • Difficulty - medium to moderate

Brookley Cottage is a lovely home-from-home in Brockenhurst and a superb choice for keen cyclists. 

Brookley Cottage

Burley Circular 

Burley is a beautiful underhill village on the western side of the New Forest. This circular route starts out at the Lucy Hill Car Park. The lollipop-shaped cycle ride passes Blackwater, Burley Old Inclosure, Cockroad Hill, Dames Slough Inclosure, and Anderwood Cottage.

You are likely to encounter fallow deer in the ancient woodlands. The variety of species of trees and birds along this trail is reason enough to take your time and enjoy the quiet of the countryside. Look out the forest ponies too on your way through. Burley is a good place to stock up on supplies and it also has some inviting pubs and eateries in the village centre. The bike trail is heavily wooded with some elevation giving eye-catching views of the New Forest at its grandest. Burley is a lovely place to stay - read our guide to the village here.

  • Distance - 6 miles
  • Difficulty - medium

Find the complete route details here.

If you choose Burley as your New Forest holiday destination, consider a stay at the cosy Bumble Bee Cottage.

Bumble Bee Cottage

Lepe and Exbury loop 

This pleasant circular trail starts in Inchberry Lane in Lepe and takes in Exbury, East End Farm, Langley, Mope Farm, and Badminston Common. 60% of the trail is on minor country lanes.

Lepe Country Park

This cycling route is perfect for exploring a quieter, lesser-known pocket of the New Forest. You ride through light woodlands, farmland and big sky country as you venture along the gorgeous English country lanes. Take a picnic, because amenities are scarce on this trail. You are also close to Exbury Country Park and Lepe Beach for worthwhile pit stops and diversions.

  • Distance - 9 miles
  • Difficulty - medium

Find the complete route details here.

This great property, Danny's Cottage, is within cycling distance of Lepe and Exbury. A wonderful, cosy New Forest spot for a beautiful holiday.

danny's cottage

Fritham Woodland Ride 

This figure of eight-shaped cycle trail is in the north of the New Forest. There are some long stretches of uphill riding on this ride but the landscape views are worth all the effort. The circuit includes Linwood Inclosure, King Garn’s Gutter, Salisbury Trench, and the Coppice of Linwood. The Gorley and Linwood  area is populated with coniferous trees managed by the Forestry Commission. Find the complete route details here.

  • Distance - 4 miles
  • Difficulty - medium 

Stay at this gorgeous holiday home, Jenny Wrens in nearby Gorley, during your cycling break in the New Forest.

Jenny Wrens

New Forest bike hire shops

You'll find bicycles of all kinds to hire at these New Forest bike hire shops, from road bikes to mountain bikes.

New Forest cycle code

The Cycle Code should be adhered to by all cyclists in the New Forest.

  • Keep to the way-marked tracks
  • Slow down and call out a warning when approaching other forest users
  • Take extra care when nearing horse riders
  • Avoid disturbing the ponies, cattle or other wildlife. Go slowly and give them space
  • Keep well away from any forest works
  • Do not pass any vehicle loading timber until you have been told it is safe to do so
  • Plan your route and buy an area map. Aim to be off the trails by dusk

If you prefer the steadier pace of a tranquil stroll, check out our recommended New Forest walks. There's so much to do across the region so if you need some inspiration for some outdoor activities, visit our helpful New Forest activities guide.

Disclaimer: Whilst every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of the information at the time of writing, please ensure you check carefully before making any decisions based on the contents within this article.

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