So many of our guests ask us "where do you go at weekends?"
Well, we do try to visit new places frequently so that we can share our experiences, but we do also have some favourite regular places and activities. Bike riding is one of them and I thought it was about time I wrote down our most regular route.
Starting from Acorns of Lyndhurst B&B we head left down the one way system (Shrubbs Hill) to the forks at the bottom, which is called Goose Green, cross over the green to the Brockenhurst road (A337). A couple of 100 yards along on the left you come to Beechen Lane with the Mid Forest Vets on the corner, cycle down there to the gated end. There are 3 gates, the first (left) heads back towards Lyndhurst via the Beaulieu Road. The 3rd (right) goes to the Crown Stirrup pub on Clay Hill and the middle gate takes you on the official cycle track to Brockenhurst.
In this blog we are taking the middle gate & this is a circular route ending back in Lyndhurst High Street which if you just cycled it without stopping its about an hour & a half cycle (with children). Obviously if you choose the pub crawl version it takes as long as it takes you to visit each of the pubs, and no we don't actually visit all of them. The whole thing is about 10 miles but when you have all day it's easy, even the kids do it. Remember to keep looking around you to enjoy the beautiful scenery and you should definitely see ponies but maybe even deer & in the Autumn some pigs.
This part of the route is all within beautiful broad leaf forest and its all clean gravel cycle tracks. So following this fairly straight bit of cycle track (that does have a couple of hills) to the end, there is a gate on the right hand side - post no. 281. Go down the hill to post 283 then it pretty much levels out through posts 285, 286, 287 & 289. By now you should be at Standing Hat car park. Its down hill again for a bit then it flattens out at the back of Hollands Wood camp site & the Balmer Lawn Hotel. Once you reach the tarmac road, turn right and you will end up at the A337 by the river where on a sunny day everyone stops for a picnic and a paddle.
When your ready you need to turn left over the bridge and continue into Brockenhurst. The first pub stop along this road is The Hunstman (previously the Rose & Crown) they have a beautiful garden and they serve food all day long. The next pub along is the Snakecatcher & again they serve food all day but their garden isn't quite as pretty. Then if you want to squeeze another pub in there is The Foresters which is just behind the cycle hire shop on Brookley Road.
Once you have had enough drinks here you need to start to slowly make your way back home. First head back along the A337 a little bit, to Meerut Lane, it's just after Carey's Manor on the left hand side. Follow this road round past the Cloud Hotel and just before you reach the junction with Rhinefield Road you will see a sandy walking track on the right with a low gate in front. Take this; it cuts across the open meadow past the allotments & leads straight to the other cycle track starting at post no.262. There is a wooden bridge over the river and this is another peaceful place where people stop to enjoy the water, the kids & dogs in particular.
Then continue on through the gate on the other side and take the track veering off to the left - post no.260. This part is also through broad leaf forest and it goes round the back of New Park. Continue along this track through post no. 258 & 257, after that gate you will start to climb a very, very, long, hard hill - it is a killer but when you make it to the top, it feels amazing.
Now you really do deserve another drink and thankfully there is a lovely pub just down the hill in Bank.
Coming out of the gate at the top of that awful hill you join Pinkney Lane, head left follow it all the way down until you see the The Oak pub on the left.
Take as long as you like here it is a lovely place and they too serve food all day. Eventually you need to continue along that road until it joins the A35 Christchurch Road. You need to cross over here and get on the footpath heading right, back towards Lyndhurst. Unfortunately there is another steep hill to climb but it is the penultimate one. At the bottom on the right hand side you'll see The Swan pub. They have a good size garden with a kids play area but it is roadside so can get noisy.
Nearly done now as your already on the edge of Lyndhurst. Cross over to the pavement on the other side as its safer and head right up the final hill and into Lyndhurst High Street. It's up to you now how many more pub stops you make but the first one is the Crown Hotel. We normally go straight onto The Fox & Hounds, who have a lovely big patio area and quite often entertainment. Then carrying on further you have The Workmens Club, The Stag Hotel and right at the bottom The Mailmans.
There are a few variations you can do to this route but it gives you a good idea of what you can do on a nice day in the forest. If you give it a go - I hope you enjoy it as much as we do and we will look forward to hearing about it when you get back; either to us or by reading your comments on my blog. If you need to hire a bike dont worry, our friends at The Woods Cyclery will be more than happy to help.