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Railways of the Forest
DISTANCE: 12 miles
MAP: Outdoor Leisure 22 - The New Forest
START: A choice of three car parks. Setley Pond at 302992, take the third turning right after leaving Brockenhurst railway station on the road to Lymington. The pond is just along the road to the left. Or try Wilverley Inclosure car park at 254011 or Wootton Bridge at 251998. For a full page road map showing the start point of Setley Pond.

THE WALK: Leave Setley Pond by joining the track running parallel to the car park track you drove in on. It bears slightly away from the car park track to reach the minor road. Cross the road. Ahead of you there are two paths, one running fairly straight on, and on the left a few yards, another forking left. Take this one. Continue along this path in the same general direction across the heath until you see a cottage slightly below you. The path takes you past this cottage to a road.
Turn left and pass under the railway bridge and then turn right onto a gravel track signposted 'Caters Cottage'. Follow this track under another railway bridge. Continue along the track until you reach White Cottage. Here bear left onto the old railway track. Continue along here until you reach and possibly hear an electricity substation on your right. come off the railway track and turn right onto the gravel track that runs by the substation. Pass by low lying land and then climb up into deciduous trees ahead.
At the top of the hill look for a track leading away to your left. Follow this through the woods keeping in the same general direction. When exiting the trees bear right and follow the line of the wood until the trees swing away to your right. here take the left-hand track and follow it in the same general direction along the top of the ridge. The green valley of Longslade Bottom should be on your left, with a smaller valley and road on your right. ahead you can see the tall trees of Wilverley Inclosure.
When the path splits into three tracks ahead, take the right-hand choice and follow this track to reach the road which has been coming in from the right. cross it and carry on ahead to the wide grassy expanse of Wilverley Plain. Bear left and walk up the valley to a car park at the top of the hill, passing Wilverley Pitt car park to your left on the way. Turn left at Wilverley Inclosure and look out for a wooden cabin toilet just after passing an information board. Go through the gate and follow the path past the toilets to reach Wilverley Inclosure car park.
Turn left out of the Inclosure and then turn right. the path follows the fence line of the Inclosure before bearing away from it to pass in front of a house and then descends with the road on the left. Cross the road just before a junction and further descend the hill to reach Wootton Bridge car park by the stream at the bottom.
Cross the stream and then turn off the road onto a gravel track on the left. Pass through a gate into Broadley Inclosure. At the first cross roads of tracks (the right hand track seems less well used, but forwards and left is gravelly) turn left. Keep following the track until it takes you to the edge of the Inclosure at gate which leads you through onto heath land. Ascend the hill ahead and when nearing the top turn left onto a gravel track which leads you downwards to reach a bridge at Wootton Stream. Cross the stream and take the path on the right which follows the line of the Inclosure fence. When the Inclosure fence swings away to the left, the path you are on ascends sharply to a road with a sign for Sway and a cattle grid on the right.
Cross the road and carry on ahead on the grassy track. Go down and up the sides of a small valley. When nearing the top of the climb, look out for a track on the right. follow this as it occasionally twists and turns but maintains its general direction. The path eventually reaches a bridge over a railway track. Cross the railway and walk down to the road ahead.
You now want to cross the road and continue in the same direction as before, with some playing fields on the right. if you find you are a bit to the left of the playing fields when you cross the road, make the small detour to put yourself on the right track.
Ensuring the playing fields are on the right, pass those whilst generally following the line of the electricity poles until they swing away to the left. The path you are on continues downhill to reach a minor road to skirt a boggy area. It immediately veers back away from the road to climb the hill and stay parallel to the road. Follow the path until you see a sign for Shirley Holms car park. Cross the road, enter the car park and walk through and up the bank opposite the entrance.
Turn left onto a track which eventually leads you in front of a house. Upon reaching a small lane. Turn left and follow the lane down to a minor road with a railway bridge to the right. Cross the road and follow the track opposite until you reach an open area of forest past the houses. Turn right here to cross a bridge over the railway. Stay with the forest boundary keeping the gardens and houses on the right until you come to a gate marked 'Widden Close', her turn left on the track and continue back to Setley Pond.


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