Top spots for walks in Hampshire this spring

Top spots for walks in Hampshire this spring

I love this time of year. It feels like all around nature is yawning and stretching after a deep winter sleep. I just want to be outside to catch a bit of vitamin D, even if the sun is low and I still need to wrap up in a big coat. It’s time to dig out my walking shoes.

Short or long, brisk or leisurely, we all know that a good walk surrounded by nature is a balm for both mind and body.

But when the world is still waking, and leaves are still just little buds on branches, where are the best places to go? Where can you see the best of the season? All good questions for a springtime explorer. For me, the star attractions are the trees in blossom, the flowering hedgerows and bluebells as far as the eye can see. I quite like searching for Wild Garlic to eat too (check for insects first!). 

There are so many spring flowers to enjoy that will be gone by summer. For these treats you should head to woodlands. With this is mind, here are my top picks for springtime walks in Hampshire: 

North Hampshire: Herbert Plantation, near Burghclere 

The woodland was originally part of the Adbury Park Estate and is named after Herbert Fox, who owned the estate. It’s an ancient woodland of oak, birch, alder and pine and has rare plants that thrive in this environment. Among them are common Solomon’s seal, Wood Anemone and Wood-sorrel, all flowering in spring. If you’re lucky and have a keen eye, you might spot roe and muntjac deer or long-eared bats living in the woods. 

South Hampshire: River Hamble Country Park, near Southampton 

River Hamble is a great spot to find those bluebells. Keen birdwatchers should look out for curlews along the river and skylarks in the fields. This is a great place to go with children because you can do a bit of crabbing off the pontoon and visit Manor Farm.  

East Hampshire: Ashford Hangers National Nature Reserve, north of Portsmouth

This is a woodland of beech, ash and yew on steep chalk hillsides, with areas of chalk grassland and a treasure trove of rare plants. The nickname for this area is “Little Switzerland” because of its fantastic scenery. The name ‘hanger’ comes from the Old English ‘hangra’ meaning a wooded slope.  Access can be tricky, but there’s a network of footpaths and tracks that walkers use.

West/Central Hampshire: Crab Wood, near Winchester

Crab Wood is a local nature reserve. It’s an ancient woodland and a wonderful place for walking and viewing the wildlife. Quite a few paths are suitable for pushchairs. You’ll find a hazel coppice, spring flowers and bluebells (of course!). 

 

 

These are just a few of my favourite places to visit in the spring. There are lots of other beautiful locations in Hampshire and you can find details on our website’s walking page. Where are your favourite springtime Hampshire walks? You can share your suggestions on our Facebook page

 

Love Carly x