Walking

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

The New Forest National Park in Hampshire covers an area of 566km2, comprising ancient woodland, heathland and coast. With so much opportunity for exploration, it can be hard to know where to get started, but one place you should definitely make time for is the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary.

Among its leaf-decked branches and bushy thickets, the New Forest National Park is home to a vast array of wildlife, from iridescent beetles to flitting birds to enchanting fallow deer. That said, it’s not always easy to catch sight of the furry and feathered residents of the forest who shyly blend into their surrounds, unseen by the untrained eye. That’s where the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary comes in. 

Located in the heart of the New Forest, the family and dog-friendly Bolderwood offers visitors a chance to see some of the amazing fallow deer who live within the park. A protected sanctuary, it is looked after by rangers and is home to a purpose-built platform overlooking one of the largest meadows regularly visited by the deer. Offering a breath-taking escape amongst giant Douglas firs and redwoods as well as a unique wildlife experience, it is a must-visit for nature-lovers and outdoor-enthusiasts of all ages. 

Although seeing the deer isn’t guaranteed (these are wild animals after all), some of the best times to visit the sanctuary are between April and September. Between 12.30 and 2.30pm each day during these months, park rangers visit the meadow with food for the deer. Standing atop the platform, you can watch the rangers dish out grub to the curious deer waiting nearby and snap some pictures of these usually timid animals out in the open. If you’re worried about timing your visit to see the action, the platform is only a short walk from the car park and there is an information board available on site too.

A great way to make the most out of your visit, Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary also boasts a large, designated picnic area amongst the trees and a grassy area next to the car park ideal for games of football and catch. Some of the picnic tables can accommodate disposable BBQs, but if you feel like working up an appetite before you get the sausages sizzling, there are three circular signposted walks which you can choose from first. Each comprising compact gravel tracks, the walks wind through towering trees and are wheelchair and pushchair friendly.

Feeling inspired? Take a look at our luxury cottages in the New Forest here.

Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive, Hampshire SO43 7GQ | 0300 067 4601 | www.forestryengland.uk/bolderwood

 

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