WALKERS can discover five new walking routes steeped in history and folklore in the New Forest.

The routes have been launched by the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) and are the result of years of research.

They have been brought to life by specially-commissioned reconstruction drawings, dramatisations and folk songs.

All five walks take in established rights of way and are as follows:

1. Stuckton Iron Works, Fordingbridge

Journey through a working landscape and learn of heavy industry, riots and smuggling

Salisbury Journal:

PICTURE: Reconstruction of riots at Stuckton Iron Works. Copyright Wessex Archaeology, Jennie Anderson

2. Rockford Common

Discover ancient oaks and wildlife as you walk through open healthland grazed by free-roaming ponies.

3. Carters Lane, Marchwood

Travel back to a time of large estates and wealthy landowners who supported the community by building schools and churches.

4. Lepe to Fawley

Learn about the role the New Forest played in D-Day preparations and view the remains of World War Two military installations.

5. Tatchbury Mount

Walk around an Iron Age hillfort and along some of the New Forest’s oldest pathways.

Salisbury Journal:

PICTURE: An artist’s impression of a track at Tatchbury in use during Medieval times. Copyright Wessex Archaeology, by Jennie Anderson

The walks were researched by the NPA’s archaeology team with the help of volunteers during the National Lottery-funded Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme.

Historic maps dating back to 1759 were analysed and the team researched 700 current rights of way, in 37 parishes. Almost 260 walking surveys were conducted.

The routes feature on the NPA’s website, along with old photographs, maps and three dramatisations recorded by professional storytellers.

Salisbury Journal:

PICTURE: An artist’s impression of what the 7th Century Anglo Saxon hamlet of Hangra may have looked like. Image - New Forest National Park Authority, illustration by Alan Duncan

Six folks songs connected to the history on the walks have been produced by Coda Music Trust and researched and performed by Chris Hopgood of The Folk Orc.

NPA archaeologist Gareth Owen said: “These walks take you to some beautiful places in the New Forest and along the way you can discover some of the rich history that adds to why the National Park is such a special place.

"Our volunteers have done an amazing job discovering all this history along these old routes, that are now rights of way."

Visit: newforestnpa.gov.uk/historicroutes


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