If I had to pick only one cycle ride in the New Forest, the Burley Loop Cycle Ride would be the one. At 10.7 miles, it is certainly not the longest. However there is a lot packed into these miles. Most of the ride is on double track gravel trail. However there is some road cycling involved.
Starting from the centre of Burley turn left at The Queens Head pub. Follow Chapel Lane with the splendid view on your left of the Burley Manor Hotel and Burley Park with it’s ancient pollarded oaks. A chance to spot the deer too.
Follow the road past Forest Road before reaching Woods Corner. You could always start and end your cycle ride from here. But there is cycle hire available from Forest Leisure in Burley if you prefer not to bring your own cycles.
After closing the gate you follow the gravel trail up towards Bolderwood.
The holly hats
Some of the hills are a little tough. But there is no harm pushing and enjoying the scenery. The toughest part is as you approach Bolderwood. Look out for the ancient clumps of holly trees, “holly holms” also known as “holly hats”. This is a sign that you have nearly reached Bolderwood! These mushroom shaped holly trees have been sculpted by hungry mouths in the winter; creating the ‘browse line’. This hanging brim marks the edge at which the deer and ponies necks can no longer reach.
Well done. You deserve a break. So after visiting the Canadian War Memorial, a poignant reminder of how the New Forest was turned into a ‘big army camp’ during the second world war. You can then proceed on the road towards Bolderwood. A chance to picnic, enjoy an ice cream, visit the lavatory and also enjoy a walk. You could even have a look at the Deer Sanctuary. Proceeding down through Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive enjoying the stunning trees and fast swooping downhill sections. (Be careful, the road is very narrow!). You will see a trail on your right after 1.7 miles. Follow it and it will take you back to Woods Corner and then follow the road back to Burley.
Burley Loop Map
Download the map, and gpx route from View Ranger.
For extra Brownie points…
However you could carry on a little bit further to see the Knightwood Oak or further still crossing the busy A35 and explore Rhinefield, with the tallest trees in the Forest and the grand Rhinefield House Hotel. See our full Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive cycle ride video.