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Explore West Walk
(Average user rating: 5 unrated 4.1/5)

West Walk is an ideal wood for a complete day out for all the family with walking trails, cycling, picnic spots and adventure play areas. 
West Walk at 350 hectares is the largest remaining fragment of the former Forest of Bere.

This site has been awarded a CLOtC Site Provider Award. The Council for Learning Outside the Classroom (CLOtC) is the national voice for learning outside the classroom. This award recognises organisations which actively welcome schools onto their site/s for self-led visits and ensure that the sites and any other services provided meet the needs of schools. For more information, please visit www.forestry.gov.uk/england-learning.

Discovery Pass

If you are a regular visitor to the forest you could soon make a saving on car parking with our annual parking pass - the Discovery Pass.
Support your local forest, get car parking for a year, local and national discount offers and a seasonal e-newsletter.

Walking and cycling

There are two way marked walking trails and plenty of natural paths to help you discover West Walk on foot or by bike.

Adventure play

Children will have great fun in the adventure play area with its large oak tree house, wooden playhouses, wigwams, sand pit, climbing wall, bridge and shingle stream.

Barbeques

There are two BBQs available for hire with prior booking only. Please contact us on 0300 067 4645 to check availability and to make a booking.

Catering

The Great Big Food Company is now operating in West Walk car park.
Open 9am to 5pm (weather permitting) at weekends during October - May and 7 days a week during June - September. They offer hot and cold drinks, ice creams, snacks and sandwiches. Click here for more details and opening times.

What do other visitors say?

1 Star 1 Star

I trust that the workers (be they forestry commission or contractors) who have been "clearing" trees in the south and east of the west walk/bere forest area will return and remove the various saplings, bushes, branches that they've run over and just left lying in the (now) heavily rutted tracks through the woods. I've seen many forestry/coppicing activities and have to say that this one is very poor - and has le the ground in a deadful state through the use of heavy machinery. It would be perhaps be more in tune with the woods if the Forestry Commission used some imagination and also used heavy horses for some of is work. Causes a lot less damage. (and don't get me started on the state of the old railway line - what a disaster).

John Doe , 14/May/2015

Thank you for your comments. The work at West Walk is part of a thinning contract which is not complete as yet. Operations like this are planned months in advance but can be affected by the weather when the work starts. Despite a period of dry weather before the work started, the level of ground disturbance being caused was excessive and this is one of the reasons why work has been halted for the time being. The smaller trees and branch wood that have been left lying in the cut racks will in most cases be left on site to decay, as is normal practice. This provides important nutrients and valuable habitat for fungi and insects and hence food for birds. Ruts on tracks and paths will also be repaired when work is nearing completion. The Forestry Commission do use horse logging where appropriate but there are few active horse loggers to call on, and so their use would normally be restricted to very sensitive sites. The Meon Valley Trail along the old railway line passes through our woodland but we neither own nor manage any sections of the trail so we are unable to comment on the works that have recently been carried out.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We visited on on a lovely Easter Monday but had to park in the road outside as nowhere near enough parking (though some people had parked very inconsiderately with unnecessarily big spaces between them and the next car).

Anonymous, 6/Apr/2015

We'd like to remind all visitors to park sensibly in our car parks to ensure we can accommodate as many cars as possible.

Forestry Commission Response
4 Stars 4 Stars

We had a great time with our pre-schoolers making dens and exploring. However, the litter is getting out of hand in the children's play area. I realise people are supposed to take their litter home to recycle and bins are expensive to service but NO BINS in such a publicly used site? It will just make an excuse for people to continue to litter as they clearly have been doing.

Pema Brunet, 1/Apr/2015

Thank you for your comments. We are sorry if litter spoilt your enjoyment of the site. We normally litter pick 2-3 times daily at busy periods, but even then it can be hard to keep up when the weather is good. We do ask that people take their litter home with them, partly because it is expensive to provide and service bins, and partly to encourage home recycling. There is also the difficulty of preventing the local wildlife emptying the bins and adding to the litter problem, and of discarded disposable barbecues setting the bins alight. We do constantly review the way we manage our sites, and we will monitor the levels of litter over the next few weeks to see if we should implement any changes.

Forestry Commission Response
More user comments

Please tell us about your visit

Please email us at southern.permissions@forestry.gsi.gov.uk if you have an enquiry or would like a reply to your comments.

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What's Here?

  • Dogs on lead
  • Picnic
  • Toliets
  • Barbeque
  • The two BBQs are available for hire with prior booking only. Please contact us on 02380 283141 to check availability and to make a booking.
  • Cycling
  • Cycling in the forest is informal (no marked route). Cyclists may use any track they deem suitable for their bikes ability and themselves. Surfaces can be very muddy in the winter.
  • Horse riding
  • Horse riding is by permit only and is informal (no marked route). Riders may use any track that they feel is suitable for the ability of their horse and themselves. It is recommended that riders new to the forest take the map supplied with the permit when entering the forest. Surfaces can be muddy in the winter. Carriage driving is possible with permission. To apply for a riding permit please contact TROT on 01622 735599.
  • Parking (chargeable)
  • Parking charges are up to 2 hours 1.80, 2 to 4 hours 3.50 and over 4 hours 5.00.
  • Play area
  • The new natural forest playground was opened in time for half term. Suitable for children and young people of all ages, it has a huge oak tree house, wooden playhouses, wigwams, sand pit, climbing wall, bridge and shingle stream. Please supervise children at all times and remember that dogs are not permitted in the play areas.
  • Walking
  • The Old Oak Trail is not surfaced and is not suitable for pushchairs or wheelchairs. In wet weather the trail will become muddy and suitable footwear should be worn. Guide maps are available in the car park.
More about what's here

Location

OS Grid ref: SU597122
Postcode: PO17 6JD

Get directions

Contact

Southern Permissions

0300 067 4601
southern.permissions@­forestry.gsi.gov.uk

Opening & Parking

Opening Times:
Gates open at 8am and close at dusk (please check on site signs for exact times).
Parking
Parking charges are up to 2 hours 1.80, 2 to 4 hours 3.50 and over 4 hours 5.00.

Related documents

Useful sites

Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification certifiedForest Stewardship Council certified