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The White Hart and Shave Wood

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The White Hart and Shave Wood
Author: Pub Walker, Published: 08 Feb 2014 Walk rating : Rating:star1 The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walkstar1 The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walkstar1 The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walkstar1 The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walkstar0 The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walk
Hampshire, Cadnam
Walk Type: Woodland
The White Hart and Shave Wood
Length: 5 miles,  Difficulty: boot The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walk boot The White Hart and Shave Wood Pub Walk
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A 5 mile circular pub walk from The White Hart in Cadnam, Hampshire in the New Forest. The White Hart is a traditional country pub with a buzzy, chatty and civilised atmosphere. The walking route heads south through the heart of Shave Wood to reach the nearby village of Minstead where you’ll have chance to visit the final resting place of Sherlock Holmes’ creator, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Within the forest, there are also plenty of opportunities to see the beautiful New Forest ponies.

The route has several gentle climbs and descents throughout. The paths through the woodland are all unmade and can get quite muddy after periods of rain so waterproof boots are recommended. There are no stiles on route, just a few gates and kissing gates to negotiate. You will be sharing the woodland paths with New Forest ponies so take care with dogs. There are a couple of sections walking along lanes so take care of any traffic. As the New Forest is open access land, there are no signed paths within the woodland meaning navigation can prove quite tricky. As such, it will be easiest to follow this route on the Android or iPhone App, where you can use the live GPS map to guide you. Approximate time 2 to 2.5 hours.

Cadnam is located alongside Junction 1 of the M27, where the M27 ends and becomes the A31. The walk starts and finishes at The White Hart pub on Old Romsey Road, which has its own car park. Heading south-west on the M27, leave at Junction 1 and turn left at the roundabout signed to Cadnam. Turn left at the next roundabout (onto Old Romsey Road) and you’ll find The White Hart on the left-hand side. Approximate post code SO40 2NP.

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Walk Sections

Start to A337
Start to A337

Start point: 50.9218 lat, -1.5809 long
End point: 50.9158 lat, -1.5823 long

Standing with your back to the pub, leave the car park (via the left-hand of the two exits) and cross over to take White Hart Lane directly opposite. At the end, where the lane bends hard left, turn right and keep ahead onto a narrow tarmac path which leads you to a T-junction with the main road. Cross over with care and take the lane directly opposite, Old Cross Road.

Pass through the gate alongside the cattle grid and go straight ahead, between bollards, to join the path heading directly into the forest. From this point onwards, you may come across some of the New Forest ponies so take care with dogs.

Ponies have grazed in the area of the New Forest for many thousands of years and today there are more than 4,000 ponies grazing across the area. Every pony is owned by a local, or commoner, but they live freely within the forest, only being rounded up once a year for health checks and sales.

After a little distance you’ll emerge to a quiet tarmac lane. Cross over and take the path directly opposite, beyond the vehicle barrier. This path will lead you to an arrangement of gates alongside the A337. Pass through the enlarged kissing gate to reach the grass verge alongside the road.

A337 to London Minstead
A337 to London Minstead

Start point: 50.9158 lat, -1.5823 long
End point: 50.9046 lat, -1.5944 long

Cross over, taking proper care as this is a busy stretch of road, and take the gravel lane opposite (to the right of a cottage). Pass through the kissing gate and keep ahead on the wide gravel track heading into the heart of this next section of forest, Shave Wood. Immediately before you reach the gate across the path, fork left onto the slightly narrower path with a fenced enclosure to the right.

You will cross a small bridge and the fence on the right ends, keep straight ahead here. A little further along you’ll reach an obvious fork, take the right hand path. Shortly you’ll reach a second fork, this time keep left.

From this point, the path becomes a little indistinct. Follow the path as best you can for some distance, which broadly is straight, although you are likely to need to make small detours around old (or more recent!) fallen trees.

If you’ve managed to stay on the right path, you will emerge to the corner of the London Minstead road, with the access track to Suters Cottage immediately on your right. (If, instead, you emerge to a T-junction with the gravel access track for the cottage, just turn left along this track to reach the road junction and then turn right to face the road into Minstead village).

London Minstead to Minstead Church
London Minstead to Minstead Church

Start point: 50.9046 lat, -1.5944 long
End point: 50.8971 lat, -1.6017 long

Go ahead on the branch of London Minstead road, passing the 30mph sign for Minstead, taking care of any traffic. Pass a couple of properties on the right and continue as the road climbs and leads you between a number of properties within London Minstead.

After the brow of the hill, turn left onto Bull Lane, immediately before Yew Tree Cottage. After passing the post box on the right, turn right through a wooden kissing gate to join the signed footpath running between hedgerows. The path passes through another kissing gate, down a couple of steps and then swings left to lead you out to a road.

Turn right along the road (taking care of traffic) and you will reach a T-junction, with the aptly named Wisteria Cottage opposite. Turn left and then immediately right, with the village green and its stocks now on the left. At the top of the slope you’ll reach All Saints Church in Minstead.

Minstead Church to Seaman's Corner
Minstead Church to Seaman's Corner

Start point: 50.8971 lat, -1.6017 long
End point: 50.9043 lat, -1.6059 long

All Saints Church is an interesting building with the chancel and nave dating from the 1200s and the rest of the building created in red brick added in the 1700s and 1800s. Inside the building is just as interesting, with a 12th century font and a ‘luxury’ pew which comes complete with its own fireplace.

The church is most well-known for being the final resting place of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Doyle is famous for his fictional stories about the detective Sherlock Holmes. If you wish to visit his grave, walk to the left of the church and all the way to the back of the church yard. The grave is just to the right of the large oak tree. When we visited, the grave stone was adorned with a pipe, perhaps suggesting a recent visit from the famous detective himself.

When you are ready to continue, retrace your steps back down the slope to the village green. Turn left along the main road (taking care of traffic) and you will pass Wisteria Cottage on the left. As the road starts to climb you can join the stone footpath which runs immediately to the right of the road.

The path merges again with the road, continue ahead passing between many thatched cottages within Minstead. After passing Minstead Hall on the left, follow the road continuing to climb and you’ll emerge to the road junction known as Seaman’s Corner.

Seaman's Corner to Crossroads
Seaman's Corner to Crossroads

Start point: 50.9043 lat, -1.6059 long
End point: 50.911 lat, -1.5972 long

Take the right-hand fork here, the no through road signed as ‘No Access to A31’, passing the property called Little Orchard on the right. Follow the tarmac lane into the forest, passing a couple more properties on the right.

From this point, the navigation becomes a little more difficult, so pay close attention to the instructions. Cross over the bridge across the stream and continue for about 70 metres. Look for a subtle junction, with a small clearing on the left and two paths into the forest on the right. Take the second of the paths to the right, heading at about 2 o’clock. The indistinct path swings right, then left and then right again.

The path winds ahead, then keep left at a fairly obvious fork. When possible, veer left (off the path) through the trees and you should emerge out to a small clearing with the wire fence of the forest enclosure at the back of this. Make your way to the fence and turn right through the woodland, following the fenced enclosure to the left. After a little distance you should come to a gate within the fence on the left – congratulations, the trickiest navigation is now behind you!

Pass through the gate and follow the grass track ahead. Stay on the main track heading steadily downhill (ignoring a track and then a path off to the right). The main track then swings left and climbs to reach a major crossroads of tracks within the forest.

Crossroads to End
Crossroads to End

Start point: 50.911 lat, -1.5972 long
End point: 50.9218 lat, -1.5808 long

Turn right along the major track, a long straight track which will lead you all the way out of Shave Wood.

The New Forest was created as a royal forest by William I in about 1079 for the royal hunt. Forest Laws were enacted to preserve the New Forest as a location for royal deer hunting, and interference with the King's deer and its forage was punished. But the inhabitants of the area (commoners) had pre-existing rights of common, to turn horses and cattle out into the forest to graze (known as common pasture) and to gather fuel wood. The forest is a haven for wildlife including deer, buzzards, hen harriers and snakes.

When you reach a junction of tracks, keep ahead again on the stone vehicle track which leads you through a gate. You should recognise this junction from your outward leg. From this point you will be retracing your steps back to the pub.

To do this, keep ahead and through the kissing gate to reach the A337. Cross over with care and take the path opposite (at about 11 o’clock) through the kissing gate. Keep ahead through the next section of woodland, go straight over the tarmac lane, and further along you’ll reach the cattle grid. Pass through the gate alongside and keep ahead to reach the main road. Cross over with care and take the tarmac path straight ahead. Turn left onto the lane, immediately after The Laurels. At the end of the lane you’ll see The White Hart opposite for some well earned hospitality.

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2014 by the author pubwalker and may not be reproduced without permission.

6 comments for "The White Hart and Shave Wood"

Lovely walk. Didn't quite find right path back in forest though - oops

By susieb1960 on 04 May 2015

Pleasant walk, lots of lovely thatched cottages & nice forest. Not a great deal else to see hence rating of 3, if we could give half marks would give 3.5.

By Ginasimms on 10 May 2015

Lovely walk. Difficult to follow a path through the forest and ended up luck rather than judgement ! Nice pubs too

By Markcoe on 12 Jun 2015

lovely short amble, fun finding a way through the woods

By gurninman on 17 Oct 2015

Used the iPhone compass to get through the woods. The Trusty Servant is another option for refreshments. Flacks Double Drop and Ringwood Fortyniner on tap.

By Huelin on 10 Oct 2016

Would be a 4 but some parts are exceptionally boggy in winter.

By chrismsmith on 05 Jan 2017

The information in this guide has been provided in good faith and is intended only as a guide, not a statement of fact. You are advised to check the accuracy of the information provided and should not use this guide for navigational directions nor should you rely on the accuracy of the weather forecast. You are advised to take appropriate clothing, footwear, equipment and navigational materials with you according to the current and possible weather and nature of the terrain. Always follow the country code and follow any additional warnings or instructions that may be available. Some walks may be very strenuous and you are advised to seek medical advice if you have any doubts as to your capability to complete the walk.

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