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Burley and Shappen Hill

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Burley and Shappen Hill
Author: clairesharpuk, Published: 24 Mar 2012 Walk rating : Rating:star1 Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guidestar1 Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guidestar1 Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guidestar0 Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guidestar0 Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guide
Hampshire, New Forest
Walk Type: Hills, valleys and dales
Burley and Shappen Hill
Length: 2 miles,  Difficulty: boot Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guide boot Burley and Shappen Hill Hampshire Walking Guide
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A 2.3 mile circular walk across a beautiful section of heathland within the New Forest starting from the village of Burley. Roaming with the famous New Forest ponies you'll follow the paths through the heath alongside Shappen Bottom before following a short section of an old railway and then returning via Shappen Hill.

There are no stiles or gates and the climbs and descents are all quite gentle. The heath paths will be muddy after wet weather and you will share them with free roaming ponies and cattle. As with any area of heathland take care with dogs to avoid disturbing ground nesting birds and adders. Approximate time 1 hour.

The walk starts from the free Forestry Commission car park just outside the village of Burley in Hampshire. Leave Burley village along The Cross and keep right (avoiding Chapel Lane). The car park is on the right and is marked with a green Forestry Commission 'Burley' car park sign. The entrance is directly opposite Cott Lane and the Burley Cricket Club car park. Approximate post code BH24 4BB.

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Walk Sections

Car Park to Shappen Bottom Bridge
Car Park to Shappen Bottom Bridge

Start point: 50.8248 lat, -1.6973 long
End point: 50.8165 lat, -1.6947 long

Follow the main car park entrance track away from the road with the trees on your right. After just a few paces (before you meet the low level gate) turn left through some small wooden posts and then fork immediately right onto a narrow path between gorse, avoiding the wider left hand gravel path.

Another path merges in from the right as you reach the brow of the hill, continue straight ahead down the gravel slope. As the path begins to level out follow the obvious path ahead running parallel with the wooden telegraph poles. On your right is the narrow band of trees in the valley bottom known as Shappen Bottom.

About 100 metres after the path crosses from the right to the left of the telegraph cables, you'll notice a low footbridge over the stream within Shappen Bottom to your right. Do not turn here, instead continue straight ahead with the trees still to your right.

Shappen Bottom Bridge to Old Railway Crossing
Shappen Bottom Bridge to Old Railway Crossing

Start point: 50.8165 lat, -1.6947 long
End point: 50.8131 lat, -1.6908 long

Just a few paces after passing the bridge, take the right hand fork just before the path crosses again under the cables. Continue through the open heathland. Commoners' cattle, ponies and donkeys roam throughout the open heath and much of the woodland, and it is largely their grazing that maintains the open character of the New Forest.

After a few hundred metres the path forks again, as before take the right hand fork. Follow the path as it merges with a gravel track coming in from the left and after a few paces the track takes you over a small stream, ideal for dogs to paddle on a hot day.

Follow the path up a short hill and then soon after it begins to level off you will reach the remains of an old railway crossing with the remains of brick walls both sides.

Old Railway Crossing to Railway Gates
Old Railway Crossing to Railway Gates

Start point: 50.8131 lat, -1.6908 long
End point: 50.8136 lat, -1.6973 long

Turn right to follow the old railway. After about 500 metres you will come to a small clump of trees and four concrete/metal posts marking the old railway gates. Turn right here to follow the obvious path back across the stream and a section of wetland. Lookout for wetland birds that live in the reeds here.

Railway Gates to Car Park
Railway Gates to Car Park

Start point: 50.8136 lat, -1.6973 long
End point: 50.8252 lat, -1.6991 long

Stay on the main track ahead, heading uphill and ignoring paths going off to the left and right. As you climb the hill (Shappen Hill) you will pass back under the overhead cables. At the top of Shappen Hill continue ahead as a wider path merges in from the right.

After some distance and as you are coming near to the tree-line ahead, take the right hand fork and continue downhill on the wider gravel track with the trees to the left. Follow the path downhill and curving to the left to reach an open area of grass. Continue to bend to the left and you will come to a couple of cottages. Directly in front of the cottages turn right and follow the main gravel access road over a small stream and then bending to the left.

At the T-junction with the tarmac lane, turn right and follow the lane uphill. At the brow of the hill the car park will come into view through the trees on the right hand side. Fork right on a grass path through the trees to return to your car.

After your walk you may wish to take some time to explore Burley village, with its range of pubs, tea shops, gift shops and galleries. The village still practices the old tradition of 'commoning' allowing animals to graze on the open Forest, so ponies and cattle roam freely around the village. Burley Fire Station is thought to be the only fire station in the country with a cattle grid at the entrance!

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Text and images for this walk are Copyright © 2012 by the author clairesharpuk and may not be reproduced without permission.

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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