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Route No. 228 Tuesday - 2 October 2007
Bolderwood, The Eagle Oak,
The Knightwood Oak, circuit - 10.5 km
The New Forest, Hampshire . . .

Map: OS Explorer OL22 New Forest at 1:25000
Route Map on 'Landranger' base map from OS Open Space service
Open this route in Google Earth

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Start of the Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive
Start of the Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive

We walked to the viewing platform at the western end of the car park overlooking the deer sanctuary, but there were no deer to be seen. I believe the best time to see them is early morning or late evening when the deer are provided with extra feed in the winter.

Today we drove to the car park at Bolderwood again. Our little walk from here on Saturday tempted us to try a longer route from the same starting point, map ref. SU243086.

One of many large spruce trees in this part of the New Forest
One of many large spruce trees in this part of the New Forest

Path down the slope by the deer sanctuary at Bolderwood
Path down the slope by the deer sanctuary at Bolderwood

I approached very quietly and the deer took no notice of me so I was able to get a photo of them.

We continued down the slope for about 600m and on our left my wife spotted some fallow deer grazing an area well screened from the viewing platform by a high bank.

Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary
Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary

Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary
Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary
Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary
Fallow deer grazing on the edge of the Bolderwood deer sanctuary

Roe deer browsing by the track near Bolderwood
Roe deer browsing by the track near Bolderwood

We followed this track as it wound its way through the woodland for about 2 km to map ref. SU243064. Here we followed the track round to the left and we continued for about another kilometre to map ref. SU 252062.

At the bottom of the slope we came to a forest track at map ref. SU238081where we turned left to follow this track. On our right some distance along the track we spotted a roe deer browsing at the edge of the track.

Ponies grazing by the path near Bolderwood
Ponies grazing by the path near Bolderwood

I felt even slower after this group of joggers sped by
I felt even slower after this group of joggers sped by
Heading through the woods to the Eagle Oak
Heading through the woods to the Eagle Oak

At this junction in the forest tracks we turned right for about 200m, then turned left for about 400m, then left for about 100m to map ref. SU256061 to the "Eagle Oak". Apparently someone shot a sea eagle from the oak's branches in the early 1800's. The tree has a girth of over 5.5m so must be over 350 years old

The Eagle Oak
The Eagle Oak

The Eagle Oak
The Eagle Oak

Heading for the Knightwood Oak
Heading for the Knightwood Oak

We followed the path to the Knightwood Oak at map ref. SU266065 and sat on a bench to admire this ancient tree and have some lunch.
The tree has a girth of around 7.5m and is said to be over 600 years old.

From the Eagle Oak we made our way along forest tracks for about a kilometre to the car park at map ref. SU 263063 on the Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive. At the car park there is a sign post to the "Knightwood Oak" about 200m away.

Heading for the Knightwood Oak
Heading for the Knightwood Oak

The information board by the tree explains that the shape of the tree is the result of pollarding when the tree was young, but it goes on to say that pollarding was made illegal in 1698 because it spoiled the shape of the tree for shipbuilding.

The Knightwood Oak - about 600 years old
The Knightwood Oak - about 600 years old

The Knightwood Oak - about 600 years old
The Knightwood Oak - about 600 years old

Almost all the large straight oaks in the country were cut down for building both naval and trading ships until iron ships began to take over in the nineteenth century.

A huge spruce tree
A huge spruce tree

From the Knightwood Oak we followed the fence to the north west for about 250m to the path at map ref. SU264068. We continued along this path for about a kilometre to the road at map ref. SU264078. We crossed the road and continued on the path opposite for about 1.5 km to map ref. SU254085. At this 'T'-junction in the forest tracks we turned left and followed the track for about 1.3 km to map ref. SU247087. Here we turned left off the track to follow a path up a firebreak to rejoin the track just before the road back at the Bolderwood car park.

Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park
Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park

Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park
Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park

Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park
Woodland path back to Bolderwood car park

The whole route had been 10.5 km and had taken us through some lovely woodland and to the Knightwood Oak, one of the oldest trees in the New Forest. The route was taken from the book called "Mike Power's Walks in the New Forest"