Guided wildlife tours
Guided wildlife tours
COVID-19 update: In line with the latest UK Government guidance, we are now able to offer a range of scheduled and private guided wildlife walks. These will abide by the rule-of-six up to 17 May 2021, i.e. up to five guests and one guide, and will follow social distancing guidelines. At this stage, we will only be offering walks at selected sites in and around the New Forest, while we assess the impact of visitor pressure as lockdown restrictions ease.
All of our wildlife walks are at a relaxed pace, but guests will need to have a reasonable level of fitness in order to complete the advertised route in the allocated time. Dogs and children are welcome on our walks, subject to the terms and conditions, which are available at the bottom of the page.
New Forest Private and Bespoke Guided Tours
In addition to the scheduled walks below, we also offer private and bespoke tours at competitive prices (on foot or by bike), which are suitable for individuals, families or small groups - if you are interested in a private tour, then please phone or email for further details.
"Very many thanks for such an enjoyable, wonderful and inspiring morning - it was like having a completely new dimension added to our patch! Really look forward to following Wild New Forest in the future, and not being so nervous about confusing trees. I hope we might organise a similar walk again in the future". Andrew and Jenny, Apr 2021.
New Forest Explorer Walks
Our scheduled New Forest Explorer Walks are typically about 5 km long and 2 hours duration, and provide opportunities to explore and learn about some of the New Forest's special habitats and species through the seasons. If you want to explore parts of the the New Forest you haven't visited previously, or want to learn more about seasonal wildlife on a regular route, then these walks are for you! Costs for adults are from £12.50 per person, with children aged ten and under going free.
"Thank you for leading this morning’s Fungi Explorer Walk. It was such an interesting experience with a wonderful variety of fungi and other insights into that area of the New Forest. Birds, butterflies and history too. I really enjoyed it all. Easy to book and clear instructions for everything". Sheila, Oct 2020.
New Forest Discovery Walks
Our scheduled New Forest 'Discovery' walks depart from or close to the main hubs of Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Lymington (see map here), and provide an excellent introduction to the New Forest and an opportunity to see fantastic scenery and wildlife, while learning about the special qualities of the New Forest and responsible recreation. All hubs have convenient parking and toilet facilities, a wide range of accommodation, cycle hire and café options, and Brockenhurst and Lymington are also accessible by train. Our Discovery routes all take approximately 3 hours, but we apply a flexible approach depending on weather conditions and what wildlife appears! Costs for adults are £17.50 per person, with children aged ten and under going free.
"Our walk with Marcus around Lymington Marshes yesterday was great. Lots of interesting snippets of information about the area and clues to identification of species. Of course, the weather was glorious too, and so thoroughly enjoyed". Karen and David, Sept 2020.
After checking the tour schedule and reading the further information below, click here to access our online booking pages with further details of each tour, including a brief summary of the route. Once you have selected your chosen tour and the specific date and time, you will be directed to the client details and payment pages. Finally, before booking your tour, you will be asked to confirm that you have read and agreed to our terms and conditions, which are listed at the bottom of this page. Joining instructions, including directions to the meeting point for your tour, will be provided by email once your booking is confirmed.
Please note that our current booking system only shows the number of adult places available. Therefore, if booking children aged ten and under (who go free), please ensure there are sufficient spaces available on your advertised walk to cover both the adults and children in your party before you book. There is a field on the booking form where children's names can subsequently be added. Please feel free to phone or email if you have any questions!
Upcoming April Tours
Wed 12 May (10am) Introduction to New Forest Bird Song (Woodland) - fully booked
Fri 14 May (10am) Anderwood Explorer Walk - fully booked
Sat 15 May (9am) Lymington Discovery Walk - 2 spaces available
Wed 19 May (8am) Introduction to New Forest Bird Song (Heathland) - space available
Sat 22 May (9am) Keyhaven Discovery Walk - space available
Wed 25 May (10am) Introduction to New Forest Bird Song (Coastal Marsh) - space available
Wed 26 May (10am) Holly Hatch & Sloden Explorer Walk - fully booked
Tue 1 June (8pm) Introduction to New Forest Bird Song (Crepuscular Species) - space available
Wed 2 June (9am) Millyford Discovery Walk - space available
Wed 2 June (6pm) Keyhaven Discovery Walk - space available
Why choose Wild New Forest?
All tours are led by the Wild New Forest Directors, Russell Wynn and Marcus Ward, who have over 50 years experience in wildlife survey, monitoring and photography in the New Forest National Park; click here to find out more
All of our New Forest tours are operated under Forestry England permit, and are designed to minimise impacts on protected habitats while maximising opportunities to enjoy great scenery and encounter exciting wildlife
We are members of GO New Forest and are experienced tour leaders and public speakers, with full public liability insurance, outdoor first aid training, and recent advanced DBS checks
Wild New Forest CIC is a not-for-profit company, so by supporting us you are also supporting frontline wildlife research and conservation work in the New Forest; click here for examples of our research and see our blog here for details of our recent activities
We work with Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and other forest organisations to support responsible recreation in the New Forest. We therefore promote and ask our clients to follow the New Forest code below:
What will I need to bring?
For both walking and cycling tours you will need appropriate clothing, ideally using a layering system with a light base layer, warm mid-layer, and waterproof shell. For walking tours, we recommend walking boots or sturdy trail shoes, and note that some winter routes may require wellies or waterproof boots (see route details on the booking page to check).
In bright, sunny conditions at any time of year we recommend using sunscreen, wearing suitable headwear, and reducing glare with sunglasses. In winter, gloves and a hat will help to reduce wind chill.
You will need sufficient drinks and snacks for a two- or three-hour tour; there are no facilities on the route, so we recommend bringing at least 0.5L of water and enough food for a couple of snack stops.
Binoculars are recommended, but don’t worry if you don’t have any as there will still be plenty of wildlife to see and hear at close range! Keen birders may wish to bring a scope for the Lymington walk.
For cycle tours you will need a mountain or gravel bike with suitable tyres for loose gravel trails. Please contact us for recommended bike hire outlets in all four of the New Forest hubs where we operate tours. Helmets are compulsory - spare inner tubes, puncture repair kits and basic bike tools are strongly recommended. Dogs are not permitted on cycle tours.
Terms and conditions
Under the current COVID-19 restrictions, we cannot accept clients who have been diagnosed with or who display symptoms of COVID-19 (or who live with or share a support bubble with someone that does), or who have been told to self-isolate by the NHS Test and Trace service; we also recommend that clients who are shielding do not book tours with us at the present time. Note that we will keep clients contact details for a period of 21 days to comply with UK Government requirements around NHS Test and Trace.
Clients must disclose any pertinent medical information at the time of booking, to ensure their safety in potentially remote areas of the New Forest where help may be more than 30 minutes away; this includes asthma, diabetes and heart/lung conditions. Clients must also be sufficiently fit to complete the advertised tour within the advertised time.
We will automatically delete all clients’ medical data after 21 days. Clients retain the right to have their contact and other personal details removed from our records after 21 days in line with GDPR requirements - any retained data will be held securely in line with GDPR requirements, and used for internal Wild New Forest purposes only (and solely for the purpose of improving future tour provision).
Clients can cancel bookings up to 48 hours before their tour commences and will be offered the opportunity to rebook or be fully refunded. If clients cancel within 48 hours of their tour commencing, we will offer the opportunity to rebook or will endeavour to sell the available slots in order to offer a full refund, however, clients will not be eligible for a refund if both of these options are not possible.
We will cancel tours if weather conditions are forecast to be potentially dangerous or unsuitable for viewing wildlife, e.g. high winds, lightning storms, and/or heavy precipitation (rain, sleet, snow, hail). We will not cancel tours in the event of light rain or showers, so waterproofs and suitable headwear are strongly recommended! In the event of cancellations, we will endeavour to contact clients asap using the details provided.
The New Forest is a working forest, and we monitor the latest Forestry England updates regarding car park and trail closures (e.g. due to pony drifts or tree felling operations) to minimise disruption to our tours. However, we reserve the right to alter tour routes and meeting places at short notice due to circumstances beyond our control and will endeavour to contact clients asap using the details provided.
Dogs are welcome on our tours but must be kept under control and on a lead at all times (with respect for social distancing measures). Owners are responsible for cleaning up after their dogs, so please bring you own poo bags and dispose of them responsibly!
Children are welcome on our tours but must be accompanied by an adult, capable of walking or cycling the advertised distance (or being carried as appropriate) and kept under control at all times (with respect for social distancing measures).
We reserve the right to refuse clients who deliberately breach the New Forest code or any of the conditions listed above
Disclaimer: Wild New Forest maintain an up-to-date risk assessment for all guided walking and cycling tours and apply a consistent, professional and evidence-based approach to client’s health and safety. However, clients agree to participate in Wild New Forest tours at their own risk and are responsible for their own health and safety, including provision of suitable prescriptions for medical conditions. In addition, Wild New Forest does not accept liability for any loss, theft or damage to personal property or effects.