Churchplace, Deerleap and Longdown
- Trails /
- Dorset /
A cycle trail through woodland near Ashurst passing through Churchplace, Deerleap and Longdown Inclosures. The route is mostly on forest tracks but also includes a short stretch on Deerleap Lane. The distance increases from 3.4 miles to 4.8 miles if you start from Ashurst camp site.
1. Follow the cycle track out of the car park and over a strip of grassland/encroaching heath running between Deerleap and Longdown Inclosures, Deerleap Inclosure is on the right.
2. After a relatively short distance, pass a gravel track on the left (it is not a cycle track) and eventually travel downhill to cross a narrow stream flanked by alder carr. Notice here the prominent pipes used to control the water flow.
3. Follow the cycle track to the right, through a gate into Deerleap Inclosure, and immediately reach a 'T' junction, cycle track sign number 45.
4. Turn left, and then follow the route as it immediately goes right.
5. Continue parallel to the railway line (lookout along here by the trackside for the huge, domed nests of southern wood ants), and then after just over 1 kilometre (0.6 mile), ignore a turn on the left and continue into Churchplace Inclosure.
6. Follow the cycle track until a 'T' junction is reached, turn right (note, straight ahead here is not a cycle track) and continue on, eventually back into the coniferous woodland of Deerleap Inclosure.
7. Reach a 'X' roads on the edge of a block of mature conifers. Note, straight on is not a cycle track, and the cycle track sign here is 'sideways-on' and therefore not particularly obvious.
8. Turn left to, after 0.75 kilometres (0.5 miles), leave Deerleap Inclosure through a gate. After a short distance, turn right along Deerleap Lane and the car park is not far away, on the right.
The trail starts at Deerleap car park on Deerleap Lane, close to the New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park (SU353095). An alternative start point is Ashurst camp site, a cycle track from the camp site joins this cycle route on the edge of Churchplace Inclosure. The nearest train station is Ashurst, approx. 3.5 kilometres (2 miles) by road from the Deerleap car park, but those travelling by train might prefer the start point in Ashurst camp site.