Brockenhurst to Longslade Bottom: New Forest Bike Ride Summary
- Bike Ride Start / Bike Ride Finish: Beginning of track near the railway bridge off the B3055.
- Distance: 2.5 miles.
- Parking: There is usually space to park on the side of the gravel track on the road side of the railway bridge.
- Defining Features: The route follows the derelict 1847 Southampton to Dorchester railway track, linking the B3055 with the Burley Road.
- Pros: This is a nice, easy ride along a wide track, allowing space for walkers and cyclists alike.
- Cons: It would be great if this was longer, but if you’re happy to continue on-road, the distance can be extended by as much as you like.
I really like this route both because of the history associated with the railway, and the scenery through which the old railway passed. I can’t help thinking that in 1847 (when the railway opened) the sight of a hulking steam locomotive rampaging through the forest filled the locals with horror. Today it would be seen as a charming, nostalgic reminder of what was replaced by diesel and electricity.
The old railway track still holds the occasional relic of these bygone days – the occasional sleeper and track pin can still be found, as well as old structures here and there. Not long after the start of the ride the track curves up to the right and then left into a corridor lined on both sides by huge banks of trees, giving the visitor an enclosed feeling.
Soon enough the status quo reverses itself and the old railway passes out onto a raised bank and the sides drop away to the left and right. The scenery here speaks for itself, and the railway line (unsurprisingly) continues in a straight line pretty much all the way to its conclusion. Along the way you’ll pass through Longslade Bottom, another railway bridge and Setthorns Forestry Commission Campsite. Eventually you’ll hit the Burley Road, but not before endless picnic opportunities present themselves.