5 fun nature walks with kids in North Hampshire

by Jan

With two national parks, Hampshire is spoilt for choice when it comes to getting kids outside.  But the outdoor space isn’t all in the South.  North Hampshire has plenty of nature reserves and beautiful countryside too.  It’s perfect for some family-friendly walking, so come with us to explore 5 fun nature walks for kids in North Hampshire.

North Hampshire has plenty of pretty places for family hikes in the woods, on the heath and by water.  All our walks are tried and tested and easy on little legs.  So, what are you waiting for?

In our guide to family walks in Hampshire, we’ll tell you where to park, the distance and where to eat.

Yateley Common Nature Trail

Reflection of trees and grey clouds at Wyndham’s Pool, Yateley Common, Hampshire, UK
  • Start point:                GU46 6BB
  • Type of walk:            Circular (3 km)
  • Refreshments:           No
  • Cost:                            Free

One of the best nature walks with kids in North Hampshire is at Yateley Common Country Park, which is just off the A30.  With over 193 hectares of natural landscape, Yateley Common is a great destination to take your family on a nature walk.

One of our favourite routes is the Yateley Common Nature Trail, which starts at Wyndham’s Pool car park.  It is a self-guided circular walk which explores the woodland and heathland of Yateley Common.  This circular trail is easy to follow and is ideal for families and younger children.

From the car park head right towards the pretty Brandy Bottom cottages.  It is then easy to follow this circular nature trail back to the pond using the 10 signposts.

Download a map of the nature trail here.

As Yateley Common is a Site of special Scientific Interest, you’ll find plenty of wildlife for children to spot.  Keep your eyes peeled for reptiles, dragonflies, butterflies, and birds.  Perfect for any budding nature-lovers!

Remember to take some paper and crayons as kids can do a different nature brass rubbing on each of the posts.

Fleet Pond Nature Reserve

Fungus on tree at Fleet Pond Nature Reserve, North Hampshire
  • Start point:        GU14 0LZ (Fleet Pond Nature Reserve car park)
  • Type of walk:    Circular (up to 4km)
  • Refreshments:  No
  • Cost:                    Free

The second of our nature walks for kids in Hampshire is at Fleet Pond.

Fleet Pond is the largest freshwater lake in Hampshire and is home to many species of wetland birds and dragonflies.   However, with an area of over 141 acres, this nature reserve has far more to offer than just a walk round the pond.

There are 3 recommended walking routes at Fleet Pond, and all are flat and easy to follow.  The shortest is the red route, which takes a short circuit (1 km) around the heathland near the car park.

The other two routes, yellow (3 km) and blue (4 km), follow the perimeter of the lake.  However, the blue trail extends to include Wood Lane Heath and Brookly Wood.

We followed the blue route, which takes about an hour in total.  The walk starts in a tranquil woodland area, with pretty streams and wooden bridges.   Then, the trail leads to other wildlife habitats, such as marshland and reedbeds.

As you get close to the water there are several viewpoints overlooking the beautiful pond and its wildlife.  Fleet Ponds a great place for a nature walk with kids in North Hampshire.

Rowhill Nature Reserve, Aldershot

Nature Trail sign with Kingfisher, Rowhill Nature Reserve. North Hampshire
  • Start point:         GU11 3BD (car park)
  • Type of walk:     Circular (2.75 km)
  • Refreshments:    No
  • Cost:                     Free

Rowhill Nature Reserve is a hidden gem in the military town of Aldershot.  Set in the outskirts of a residential area, it’s hard to believe from the outside that the reserve holds 55 acres of scenic woodland and heathland flora.

But it’s true, and the reserve even has its own nature trail, so it’s perfect for a nature walk with kids in North Hampshire.  You can enjoy the nature trail at any time of year, but in Spring the woodland has a carpet of bluebells.

With its range of diverse habitats, Rowhill Nature Reserve is a great haven for wildlife.  Now, if you’re lucky you might see a kingfisher or heron.  Or, even a badger, as the reserve is home to a badger set.

The signposts for the nature trail will lead you through the trees and around the reserve.  There are clear paths to follow, with only a few hilly parts.  However, you’ll also find an easy access route for wheelchairs and pushchairs.

Rowhill Nature Reserve is the source of the Blackwater River and several pretty waterways run through the reserve.  You can also find a large open meadow to play in and a stickleback pond.

Look out for fairy houses at the base of the trees!

Hawley Lake & Woods

View of Beach and Hawley Lake, North Hampshire, UK
  • Start point:        GU17 9UA (pub car park)
  • Type of walk:    Circular (3 km)
  • Refreshments:  Crown & Cushion pub
  • Cost:                    Free

Located near Farnborough and Minley, Hawley Lake is one of the best places in Hampshire to bring your family for a nature walk.  The purpose-made pathway around the lake is flat and even, so is ideal for a pushchair friendly walk.

This scenic lake is home to many waterfowl, and you’ll find jetties where children can feed the birds.  On one side is a sandy area and in summer this is used by locals for swimming.

If you want to extend your walk, head into Minley Woods.  With its series of woodland paths, this pinewood forest is a perfect for any kids who like exploring.  They can do a scavenger hunt, climb some trees, or build a den.

Fun fact:  This beautiful lake and forest have been the filming location for several feature films, including Die Another Day and Avengers: Age of Ultron.

The Basingstoke Canal

View of a Line of Basingstoke Canal Boats from tow path
  • Start point:        Odiham Wharf (Colt Hill) Car Park (RG29 1DH)
  • Type of walk:    Out and back
  • Refreshments:   The Waterwitch Inn (temporarily closed)
  • Cost:                     Free

The last of our nature walks in North Hampshire is along the Basingstoke Canal.

The Basingstoke Canal stretches for 33 ½ miles from Woodham in Surrey to Greywell in Hampshire. It has a range of habitats, which offer plenty of nature and stunning views at any time of the year.  The towpath is flat and ideal for a nature walk with kids in North Hampshire.  However, it can get muddy.

There are plenty of starting points and you can choose how far you want to walk.  However, if you start at Odiham Wharf car park, you can walk up to explore the ruins of King John’s Castle.

Originally, Odiham Castle was one of three fortresses built by King John and dates to the early 13th Century.  In fact, it is from Odiham Castle that King John set out on his trip to Runnymede to sign the Magna Carta in 1215.

Today, only the ruins remain, but it’s still worth a visit.  You can click here for other things to do in Odiham with kids.

How to get there

Where are your favourite nature walks with kids in North Hampshire?

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