A walk through Holly Hill Woodland Park is beautiful at any time of year. Discover a new place to go walking in Hampshire…
Holly Hill Woodland Park
123 Barnes Lane, Sarisbury Green, Southampton SO31 7BH
You’ll find Holly Hill Woodland Park in the heart of a very residential area, a short drive from Junction 8 off the M27. It’s unlikely you’d stumble across it unless you knew about it. It’s not really a hidden gem, but it’s probably a place you’d only know about if you’ve lived in the area.
The woodland is a nature reserve and the brilliant thing is that it connects to Wendleholme Nature Reserve and down to the Hamble River. Following the path along the river in either direction is an easy way to extend your walk.
The park is a big loop, so it’s really easy to navigate and there are several paths that cross the loop if you want to make your walk shorter. Obviously everyone walks at different speeds but a good rule of thumb is that it takes about an hour to go around the widest loop of the park.
It’s also not a place you’re going to get lost in as all the paths loop back to the start. The entrance to the second nature reserve is signposted before you enter it and there’s a wooden boardwalk underfoot, so there’s no mistaking where you are.
Holly Hill Nature Reserve
A walk through Holly Hill Woodland Park is beautiful at any time of year.
In the Spring it blooms with a carpet of bluebells, snowdrops and daffodils and in Summer pink blooms, ferns and palms make it feel tropical.
Autumn brings a wash of reds, yellows and oranges which start on the trees and soon litter the floor. This time of year is the reserves biggest transformation and there’s absolutely no doubt what time of year it is.
Come winter you’ll see it in its rawest form, the bare branches revealing the native wildlife going about their daily business. You’ll be hard pressed not to see robins, squirrels and blackbirds foraging at this time of year.
Around the nature reserve you’ll see a river running through the middle with little waterfalls, bridges and a larger lake section in the middle of the park. It’s a popular spot to feed the ducks.
You’ll also see several clearings with picnic benches, seating and woodland carvings dotted around the woodland.
Within Holly Hill Woodland Park there’s a sunken garden just south of the mansion not far from the main entrance. It’s best in summer when you can picnic and read under the park trees and admire the beautiful flowers in bloom in the borders.
Hamble River View Point
My favourite part of Holly Hill Woodland Park is the Hamble River View Point. The wooden bench and deck frame the view of the river Hamble perfectly and it’s a nice place to stop and take a moment to watch the boats sailing by and the wetlands.
The woodland has excellent facilities, including:
- Toilets with facilities for disabled people.
- Two car parks at Barnes Lane and Barnes Close both have bays for disabled people.
- A horse trail.
- Dog and litter bins.
There’s a great accessible route, which I see regularly used by all different types of mobility aids and machines. While the rest of the route is mostly flat there are a few very steep hills and tree roots that might make navigating the root tricky if assistance is required.
If you walk to the gym, Holly Hill Leisure Centre, you’ll also find a little kiosk doing a roaring trade selling coffee and cold drinks. There’s also a children’s playground, outdoor gym equipment, a basket ball court and football pitch here too for local community use.
Holly Hill Woodland Park
Why do I like this park? For me, it’s a combination of the view point across the River Hamble and its ability to look wildly different depending on the season. It’s a charming space perfect for trail runners, dog walkers, families and walkers to enjoy all year round.
For maps, specific trails and further information it is best to check the council’s website for more details.
Have you discovered Holly Hill Woodland Park yet? Let me know in the comments below.
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