Situated in the heart of the New Forest, this is one of my favourite areas. It's on Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and the car park is nestled under beautiful shady trees. Ideal for picnics and exploring the many nature trails which take in the Blackwater Arboretum. Public conveniences are available here.
Several Inclosures make up this area but they are not signposted, so you can wander in and out of them without realising which one you are in (unless you are navigating with a map and compass).
Marvel at the breathtaking Douglas firs and redwoods. You'll see the tallest and oldest Douglas fir trees in Britain as you stroll along the Tall Trees Trail.
The Tall Trees Trail starts on the other side of Ornamental Drive opposite the car park. You will see an information board at the start of the trail which is a 1.5 mile loop. The path is a fairly smooth gravelled surface and flat with frequent resting places and no gates.
The Arboretum has a short circular walk of about ¾ mile along a fairly smooth gravel path, but you have to navigate one gate at the entrance. You'll find a wooden information marker as you pass through the entrance. There are plenty of benches to have a rest and take in the beautiful sights.
Just slightly south of Blackwater Forestry Commission car park is Rhinefield Bridge, a road bridge under which Black Water stream runs from the west, through Vinney Ridge Inclosure, then from the other side of the bridge the stream meanders eastwards through Fletchers Thorns Inclosure and becomes Fletchers Water.
Car park entrance
This plaque (on the Information Board - photo above right) describes the bridge which forms part of Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and crosses over the Black Water stream. It carries a single-lane road at this point, just south of the car park entrance. Weak bridge signs advise drivers to be cautious.
One of many ants' nests you'll come across, particularly in coniferous woodland. Southern wood ants have created this nest, and the dropped pine needles are an ideal source for construction, along with twigs and leaf stalks.
This visit to the Arboretum was on 1 November 2015, so there's still some lovely colour changes of the leaves on the trees taking place.