Ramsdown Plantation is just outside Bournemouth. It is one of a number of natural heathland and forested open spaces that complement Bournemouth beach. Ramsdown Plantation forms the southern side of Sopley Common. It is an ideal place to go for a ramble or to exercise dogs. The Plantation is managed by the Forestry Commission and extends to approximately 51 hectares (125 Acres). Across the road (separate post) is the main Sopley Common. A map of the plantation can be found On This Link
Ramsdown provides fairly easy walking conditions along well established paths. While it is popular with local dog walkers, it remains a virtually unknown green space close to Bournemouth. Most local residents simple do not know it exists. For the walker, the going is mostly flat. The ground does eventually slope down so if you decided to go further than the viewing platform you will go down a reasonable (though well pathed) incline.
Ramsdown is about 50m above sea level. As the whole area towards the south of Ramsdown is lower, this provides some stunning views towards the northern end of Bournemouth. eastward towards Christchurch and out over the Solent to the Isle of Wight. A viewing platform was built a couple of years ago. This allows really good views and provides an excellent and well thought out platform for photography. It provides a different though arguably no less awesome view out towards the sea than Hengistbury Head
Dotted about in the plantation are a number of picnic tables/benches and it is a great natural place to be if you want a day away from the beach. The walk from the car park out to the viewing platform and back is circular and in total (feels like) about 1.5 to 2 miles. There are no facilities. So if you are in constant need of ice-cream etc. this is not the place to go.
Most of the tree types are coniferous rather than broad leaved, but due to its age, there is quite a diverse number of species present. The area is alive with wild-life and thee are a number of bog pools (one large one) as you go down the slope towards the A338.
Ramsdown Plantation contains two ancient monuments which are both Bronze Age Bowl barrows. there are also a number of old foundations of second world war buildings that have long since been abandoned. In one place on the circular path you come across the the heavily fenced boundary to the Qinetic military development area.
Parking for Ramsdown Plantation
Parking is relatively easy. Drive towards Hurn Airport from Bournemouth up the A338. Take the turning marked to the airport. Stay in the right hand lane and at the traffic lights turn right. Then about 1/2 a mile further on, just after you enter a 30mph area there is a small roundabout . Take the second exit. keep going straight ahead. Then about 200 yards further along on the right is a lay-by that looks like a parallel road. Park here. Alternatively, as long as you have a normal sized vehicle, at the end of the lay-by there is a fairly large car park but access is between two concrete blocks about 6 ft apart – so be careful. park up and head out to the look-out.