A FREE app has been launched to give walkers in the New Forest an easier way to follow their favourite routes and learn more about the national park.

Developed by the New Forest National Park Authority, the new app features 27 walks ranging from longer hikes to short strolls for all ages and abilities.

It also makes following the routes easier, with GPS navigation so walkers can see their location at all times without having to read a map.

Each route on the app features points of interest, where walkers can find out about the history or nature along the route that they might miss if walking without the aid of technology.

Adam Vasey, New Forest National Park Authority access ranger, said: “A walk in the countryside can be hugely beneficial for your physical and mental health.

"We want our walks to be available to people of all backgrounds, whether they know how to read a map or not, and the app helps us achieve this. It also allows people to learn more about the National Park as they walk. We hope that this knowledge of how special the New Forest is will encourage them to care for the area when they are out walking.’

The app is available for free on Android and iPhone, see newforestnpa.gov.uk/walksapp.

Here are four New Forest walks to try this weekend.

1. Keyhaven Marshes (3/4 miles. Along the route there are views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and the Needles and opportunities to watch the ever-changing bird life of Keyhaven Marshes. The path then cuts inland to follow an ancient highway behind the reserve before returning to Keyhaven.

2. Hale and Woodgreen (10 miles). The route starts at Woodfalls and follows a section of the Avon Valley Path through fields and woods to the charming village of Hatchet Green. You then pass Hale House and St Mary’s Church before walking alongside the peaceful River Avon. At Woodgreen you can explore a rural community. The walk returns via shady tracks and woods to Hatchett Green and back to Woodfalls.

3. Blackwater Tall Trees Trail (under 2 miles). Stimulate your senses on this short trail around the Forestry Commission’s Blackwater Arboretum, with its small but nationally important collection of trees from all over the world. Sensory information boards along the trail provide fascinating facts about the tallest, heaviest and toughest trees. This walk takes you past majestic conifers planted in the 1850s, some of the oldest Douglas fir trees in Britain and includes views of two enormous redwoods.

4. Burley village (4/5 miles). This walk starts at the village centre before setting out on a circular walk around the edge of the village. The route passes an ancient hill fort on Castle Hill before descending back to the village and along the edge of open forest. The walks returns to the village past picturesque properties to the Queen’s Head pub.