Burley is a village of 1,400 people (2011) in the New Forest. It has ancient origins and is now somewhat tourist-orientated. Burley has a long connection with witches; in the late 1950s, Sybil Leek, a self-styled white witch, lived in the village. The village now has a new age presence, and several shops sell paranormal paraphernalia such as tarot decks and incense candles.
Burley sits towards the western edge of the New Forest, 4 miles (6 km) south-east of the town of Ringwood The village is fairly scattered, and apart from the village centre, there is Burley Street to the north; Bisterne Close to the east; and the Mill Lawn area to the north-east. The village still practises the old tradition of commoning, allowing animals to graze on the open Forest, and ponies and cattle roam freely around the village.
The village is surrounded by the open heathland of the New Forest, containing a complex of woodland, heathland and acid grassland, shrub and valley bog, supporting a richness and diversity of wildlife. Burley is twinned with Beurlay in southwestern France. Burley Fire Station is thought to be the only fire station in the country with a cattle grid at the entrance.
The village is 2½ miles (4 km) south of the A31 expressway, and 10 miles (16 km) from the end of the M27 motorway. The nearest town is Ringwood, 5½ miles (9 km) to the north-west.
Burley is part of the New Forest Tour bus route.
- 1 Castle Hill. site of Iron age hillfort
- 2 All Saints' Church, Thorney Hill, Thorney Hill. All Saints' Church is an active Church of England church. It was built in 1905–06 and has been a Grade I listed building since 1985. A World War I memorial in the churchyard is also Grade II listed.
- 3 New Forest Airfields World War II Memorial, Holmsley South.
- 1 Forest Leisure Cycling, Village Centre, The Cross, BH24 4AB, ☏ . 9AM-5PM. Hire a bicycle for a day.
- Burley Golf Club can be found to the southeast of the village.
The Bisterne Dragon
The Bisterne Dragon legend takes place primarily in Bisterne, but also features Burley and Lyndhurst, and is one of the area's most famous pieces of folklore. The local tradition is that a dragon had his den at Burley Beacon, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Bisterne, at Burley. One version of the tale is that the creature flew every morning to Bisterne, where it would be supplied with milk. To kill the dragon, a valiant knight (usually named Berkeley) built a hide, and with two dogs lay in wait. The creature came as usual one morning for its milk, and when the hut door was opened the dogs attacked it. The knight took the dragon by surprise, and the dogs died in the affray. ;
Another version of the tale says that the dragon slayer only succeeded by covering his armour with glass. A popular telling of the story has it that the fight raged throughout the forest, with the dragon finally dying outside the village of Lyndhurst, his corpse turning into a hill (now known as Boltons Bench). Though the knight had defeated the dragon, he had been mentally broken by the battle, and after 30 days and 30 nights he went back to Boltons Bench to die alone atop it, his yew-wood bow falling on the ground beside his body and eventually sprouting into the yew tree which can still be seen today.
Burley has many small shops selling apparel, souvenirs and locally made fudge. Burley has a post office, newsagents, butcher's shop, village stores, tea rooms, a hippy/festival clothing shop, antique shops, art galleries and gift shops, pubs and a large cycle shop and cycle hire centre.
- 1 Burley Mall, The Mall, BH24 4AB. A collection of souvenir shops and a cafe.
- 2 Witchcraft, The Cross, BH24 4AB.
- 3 Coven of Witches, The Cross, BH24 4AA, ☏ . 10AM-5PM.
Burley itself has a few pubs and cafés.
- 1 Burley Inn, The Cross, BH24 4AB, ☏ .
- 2 Queen's Head, 99 Chapel Ln, BH24 4AA, ☏ . M-Sa: noon-11PM, Su: noon-10:30PM.
- 1 Twin Cottage, Bisterne Close, BH24 4BA, ☏ . If you are interested in a little independence and space, consider renting a cottage. Twin Cottage, in the heart of the New Forest, is a beautifully furnished two bedroom cottage with a fully equipped kitchen, wireless internet and is great for children.
- 2 New Forest Cottage Holidays, 5 Garden Rd, BH24 4EA, ☏ . Located within walking distance of Burley Village Center, " Three beautiful self catering cottages in the heart of the New Forest in the lovely village of Burley. Our high quality, pet friendly accommodation has 2&3 bedrooms (2-8 adults/children + Baby). Group bookings available.
- 3 Burley Manor, 1 Ringwood Rd, Burley BH24 4BS, ☏ . Pleasant hotel in Victorian New Forest mansion, great dining. No children under 13. B&B double £110.
- Other towns within the New Forest such as Ringwood and Lyndhurst.
- Visit the seaside in Dorset such as at Bournemouth and Christchurch.
|Routes through Burley|
|Bournemouth ← Christchurch ←||W E||→ Lyndhurst → Southampton|