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During the summer months, in 2013 from 29 June to 15 September, it would be great to tour around the New Forest in an open topped bus!
There are 3 routes to take in a wide range of what is on offer in this large area encompassing King Williams old hunting grounds, free roaming ponies and donkeys, large market towns and small villages, old parish churches where you can find notables buried such as Arthur Conan Doyle, and seaside quays and maritime villages.
As the website points out there are 3 passes you can buy - 1 day, 2 day and 5 day.....
a great way to take in a very quaint and interesting part of England.
The more we investigate here the more impressed Ive been with the area
Written Apr 5, 2013
A regular stop for the National Express coaches between London and Bournemouth I had only seen Ringwood as a bus stop with a large carpark - this time after driving to see the heather in bloom in the New Forest we drove into the town centre of Ringwood and what a lovely little centre with cute little shops, a large thatched pub restaurant, norman church, an old stone bridge and Georgian houses.
The website for the area www.thenewforest.co.uk is an excellent source of info for the area which highlights towns and villages and sites of historic interest to visit - much of which even my friend I visit in Bournemouth who has lived there for several years did not know about - including a hop on hop off tour bus with 3 itineraries between June and September.
Updated Apr 5, 2013
Address: Ringwood town centre
The New Forest has over 143 miles of public footpath which take in woodlands, heaths, riversides and even the seashore. Walks can be as short or long as you wish and because there are no particularly steep gradients there's something to suit pretty much everyone (except masochists of course). As well as the regular trails there are now some which have been tarmac-covered for greater accessibilty and these have been surveyed and graded by the voluntary group New Forest Access For All who have maps with detailed descriptions on their website - "other", below.
The official New Forest website, link below, has a set of PDF trail maps which are also available at its Visitor Information Centre. You'll also find local trail maps on display at the various car parks or for a more detailed map use the OS New Forest "Explorer" (OL22).
And as a quick PS - the website below also has a section on Pub Walks :-)
Written Sep 16, 2012
It was the crazy ladies, the rather attractive crazy ladies, who I met in the Angel pub who endeared me to Lymington - both of whom insisted on giving me a kiss and I was supposed to judge who was best. OK they were both a little drunk but they WERE sexy. Unfortunately my discreet attempt at getting a photo of them didn't quite happen but they were fun - oh and by the way I managed to obfuscate around making a decision and told them that both were equally delish, just in different ways LOL.
They'd been out shopping, and judging by their profusion of bags had had a particularly strenuous time of it - which is probably why they needed a drink. Then their taxi arrived and I got a quick cuddle and peck as farewell and was left in a very good mood, all the better to appreciate what a pleasant little town Lymington is.
i only had a couple of hours - I had to get back to the hotel sometime that evening and with a four and a half mile cycle from Brockenhurst and a 6 am start couldn't let myself go too much - but that couple of hours was enough to convinvce me that a revisit is definitely required.
I loved the quirky mix of shops, the friendly pubs, the dock area where some Norwegian tourists asked me to take their pics and just generally enjoyed what is quite a classy little place.
Written Sep 14, 2012
For what is effectively still a small village Brockenhurst manages to cram a plethora of shops, services and other useful things clustered around its main drag of Brookley Road.
Here you'll find pretty much everything you need - banks with ATM's, a Post Office, convenience stores, gift shops, newsagents, a bookshop, a couple of bike hire places, a couple of garages, a chemist, hairdressers...
Then for sustenance there's several restaurants and cafes, a trio of fast food takeaways: an Indian, a Chinese and a Fish 'n Chip shop and a quintet of pubs (two of which slightly out of the village).
For accommodation the village offers no less than 18 establishments ranging from family B&B's to the stately manor of the 4-star Rhinefield House Hotel.
Not only that but there's regular train services to and from London, via Southampton, and onwards to Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth. There's the local train to Lymington, and for the Isle of Wight ferry. From the train station local buses run to Southampton and Lymington and there are National Express service to Heathrow and Gatwick. So as well as being the shopping and services centre for the area it is also the public transport hub.
All this and you even quite often have the New Forest Ponies wandering the streets.
Updated Sep 14, 2012
The ideal way of getting around the New Forest is by bike. There is over 100 miles of off- and on-road cycle routes connecting just about everywhere. Because the terrain is relatively level this makes cycling a pleasure and there's almost always a pub at the end of any journey.
South West Trains are very "bike-friendly" with ample racks on most services and so it is easy enough to bring your own. But if you do need to hire there are sevral hire places dotted around, including one behind Brockenhurst Railway Station.
One small warning though - off-road cycling is only allowed on the waymarked paths. There are fines of up to £500 for using foot-only paths.
Written Sep 14, 2012
Cycling does not get better than this! We've chosen to cycle from Brockenhurst to Beaulieu, return via Bucklar's Hard. This route takes you through woodland to Hatchet Pond and back on open heathland with views of the Isle of Wight.
Cycling through New Forest, you will see horses, cows, donkeys and deers! I was on a look out throughout my 23mile route!! Of course, you are not allowed to feed these lovely creatures and you should do as much as you could NOT to disturb them.
Apart from being so close to wildlife, you will be cycling through one of the most treasured National Park in the UK, all routes are extremely scenic and relatively flat. (Remember to research on your route or get the cycling hire shop to recommend one :)
It took us about 5/6 hrs to complete the route at a leisurely pace including the enjoyment of a serving of the lovely cream teas in Beaulieu Village.
We've hired 2 bikes from Country Lanes, who are friendly and very helpful. Hire costs include hire of bike, helmet, bike route and type/pumps!
Updated Apr 4, 2011
Address: Brockenhurst, New Forest, Hampshire
Phone: +44 1590 622627
Ashley Walk is a superb area for walking, with rolling hills, streams and if you're quiet, herds of deer. Most people do not realise just what they are walking through!
In the second world war, Ashley Walk was a major bombing range covering some 5,000 acres. Many top secret tests were performed here, including the dropping of a 'Grand Slam' earthquake bomb from a Lancaster bomber - this was the largest explosion ever to occur in the UK. Sir Barnes Wallis spent a lot of time at Ashley Walk.
Bouncing bombs were trialed here - both 'Upkeep' dropped by the Dambusters and 'highball' dropped from Mosquitos.
One of the Dambusters (Serial number ED765/G - the 'G' designating it top secret) crashed here, but luckily all the crew escaped unharmed.
There is still a lot of evidence of Range activities, though in some places it's easy to miss;
The base of a metal ship target.
Concrete submarine pens(!) - part buried but you can see this quite clearly.
Over 400 bomb craters. There are a couple of 'Tallboy' craters that are very obvious. One is full of water and makes a circular pond.
Many chalk targets still exist as huge crosses and circles. There is a 'Linear target' that is a straight line for a considerable distance.
The largest target is approx 1 mile across looking like a massive dartboard, and is easiest to view on google earth.
The sole remaining building is an observation shelter which overlooks the fragmentation bombing area, though it now stands somewhat forlornly alone.
I would recommend getting a copy of 'Ashely Walk - It's Bombing Range Landscape and History' by Anthony Pasmore & Norman Parker ISBN 0952388855, available from Lyndhurst Visitor Centre.
Written Jun 4, 2010
Address: Near Godshill, Hampshire
Beaulieu, pronounced "Bjuli", is a very picturesque village in the New Forest. While there is not too much to do in the village itself, except taking pictures of the lovely houses and street scenes or relax at the lakeshore and watch some of the wild ponies of the national park, there is one sight which makes Beaulieu quite unique: The National Motor Museum. Located on the grounds of a former monastery which dates back to the early 13th century and the premises of Lord Montagu's castle, the museum exhibits more than 250 vehicles from the very beginning of the era of automobiles to today's cars. It's especially great to see this place if you travel with children: they can drive little cars by themselves or go for a ride with the overhead railway that circles the grounds. Moreover, probably every boy is fascinated when he sees a real formula 1 race car just in front of him... - at least I was when I visited this place at the age of 10.
Written Jun 1, 2010
As the New Forest stretches all the way down to the sea, you can combine your visit with some swimming at one of the beaches. Most of the villages next to the sea seem to have at least a small strip of beach, although most of them are pebble or gravel beaches. We visited three beaches: Key Haven, Milford on Sea and Lepe.
1. Key Haven: This is a picturesque beach with pebbles of all sizes and colours. While not really convenient to walk on, it is very popular with fishermen who try to make a big catch here. It's also a nice place for a picknick on the beach - we saw several people having a barbecue there. A kilometer or so away on a spit is Hurst Castle, built in 1544 to defend the shore against enemies coming from the sea.
2. Milford on Sea: Milford is a popular tourism destination and can get quite full in summertime. We visited its beach for the sunset and really enjoyed the spectacular view. There is a parking lot just next to the beach where you can stop and get a good view on the groynes, the beach cottages and of course the Isle of Wight in the distance. Bear in mind, however, that the parking lot officially wants you to pay and display until 10pm! I doubt that any police officer would come and check at that time, but you never know...
3. Lepe: Lepe is a very small place hidden at the end of a side-road branching off of B3054. Nonetheless, it is apparently very popular with the locals - there were hundreds of people there when we visited. Lepe has got a relatively long strip of beach, mostly gravel beach. There is even a little restaurant, but beware: It's got the worst food you can imagine! (see my warnings tip) We enjoyed Lepe's beach very much because it is really picturesque.
Written May 26, 2010