Written by Carlene
To kick things off and for our first ever CampShare blog I thought why not share with you where we are from. In the South of England lies the New Forest; A beautiful National Park rich in Forest and Heathlands that are teaming with wildlife and adventure on our doorstep. It’s the place Nathan and I are lucky to call ‘Home’ and there is ample Camp Sites nestled right in the Forest to choose from.
The New Forest is largely owned by the Crown and managed by the Forestry Commission. It was named the ‘Nova Foresta’ which means ‘The New Forest’ by William the Conqueror in 1079AD and it was originally an area to protect the animals for the chase. It consists of a cluster of charming Villages and Towns surrounded by Forest and also Beaches as we are on the Coast.
Without a doubt, one of the biggest charms is the Wildlife in the Forest which it is densely populated with. Tourists are guaranteed a glimpse of the famous New Forest Ponies who not only roam the Forest and Heathlands but also the towns and villages. The native Donkeys are often seen here as they prefer to graze on the hedgerows of the locals! And in Early September the Commoners take part in the age-old pannage, where pigs are let loose on the Forest to eat the acorns.
If you wonder further into the Forest and prefer a quieter stroll you may come across one of the five species of deer we have here and if this floats your boat, dawn and dusk are the best times to keep an eye out for them. We also have Cattle of more than a dozen breeds, ranging from the typical Fresian Cow to the winter-ready Highland Cattle.
Of the smaller breeds of animals, there are rabbits, badgers, foxes, lizards, snakes, and of course birds. Too many to mention them all but you are guaranteed a sighting. We have Buzzards, Owls, Hawks and smaller species of Crossbills and Curlews.
Here’s a handful of my favourite spots I think you will also love;
One of my utmost favourite places to go in the Summer is the river at Fordingbridge. You can take a picnic and stay for the whole day. A 30- minute drive from our house and we’re at one of the most relaxing places that the Forest has to offer.
We typically go with our family and take a kayak as the river is shallow enough for the kids to take a net and catch fish, but then deep enough to explore in a kayak. It’s a lovely stroll into the village if you fancy it and there is also a park there with a playing field, splash park and an ice cream kiosk.
One of the larger Port Towns in The New Forest, Lymington has something for everyone. Home to one of the largest Charter Street Markets on a Saturday, it really is one of the best Markets I’ve ever been too. You can find local produce, plants, craft items, household goods, kids stalls and plenty more.
You can walk the cobbled street to the harbour where you will find a good array of seafood and some lovely places to eat. Also down by the harbour is the oldest open-air, salt water bath in the UK. A great place to visit with the kids, it has an inflatable obstacle course, bathing, and SUP section. (If SUP is your thing – pay these guys a visit – they are just down the road in Milford and pros at what they do! https://www.thenewforestpaddlesportcompany.co.uk/
Lymington is also where one of our best-loved campsites is – Hurstview. The owners are so laid back and it’s central to everything in Lymington while still feeling ‘out of the way’ and private. There is fields for tents and campers and hard standing with electric hook-ups too.
A small village in the Western area of the New Forest, it is famous for its history of Witchcraft and a visit to the coven of Witches is definitely recommended.
Burley is untouched by time and you will find tea rooms, gift shops, art galleries and if Cider is your thing – they even have a cider farm! You can get a great Sunday Roast in the Queens Head Pub and there’s a fab Horse and Cart ride which you can take from the Car Park. It gives you a tour around the Forest as you listen to stories of Burley and The New Forest.
The Ornamental Drive and Arboretum is a great place to get out and have a walk. The trees are absolutely phenomenal and some of the tallest in England.
Just a 5-minute drive from our house this long stretch of shingle beach is popular with wind and kite surfers and people swim here all year round.
There’s ample parking, a cute little café and for the kids there is a play-park packed full of climbing, swinging, and jumping apparatus with a sensory garden to explore too.
We will often go there to visit the park, for a day of swimming with the kids in the Summer and to walk the dogs. There’s a great spot ‘up the top’ for a picnic too. It’s an extensive green with plenty of space to picnic and play ball games.
Beaulieu is a medieval village packed full of things to see and do. The National Motor Museum is regarded as one of the best days out in the South and Beaulieu Abbey, which was home to the monks is a fascinating place to explore.
Every year we go to the Beaulieu Fireworks as they put on the best display to music and with a fun fair and entry to the museum – it’s a bargain!
The Beaulieu river is also a majestic place, with the walk from Beaulieu to Bucklers Hard taking you right along it. You can rent boats and canoes too from New Forest Activities. https://www.newforestactivities.co.uk/
Famous for being the burial site of Alice Lidell and her links to Alice in Wonderland you will find the shops and tea rooms here are aptly themed. The shops are quaint and unique and there’s some great traditional British pubs to eat in too.
At the bottom of the High Street lies Meridien Modena, a car dealer well-known for it’s stock of Ferarri’s and tourists often stop here to take a photo with one.
Boltons Bench is probably one of the best walks in Lyndhurst to explore the Forest itself and I’ve seen the White Stag here a few times. In the Winter the hill at Boltons Bench is the best place in the area for sledding and some fun in the snow.
So that wraps up my handful of favourite places!
Thanks for reading and if you ever decide to visit the area, feel free to contact us and ask for advice on locations, sites etc – I’d be more than happy to help.