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Things to do in the New Forest

Things to do in the New ForestThe New Forest. Only 90 minutes from Central London. Home to stunning ancient woodland, wild ponies and cliff-top walks. And a great place to camp for a weekend. During the May Bank Holiday, we visited Ashurst in the New Forest. It was our very first trip to the area, as well as our first camping trip too. So if you’re considering a visit, here are some of my suggestions.

Go Camping

CampingImage credit: Dan Moore

I’m sure there are plenty of lovely hotels and places to stay in the area. But what better way to enjoy it than to camp amongst it? The New Forest is home to a number of campsites. But as we were reliant on public transport, we opted to stay at the Ashurst Campsite, which is run by Camping in the Forest. They also have nine other campsites located in the New Forest, so there are plenty of places to choose from. From the time we were up to the time we went to bed, we were free to explore the forest with ease. Enjoying a cup of tea, listening to the bird’s chirp and watching the wild ponies roam around, is what a trip to the New Forest is all about.

Spot Wild Ponies

Wild ponies in the New ForestImage credit: Dan Moore

The New Forest is absolutely teaming with wildlife. As well as the much smaller birds, insects and tiny mammals, you’ll also find donkeys, cattle, deer and ponies. Everywhere you go in the area you’ll see ponies or at least evidence of them somewhere. This photo was taken whilst at our campsite, so I do mean it when I say they go everywhere. As much as they’re cute, they are wild and free-roaming. So please do not feed the ponies or attempt to stroke them. They do bite! And just be careful when walking, cycling or driving. They have the right of way every single time.

Join a New Forest Walking Route 

Image credit: Dan Moore

As we don’t have a car, we enjoyed exploring the New Forest on foot. And hey, everyone says that seeing it without four wheels is the better way to see it anyway. The New Forest has over 140 miles of tracks and footpaths for visitors to make use of. And during these walks, you’ll discover wild, yet beautiful scenery, free-roaming ponies and even a deer or two. There is a range of walking routes to discover, ranging from short strolls and easy walking tracks to long-distance trails.

Afternoon tea in Lyndhurst

Afternoon tea in LyndhurstDuring our stay in Ashurst, we headed to the closest town, which happens to be Lyndhurst. The capital of the New Forest. It’s had this label ever since William the Conqueror established the area as his new hunting forest. Over the years royalty has visited the area and it’s not short of visitors in this day and age too. Lyndhurst is a great place to grab a spot of breakfast or lunch. But for me, my heart was set on an afternoon tea. Especially after all the walking and cycling we had done during our weekend. There are plenty of tea rooms in Lyndhurst that will serve afternoon tea, as it is extremely popular in the area. We opted for Peggy May’s Cafe and it really was wonderful!

Hire a Bike

Bike Hire in Lyndhurst

Cycling is also another great way to explore the area. So after a pretty lengthy walk into Lyndhurst from Ashurst. And after knowing how expensive the bus was, we decided to hire a bike to continue our exploration. We got our bikes from The Woods Cyclery and I would absolutely recommend them to anyone. The staff were super helpful- letting us know that bike theft had been happening on the various campsites in the area. As well as providing us with a route map and some instructions on how to join the cycle route close to the shop. The instructions were good, but we still managed to get lost! Cycling around the forest is quick and easy and allows you to cover more ground than if you were walking. Ideal for anyone short on time.

There is so much to see and do when in the New Forest. And my list barely scratches the surface. If you need any more advice about what to see and do in the area or want some more information about the campsite we stayed on, let me know. Just leave a comment below.

Until next time.

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