- The New Forest
Originally commandeered in 1079 as a deer hunting area by William I (William the Conqueror), the New Forest, in Hampshire, is a national nature reserve 93,000 acres in area. It is, and has been for centuries, the natural home of the New Forest Ponies. Ponies, cattle, donkeys and pigs are allowed to roam freely; they are privately owned by commoners, who pay a small fee for grazing rights. Please drive carefully as you will find these animals all over the New Forest roads.
Today the New Forest is an outstanding recreational area for walking, riding and enjoying the wide range of wildlife and plant species.
There is a rich variety of trees to be found in the Forest including beech, oak, crab apple, silver birch, blackthorn and hawthorn. Common plants include heather, fern, orchids, bog aspodel, sphagnum moss, violets, butcher's broom, mushrooms and many varieties of fungi.
Tourist AttractionsNational Motor Museum Beaulieu
A superb collection of every type of motorcar and motorcycle from British motoring through the years. Visit also Beaulieu Abbey ruins, a 13th Century home to Cistercian monks and Palace House and Gardens.
Tel: 01590 612345
Paultons Park Nr Cadnam
An ideal family day out offering a variety of activities including rides, Dinosaurland, collection of exotic birds in beautiful gardens or step into the past in the Romany Experience. There is even plenty for younger children! Also restaurants, picnic areas and shops.
Tel: 023 8081 4455
Alice In Wonderland Family Park Christchurch, Dorset
Aimed particularly at younger children, this adventure park has an Alice in Wonderland theme and includes rides and attractions together with a pantomime show based on Lewis Carroll's famous stories. Other attractions include junior go-carts, bouncy castle, farmyard animals and a maze.
Tel: 01202 483444
New Forest Water Park Nr Ringwood
The water park has something for all ages. Learn to waterski, jetski or experience the exciting Aquaride. Full changing facilities available.
Tel: 01425 656868
Furzey Gardens Minstead, Nr Lyndhurst
A delightful, informal garden which retains its charm during all seasons and offers great views over the New Forest. Includes picnic venue with a lake, 16th century cottage, art and craft galleries and children's play area.
Tel: 023 80 812464
The New Forest Otter and Owl Centre Long Down, Ashurst, Southampton
A great opportunity to see, in their natural surroundings, otters, owls, deer, badgers and other wildlife to be found in the New Forest. Includes picnic areas, tearoom and souvenir shop.
Tel: 023 80 292408
Long Down Dairy Farm Long Down, Ashurst, Southampton
All kinds of farm animals can be stroked and fed by the visitors. See, also, the cows being milked and learn about present day farming. Children's play area and picnic area.
Tel: 023 80 293326
New Forest Museum Lyndhurst
Discover how the New Forest came into existence and about its varied wildlife, through displays, artifacts and models. Includes a gift shop specialising in local crafts.
Tel: 023 80 283914
Bucklers Hard Maritime Museum and Village Nr Beaulieu
Situated on the banks of the Beaulieu River, this historic village is where ships for Nelson's fleet were built. There are a number of riverside cottages and a small chapel which have been restored to portray life during 18th Century.
Open: March-May 10am-6pm daily, June-Sept 10am-9pm daily, during the winter months 10am-4.30pm. Tel: 01590 616203
New Forest Tourist Information CentresLymington Tourist Information Centre
St Barb Museum & Visitor Centre, New Street, Lymington, Hampshire, SO41 9BH. Tel: 01590 689000
Lyndhurst Tourist Information Centre
New Forest Museum & Visitor Centre, Main Car Park, Lyndhurst, Hampshire, SO43 7NY. Tel: 023 8028 2269
Ringwood Tourist Information Centre
The Furlong, Ringwood, BH24 1AZ. Tel: 01425 470896
Southampton Tourist Information Centre
9 Civic Centre Road, Southampton, SO14 7FJ. Tel: 023 8022 1106