New Forest
 - Explorers
New Forest
Explorers Guide
days out in the New Forest composite image
Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park

New Forest activities

The New Forest offers many activities, whether simple relaxation is preferred or something a little more strenuous is sought. Walking, cycling, wildlife watching and exploring the local villages are ever-popular, but there are many more New Forest activities from which to choose, ranging from relaxing on a New Forest lawn to taking the family swimming at a local recreation centre. Here are some great examples:

Featured activity

Insight Activities
Enjoy an Archery session, Crossbow Shooting, Axe Throwing and Archery Battlefield Combat in a relaxed environment with expert tuition; or discover the hidden secrets of the New Forest during a unique, ecologist-led wildlife walk. For more details, ring 07752 30 20 10.
New Forest Tour
New Forest Tour
Take a ride on a New Forest Tour open top bus and see the National Park in style. Tours run daily, usually from the end of June or early July to early or mid-September, and offer a choice of three routes that, on the same ticket, enable passengers to hop on and off wherever they wish, switch between routes and take their cycles along, too.

The red route passes through Lyndhurst and takes in Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Godshill, Brook, Cadnam and Ashurst.

The green route also passes through Lyndhurst and goes on to Brockenhurst, Lymington, Beaulieu, Exbury and Hythe.

The blue route visits Brockenhurst, Lymington, Milford-on-Sea, Barton-on-Sea, New Milton and Burley.

The tour buses link with many places of interest and a wide range of walks and cycle rides, including ten Lyndhurst Walks, four Brockenhurst Walks and most of the New Forest Cycle Rides.

Further details can be found on the New Forest Tour website, including information about routes and fares.

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest
Moors Valley Country Park and Forest - a little outside the National Park boundary - offers a wide range of activities for those who enjoy the great outdoors, including Go Ape, the UK's No. 1 forest adventure, and lots more to do that will keep children happy and entertained.
Take it easy
Barbecues and the great outdoors are just made for each other.
A family activity, particularly for those with young children.
Steam engines regularly thunder across the New Forest.
Wide, open grassy spaces are ideal for simple relaxation, kite flying and ball games. Check out the location of some of the best in the New Forest.
Cricket pitches offer the opportunity to watch local teams pit their wits and skills against others from around the area as bemused ponies often look on.
Hill-top viewpoints provide wonderful experiences for those who appreciate the scenery.
The nearby coastline offers attractive walks, whilst sandy beaches are not too far away.
New Forest streams invariably provide an ideal environment for short strolls and longer walks.
This selection of Forestry Commission car parks can be used as start points for many walks in the woods - along gravel tracks or lesser pathways.
Walkers in the New Forest
Enjoy a little sport
New Forest golf courses are often shared with the local ponies and cattle.
Experience some of the best river fishing in England, or visit local ponds and lakes.
The nearby coast offers unforgettable sea fishing from shore and boat.
An ever-popular New Forest activity, horse riding can be enjoyed singly, with friends or family or in larger groups using ponies available to hire from local stables.
Fully staffed 110m sea water pool with inflatable obstacle courses, water zorbs, stand up paddle boards, kayaks, aqua jousting and much more.
Indoor pools are attractive for children whilst gyms, sports halls and squash courts provide facilities that are perhaps best appreciated on duller days.
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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%. And in the full year, 63 animals were killed on the roads compared to 56 in 2017.
** Always take care when driving **
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
July 2019
Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 4th, 5th and 6th - Burley Village Hall, Burley Players' summer production.
Friday, 12th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film night, Wild Rose (15), 7.00pm - 10.30pm.
Wednesday, 24th - New Forest Reptile Centre, Wild Wednesday, 10.30am - 3.30pm.

August 2019
Sunday, 4th to Sunday, 11th - Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Art Society Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.00pm.
Saturday and Sunday, 17th and 18th - New Park, Brockenhurst, Polo in the heart of the New Forest - watch, learn and enjoy.
Saturday, 31st - Burley Village Hall, Craft Fayre, 10.30am to 5.00pm.

For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
New Forest seasonal highlights
Silver-washed fritillary butterflies brighten many woodland rides.
Bird song subsides as the annual moult begins, old worn feathers are cast off and new replacements grown.
Wild gladiolus plants bloom. (In the UK, this species is found only in the New Forest).
Dragonflies and Damselflies take to the wing in ever increasing numbers.

Heather blossom produces huge swathes of heathland colour, adding to the pinks and purples of earlier flowering cross-leaved heath and bell heather.
Fallow, red and sika deer antlers, when fully grown, are cleaned of velvet in preparation for the autumn rut.
New Forest pony drifts - the annual round-ups begin.
Painted Lady butterflies have arrived in some parts of the UK in large numbers, having travelled all the way from Africa. Look out for them throughout the New Forest.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley