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:

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.
Hatchet Pond
Hatchet Pond is the largest area of fresh water hereabouts. It's an ever-popular picnic spot, a place to sit, relax and simply watch the world go by. New Forest ponies and other animals graze the margins and loiter at the water's edge, wildlife is abundant and for those who enjoy a stroll, the pond makes a good start point for a variety of waterside, heathland and woodland walks.

Fishing permits are available and for history enthusiasts, the site of East Boldre Airfield - one of the UK's first airfields dating back to before the First World War - is nearby, and so is the site of the Second World War, RAF Beaulieu airfield.

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 and other animals**
New Forest ponies in the road
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Outrageously, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cattle, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.
** Always take care when driving **
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
January 2020
Friday, 10th to Sunday, 12th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Brockenhurst Players present - Cinderella and the Velvet Slipper.
Saturday, 11th to Sunday, 8th March - New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, New Forest Camera Club Exhibition, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Saturday, 18th - Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Book Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Friday, 24th - Friends of St Barbe, Lymington; Reverends, Royalty and Robberies - a talk by Sarah Newman, 7.30pm - 8.30pm.

February 2020
Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd; Saturday and Sunday, 8th and 9th - Vernon Theatre, Sandy Lane, Lyndhurst - Lyndhurst Drama and Musical Society present Aladdin.
Friday, 28th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Singer / Songwriter, John Adams, 8.00pm - 11.30pm.

For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
New Forest seasonal highlights
Honeysuckle, an early harbinger of spring, shows signs of new growth.
Bird sounds - great tit calls and mistle thrush song, for example, are increasingly heard as the days lengthen and spring rapidly approaches.
Foxes breed during the early months of the year. Their presence is betrayed by barks after darkness falls.

Great grey shrikes hunt over heathland from tree-top vantage points and other perches.
Grey squirrels are often best seen in winter when deciduous trees are devoid of leaves.
Red Admirals and other butterflies that over-winter as adults may be on the wing on warm, bright days.
Roe deer
antlers continue to develop - they are cast and re-grown annually.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley