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
***** Coronavirus - for information about New Forest access restrictions and related matters, check out the Forestry England website and the websites of the individual venues you wish to visit. *****

Moors Valley Country Park and Forest

Go Ape at Moors Valley Country Park
Go Ape at Moors Valley Country Park

Located at Ashley Heath, 4 kilometres (2½ miles) east of Ringwood and 16 kilometres (10 miles) north of Bournemouth, Moors Valley Country Park and Forest offers a wide range of activities for all the family.

Children and young-at-heart adults can enjoy a ride on a miniature steam railway, or Go Ape, unleashing their inner Tarzan on a unique tree-top adventure of high wires, exhilarating zip wires and tricky crossings using ladders, walkways, bridges and tunnels made of wood, rope and super-strong wire. (A Go Ape Treetop Junior course is available for the under 10s). Note: Pre-booking is essential for Go Ape.

Visitors to the park’s play trail can explore the inside of a giant ants' nest, climb and crawl through towers and tunnels, slide inside giant snakes, attempt the crocodile crossing and find a way through the pond maze; whilst the nearby tree top trail offers a 5 metre high, 200 metre long wooden walk-way up amongst the trees.

The adventure play area, designed specially for older children, includes a zip slide, a huge space net, a climbing boulder and a fortress of towers and crossings with a long tube slide; and for younger children there is the castle and sandworks area.

Even the legendary Gruffalo is present in the form of a beautifully carved life-size sculpture.

Walkers and cyclists are well-catered for by many miles of paths and tracks - visitors can bring their own bikes or choose from a wide selection, including child bikes, trailers and tag-a-longs, that can be hired from the on-site cycle hire centre.

An 18-hole golf course extends along the valley of the Moors River, covers a total of 6,337 yards and includes four par 5s, ten par 4s and four par 3s; whilst there is also a four-hole short course with holes ranging from 56 to 80 yards. (Other golf practice facilities include nets, chipping and putting greens).

A specially constructed fitness trail provides a wide variety of exercise options and features ten stations positioned along a 2 mile route through the forest - walk or jog between the stations and follow the instructions to perform suggested exercises. An orienteering course suitable for walkers, runners and mountain bikers is also a popular feature of the park and so is angling on Moors Lake, a stretch of water that contains quality size, regularly caught roach, rudd, tench, perch and dace.

Wildlife is inevitably attracted to the lake and the wide variety of other natural habitats. Birds, dragonflies, damselflies, fungi, reptiles and wild flowers, for example, are all present in good numbers.

(Moors Valley Country Park and Forest)

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
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 small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley