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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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New Forest places to stay - an introduction

New Forest donkeys are a popular sight with visitors to the area
New Forest donkeys are a
popular sight with visitors to the area

The larger New Forest villages - Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley, Lyndhurst and Sway - offer a wide choice of accommodation to suit all tastes and budgets, whilst many of the smaller hamlets provide attractive places to stay for those who prefer to be a little ‘off-the-beaten-track’.

Caravan and campsites are also well-spread around the area and include those on the Crown Lands managed by 'Camping in the Forest', and a further range of privately owned sites.

New Forest places to stay - the larger villages at a glance

Lyndhurst (A)

Lyndhurst, often considered to be the capital of the New Forest, is an ever-popular destination for visitors attracted, in part, by its many and varied shops, cafes, pubs and restaurants. Access to the open Forest is readily available, including via Bolton’s Bench, an area of grassland on the village outskirts ideal for kite flying, football and cricket, and for simply relaxing in the fresh air. The New Forest Centre, situated off the main car park, provides a fascinating glimpse of Forest life in days-gone-by, whilst the popular Community Centre hosts a range of events and activities.

Brockenhurst (B)

Brockenhurst, a bustling but traditional village in the heart of the New Forest, provides direct access to extensive tracts of woodland and heathland so much appreciated by walkers, cyclists and those who simply want to relax in the countryside. The parish church of St. Nicholas is thought to be the oldest church in the New Forest. Lymington, an attractive Georgian market town from where a ferry can be taken for a day out on the Isle of Wight, is only 7 kilometres (4¼ miles) away; whilst the coastline between Lymington and Keyhaven offers further variety.

Beaulieu (C)

Beaulieu, a delightful village located in the south-east of the New Forest, grew up in the shadow of the nearby Cistercian Abbey, founded way back in 1204. Now the site of Palace House and the National Motor Museum – both open to the public throughout the year – the Abbey was dissolved by Henry VIII in 1538. Nearby Buckler’s Hard provides a taste of 18th century living, the Montagu Arms Hotel in Beaulieu village centre offers fine food and wines, whilst the tidal mill-pool is home to a wide range of wildlife.

Burley (D)

Burley, set close to the western edge of the New Forest, is a picturesque village of modest size where ponies and other commoners’ animals wander the streets, just as they have from time immemorial. Conveniently located for forays into the relatively rugged, western and north-western sections of the New Forest, the village also provides a useful base for days out to the coast at Christchurch and Bournemouth, for visits to the nearby Avon valley for those who wish to experience rural tranquility away from the New Forest, and for a trip to the impressive cathedral city of Salisbury.

Sway (E)

Sway is around 4.5 kilometres (2¾ miles) south-west of Brockenhurst. A small(ish) village just outside the old New Forest perambulation, yet within the New Forest National Park, Sway has a railway station on the Weymouth / Bournemouth / Southampton / London Waterloo main line, and a number of shops, pubs, restaurants, bed and breakfast premises, hotels and numerous residential properties.

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New Forest seasonal highlights
May
Bluebells and other wild flowers brighten the woods, usually in relatively small numbers.
Bird song can be heard throughout the day but is at its loudest at dawn and, to a lesser extent, dusk.
Foals are born in increasing numbers and can be seen beside ever-attentive mares.
Dragonflies are more frequently observed on the wing as spring progresses.

June
Badgers can now often be watched above ground well before darkness falls.
Deer - fallow, red, roe, sika and muntjac deer are all present - give birth, although the youngsters are unlikely to be noticed until July.
Heath spotted-orchids add delicate pink colour to many of the heaths.
Hobbies, dashing birds of prey, can often be seen aloft, hawking for insects.
New Forest ponies
New Forest ponies in the road
New Forest ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but in 2015, 55 were killed on the roads.
Always take care when driving
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
May 2017
Sunday, 7th - Burley Village Hall, Visions LifeForce, 10.30am - 5.00pm.
Saturday, 20th - Ringwood Fanfare for Spring - International Festival of Street Performance Art, various locations around the town, 10.30am - 4.30pm.
Wednesday, 31st - Wild Wednesday, New Forest Reptile Centre, 10.30am - 4.00pm.

June 2017
Monday, 5th - Burley Village Hall, Film Night, 7.30pm.
All of May and then on until Sunday, 11th June - Exbury Gardens, Four Seasons Art Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.00pm.
All of May and then on until Sunday, 9th July - New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Special Exhibition - All Trees are Clocks, 10.00am - 4.30pm.
Saturday, 17th - Walkies Workshop, Beaulieu Heath car park, 1.00pm - 3.00pm. Forestry Commission event.
View the full 'What's on' programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley