Brockenhurst, an attractive village situated in the heart of the New Forest, is a place where centuries-old thatched cottages mingle with more recently constructed properties.
Brockenhurst is well-served by modern transport facilities, including a main-line railway station. The A337 also runs through the village, providing a link with the M27 motorway at Cadnam, but in a somewhat fortunate accident of history, this busy road by-passes the centre of Brockenhurst, leaving the main street relatively free of through traffic.
Indeed, away from the hurly burly of the main road, commoners’ stock roam wherever the fancy takes them - it is not unusual, for example, to see ponies and donkeys wandering the streets or loitering in the modestly sized central car park.
Brockenhurst, thankfully, has avoided many of the trappings of modern tourism, and whilst a mini-supermarket is present, other shops hint at times with gentler pace of life. (Brockenhurst can perhaps best be summed up as a lively, but largely traditional village).
Brockenhurst has, for example, butcher, baker and green grocer's shops; newsagent, ironmonger, post office, chemist, florist, hairdresser, book shop, antique shop and patisserie / boulangerie.
Brockenhurst also has its fair share of pubs, and, of course, appetites sharpened by New Forest walks can be satisfied in these pubs or in the local fish and chip shop, Chinese take-away, tea rooms, bistro and restaurants.
Brockenhurst is close to the open lands of the New Forest, making it an ideal base for those who wish to explore on foot. To the north-east, for example, the grasslands of Balmer Lawn give way to magnificent old woodlands. To the west can be found extensive areas of heathland. And for those prepared to travel a little further afield, Brockenhurst is a mere 5 kilometres (3 miles) from the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and Blackwater Arboretum.
Water, too, is quite a feature of Brockenhurst. A picturesque ford, the Watersplash, is at the western end of the main shopping street, and although for much of the year the flow is gentle or the road dry, after heavy rain, when water levels rise, those taking car or bicycle through face a somewhat daunting prospect.
Similarly, another equally picturesque, but less well-known Brockenhurst ford is at the appropriately named Waters Green.
Brockenhurst is conveniently located for the New Forest and Hampshire County Show and other events hosted at New Park - 2.5 kilometres (1½ miles) away.
The Village Hall, meanwhile, situated in Highwood Road - a short distance south of the main street - hosts events that are popular with locals and visitors alike – photographic exhibitions, for example, and barn dances, antique fairs and regular meetings of a variety of village clubs and other organisations.
Brockenhurst offers plentiful overnight accommodation ranging from imposing, top class hotels, through to many excellent bed and breakfast establishments. Brockenhurst also caters well for campers and caravanners. On the outskirts of the village, at Hollands Wood, for example, is a large camp site operated by Camping in the Forest, whilst another site can be found 2.5 kilometres (1½ miles) away from Brockenhurst, at Aldridge Hill. There is also a separate, Camping and Caravanning Club site at Aldridge Hill.
Brockenhurst is home to the ever-popular New Forest and Hampshire County Show.
Ponies and donkeys can still be seen wandering along Brockenhurst’s main shopping street.
Brockenhurst parish church - of St. Nicholas - is said to be the oldest church in the New Forest.
Brockenhurst was the site of a First World War field hospital.
The railway came to Brockenhurst in 1847, whilst the branch line to Lymington opened in 1858.
Brockenhurst College is one of the most successful tertiary and sixth form colleges in the UK, and offers outstanding learning opportunities.
The name of Brockenhurst’s Railway Inn was changed to The Snakecatcher in memory of Brusher Mills, a local catcher of snakes.
Brockenhurst Village Hall: http://www.brockenhurstvillage.org.uk/
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