Lyndhurst is often thought of as the Capital of the New Forest - it enjoys a broadly central location, is surrounded by relatively fertile land, and stands at a junction of historic routes.
Lyndhurst had its own Royal manor house, and was - and still is - home of the Verderers’ Hall, the meeting place of the ancient Verderers’ Court whose history stretches back to at least the 13th century.
Lyndhurst race ground was, until the late-19th century, a popular attraction; and Lyndhurst used to be the home of the New Forest pony sales.
Lyndhurst: Capital of the New Forest? Absolutely!
Lyndhurst: the name in its earlier form, Lindhyrst, dates back to at least Anglo-Saxon times, and means ‘lime wood’, although Lyndhurst now, in common with much of Britain, has few lime trees.
Lyndhurst was well-described in the mid-19th century by John Wise, who remarked: ‘The people of Lyndhurst ought, I always think, to be the happiest and most contented in England, for they possess a wider park and nobler trees than even Royalty. You cannot leave the place in any direction without going through the Forest.
And today, John Wise's comments still apply - woodlands lap against the outskirts of Lyndhurst, inviting exploration by walkers and cyclists along many miles of gravel tracks and countless lesser used paths.
But the area around Lyndhurst comprises heathlands, too, heathlands that in spring are yellow with gorse, and in summer richly purple with heather blooms. These are places that hold abundant wildlife, including many species that are not often encountered elsewhere.
Lyndhurst is a great place for families to enjoy fresh air and wide, open spaces, for around Bolton's Bench, within walking distance of Lyndhurst village centre, are extensive grasslands with turf kept short by commoners' stock - the ponies, donkeys and cattle that can be seen throughout the area.
Here, there is ample room to play football, cricket and other ball games; to fly kites, watch the cricket or just relax with book or newspaper.
As befits the Capital of the New Forest, the local Forestry Commission headquarters are located in Lyndhurst - in Queen’s House, at the very top of Lyndhurst High Street; whilst close by is Lyndhurst's splendidly Gothic, Victorian parish church of St. Michael and All Angels with its impressive 49 metre (160 foot) spire.
Lyndhurst also hosts the New Forest Centre. Situated in Lyndhurst's main car park, it is a purpose-built red brick building housing the New Forest Museum, Gift Shop, Reference Library and New Forest Tourist Information Office.
Opened in 1988 by the Duke of Edinburgh, the museum has displays illustrative of New Forest life in days gone-by, and is a ‘must-visit’ for anybody with an interest in the New Forest and its history. The Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library on the upper floor also has a wide range of local interest books and other documents.
At the opposite end of Lyndhurst car park, Lyndhurst Community Centre offers refreshments on Saturday mornings, and is the year-round venue for a wide range of events and activities - antique auctions, craft and gift fairs, book fairs, farmers' markets and more.
Lyndhurst today is well-served by shops, tea rooms, pubs and restaurants. There are six pubs, for example, all of which serve food; whilst the nearby hamlets of Bank, Emery Down and Swan Green boast another three pubs that also have well-respected kitchens.
Those seeking out a restaurant in which to eat will not be disappointed, either - Lyndhurst has Italian, Indian and Chinese restaurants, and others associated with the local hotels - a veritable gourmet's delight.
And those wanting accommodation in Lyndhurst can choose from a number of hotels, guesthouses, and bed and breakfast establishments; whilst nearby Pondhead Farm offers its own camping facilities.Quick links
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Village of the Year Results
Lyndhurst is proud to be able to announce that it came 'runner-up' in the Fullers' Hampshire and Isle of Wight Village of the Year competition 2014. This was an excellent result, considering the number of villages that originally entered, and Lyndhurst was only just pipped to the post by Bembridge.
Thanks need to go to all who actively took part in representing the village to the adjudicators, including the parish council, the community centre and many local charities, societies and clubs.
The village also picked up a Hampshire and Isle of Wight Community Federation (HIWCF) award for 'Community Cohesion and Resilience'.
And finally, the community centre manager, John Charlesworth, picked up an award for being 'an Inspirational Individual'.
All three certificates are proudly on show in reception at the Community Centre for all to see. Well done Lyndhurst!
Good News for the Cricket Club
Lyndhurst and Ashurst Cricket Club have just completed their 2014 season. This year saw the club return to the Hampshire Cricket League for the first time in 10 years. The team managed to win their league at the first attempt.
It was much the same story with the Taurus Border evening league team who also gained promotion. A colt's team also played matches at Bolton's Bench for the first time for many years. The club entered an under-9 side who performed extremely well. Sunday morning coaching has seen 20-30 youngsters turn up regularly for training.
The club played a full season of Sunday friendly matches and has recently been awarded £10,000 from the Big Lottery Fund to replace the thatch on the pavilion. Further fundraising to cover the full costs is on-going but donations are always welcome.
Lyndhurst and Ashurst Cricket Club would welcome sponsors, volunteers, players and social members, for further information please refer to the club website or contact Angela Tuck on 023 8078 3832.