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 five 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 Thai 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.
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Police beat surgeries
You may have noticed that Hampshire Police are longer holding their monthly beat surgeries in the Library. Surgeries are still being held in the village, however, with the next ones on Sunday 3rd July, firstly at St Michael's church from 10.30am (during the coffee before the morning service) and at the Baptist Church in Chapel Lane from 11.15am, after the service.
Our new Beat Officers are PC20127 Steven Norris and PCSO 14495 Richard Williams. They can be contacted on 07554 775477 if you have any problems in your local community, but please remember that in an emergency you should always dial 999.
Big Friendly Reading Challenge
The Library's Summer Reading Challenge with a Roald Dahl theme continues throughout August and there is still time to join in. As well as the reading, there will be some craft activities for children - from 1st to 6th August it's Crocodile Craft and from 15th to 20th August you can Build a Beard! (Activities are during normal library opening times.) Ask at the Library for more details.
Please note that the Library will be closed on Bank Holiday Monday (29th August.)
Freedom of the District - Parade of troops and regimental band through Lyndhurst
Troops from 17 Port and Maritime Regiment, Royal Logistic Corps, will march through Lyndhurst on the afternoon of 25th September to mark the granting of the Freedom of the District to the Marchwood-based regiment by New Forest District Council.
Honorary Freedom gives the regiment the 'right, honour and distinction of marching through the streets of the New Forest District on all ceremonial occasions with swords drawn, bayonets fixed and drums beating, bands playing, and colours flying.'
This honour will be marked by a ceremony at the council's Appletree Court in Lyndhurst and a parade by the troops and the regimental band along Lyndhurst High Street. Local residents are invited to watch the parade and should be aware that there will be a short period of road closures during the afternoon. Look out for more details around Lyndhurst nearer the time or check www.newforest.gov.uk