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.
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Lyndhurst Scouts in need of Leaders
Do you enjoy being outdoors and helping young people? If so, you may well be just the person that Lyndhurst Scouts and Cubs are looking for. They are in very urgent need of some extra people to help run the group and would love to hear from you. Contact Tim Le Bas at firstname.lastname@example.org or Robin Mair at email@example.com or telephone Tim on 023 8028 2804.
Volunteering opportunities with the RNLI
Could you become an RNLI fundraising volunteer? If so we'd love to hear from you! Please contact Roseanne Blaze by phone on 07917041882 or by email at Roseanne_Blaze@rnli.org.uk.
Half-term craft activity for children
Drop in to Lyndhurst Library any day from 31st May to 4th June (during Library opening hours) and make a snail! The activity is free and suitable for children aged 3+ with a parent or carer.
Lyndhurst Village Decorations news
George Bisson writes - The team has been busy again and by now I hope you will have noticed the flags and bunting decorating the High Street to commemorate the birthday of our Queen in her 90th year.
The planting carried out by the Committee is now signalling the coming of the summer and, believe it or not, the Committee are hard at work with the preparations for Christmas.
The Annual General Meeting of the Lyndhurst Village Decorations Committee will be held Monday 13th June at The Crown Manor Hotel, Lyndhurst with admission from 6.30 pm for a 7.00 pm start.
Lyndhurst and Emery Down Swift and House Martin Project
Did you ever have swifts or house martins nesting on your house? Do they still nest there now or are you interested in their possible return? There is a new project for the village to find out more about our dwindling population of Swifts and House Martins.
The Club's next meeting is on Friday 20th May and tickets will be available from the Community Centre office as usual.