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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New Forest Art Society
At the meeting on Wednesday 19th April (7.30pm start) Mark Swan, a member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors, will be demonstrating sculptures using wax. Later in the year he will be leading a workshop. Visitors are always welcome - admission £4.00.
In the Library
You may want to make a note of changes to Library opening times over the Easter weekend. The Library will be open as normal on Saturday 15th April but will be closed on Good Friday (14th April) and Easter Monday (17th April). There will be no Knit and Natter session this month.
There will be an Easter craft activity for children during Library opening hours from Monday 10th to Friday 15th April. Please enquire at the Library for details.
Kurling Club - Two Volunteer Helpers Required
Brendoncare's social clubs help older people remain in the community and stay active and independent for as long as possible. The clubs are devoted to giving older people the opportunity to get out and meet new friends whilst enjoying a variety of activities. We know from experience that older people live happier and more fulfilled lives if they are able to enjoy the companionship of like-minded people, stay physically and mentally active and mix with friends.
Two volunteers are now sought to help run the active Kurling Club for older people, which meets on Saturday afternoons at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Help is needed with setting up, refreshments and running the competition (scoring etc.) but above all to make sure everyone has a fun afternoon. If you are interested, please contact Adam Taylor at the Brendoncare Foundation, tel.01962 857097 or 01962 852133.
Locum Parish Clerk Margaret Weston writes:
Lyndhurst Parish Council will be throwing open the doors of the Cemetery Chapel on Saturday, 8th April between 11.00am and 3.00pm for anyone who wants to come and have a look at the Chapel improvements. Councillor Angela Trend will be providing a historical display relating to the Cemetery, Chapel and the surrounding area. The Cemetery registers will be available as well as the new maps of the area.