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.
Monks in residence
Eight Tibetan monks will be in residence at the Community Centre from the 18th to the 24th July as part of their tour of the UK - see the New Forest What's On for further details.
There are two concerts coming up at the Community Centre over the weekend of 9th and 10th July. The first, on the 9th, is being given by the Lyndhurst Community Choir - their last concert was very well attended, so don't leave it too late to get your tickets (from the Centre office).
This year also sees the 100th anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and the Lyndhurst branch of the Royal British Legion are marking the occasion with a band concert on the 10th July. Music will be provided by the Wilton RBL Band, under the baton of Trevor Dacombe. The concert starts at 3.00pm and tickets, price £9.50, are available from the Community Centre office and Lyndhurst Working Men's Club. A cream tea is included. Proceeds from the concert will be going to the RBL's Poppy Appeal.
Lyndhurst Scouts' Car Wash
Car looking a bit grimy? If you bring it along to the main car park in Lyndhurst on Saturday 9th July between 9.00am and 1.00pm the Scouts will wash it for you! There will also be a cake stall with lots of goodies for sale. All proceeds to Scout funds.