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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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New Forest What's On
April 2018

The New Forest National Park covers a relatively small geographical area, yet residents and visitors have access to an extensive New Forest Whats On programme that features a wide range of events and activities.

Find out about Whats On in the New Forest with the guide below.

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What's On - the April events programme
(single day events first, followed by longer running events)

Sunday, 1st April
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, The Rhythm - Tea Dance, 2.00pm - 6.00pm. Sunday afternoon tea dances at Brockenhurst Village Hall. A wide range of music to suit different styles of dance with the emphasis on smooth jive and blues. Fun and friendly atmosphere. First Sunday of the month. Plenty of parking and and only a 10 minute walk from the train station. Free water, tea, coffee and cakes. £6 entry fee payable on the door.
Wednesday, 4th April
  • Wild Wednesday, New Forest Reptile Centre, 10.30am - 4.00pm. Enjoy a date with nature at the Reptile Centre, with fun activities for the whole family. There will be a quiz trail and making activities for children. Come and see the "live" video of birds on their nests as well as the reptiles and amphibians. You can turn up anytime between 10.30am and 4.00pm, there is no charge, booking is not required and dogs are allowed. (Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.)
Thursday, 5th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Paraphernalia Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Friday, 6th April
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - Breathe (12A), 7.00pm - 10.30pm. Doors open at 7.00pm with a bar and refreshments available. When Robin (Andrew Garfield) is struck down by polio at the age of 28 he is confined to a hospital bed and given only a few months to live. With the help of his wife's twin brothers (Tom Hollander) and the groundbreaking ideas of Teddy Hall (Hugh Bonneville) Robin and Diana (Claire Foy) dare to escape the hospital ward and seek out a full and passionate life together - raising their young son, travelling and devoting their lives to helping other polio patients. Based on a true story. Buy your tickets online via the Village Hall website, from the Village Hall office (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm), or from Pot Pouri. Tickets are also available on the door for £6.50.
Saturday, 7th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Emerald Crafts, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Sunday, 8th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Artisan Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm. This is a regular Foresta Artisan Fair at the Community Centre, and there is always free entry.
Monday, 9th April
  • Burley Village Hall, Film Night.
Wednesday, 11th April
  • Wild Wednesday, New Forest Reptile Centre, 10.30am - 4.00pm. Enjoy a date with nature at the Reptile Centre, with fun activities for the whole family. There will be a quiz trail and making activities for children. Come and see the "live" video of birds on their nests as well as the reptiles and amphibians. You can turn up anytime between 10.30am and 4.00pm, there is no charge, booking is not required and dogs are allowed. (Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.)
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, RSPB Group Meeting, 7.30pm.
Thursday, 12th April
  • Wild About Ponies, Bolton's Bench Car Park, 1.00pm - 2.00pm. Come and meet a New Forest Ranger and learn about New Forest ponies and other livestock which live on the forest. Why are they here? Why are they important? Who owns them? Come along to a fun, free information session and learn all the answers to your questions about the four-legged icons of the New Forest. The walk will cover about 1 mile. This Forestry Commission event is suitable for all ages, there is no charge, booking is not required - you can just turn up, and dogs are allowed. (Please wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear.)
Saturday, 14th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Indoor Market, 9.00am - 4.00pm. The Community Centre will be hosting monthly indoor markets commencing on Saturday, April 14th with free entry. For more details please visit www.uptownmarkets.co.uk or call 07901 501509.
Wednesday, 18th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Art Society, 7.30pm - 9.30pm. The speaker will be professional artist Penny Wilton who will be demonstrating painting flowers in watercolour and ink. Visitors are always welcome (entry fee £4). Members are invited to bring a related themed picture for a mini exhibition.
Saturday, 21st April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Chocolate Fair, 11.00am - 3.00pm. How about coming to the New Forest Chocolate Fair? You might have eaten all your Easter eggs by then and be ready to try some more delicious chocolate! There will be a range of chocolate themed stalls and demonstrations, too.
  • Ramble with a Ranger, Appleslade car park, 10.00am - 12.00noon. Join Forestry Commission volunteer rangers on this 4 mile walk to discover more about the New Forest. Get your walking boots on and get healthy in the company of like-minded people. This event is suitable for those aged 18+, advanced booking is essential, attendance costs £6 (and bring money for an optional pub lunch if you choose to stay after the event), wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear, and please note, dogs are allowed.
Sunday, 22nd April
  • Exbury Gardens, Devoted to Dogs Day, 10.00am - 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm). Exbury Gardens are offering visitors to the gardens who bring their four-legged friends a discount of 20% on gardens admission.
    Dogs are very welcome at Exbury Gardens and all we ask is that they are kept on a short lead and leave nothing behind but paw prints! There are over 22 miles of pathways with a variety of walking surfaces and different habitats to explore. The majority of pathways are flat and it is very easy walking. A leaflet given to visitors on arrival shows the location of dog bins.
    Dogs are welcome on the Exbury Gardens Steam Railway, which runs a 20min journey along a 1 1/2 mile track into the Summer Lane Garden, and also welcome in Mr Eddy's Tea Rooms. We provide dog bins and water bowls and a wonderful and safe environment to enjoy. Each year we welcome thousands of dog owners to the Gardens and hope many of you will join us on the 22nd for a great day out!
    The discount is applicable to one person per dog and no pre-booking is required, discount is made on the day.
Friday, 27th April
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Film Night - Goodbye Christopher Robin (PG), 7.30pm. This historical drama details the relationship between children's author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (played at various ages by Will Tilston and Alex Lawther), which was changed forever when Milne used his child and his stuffed animals as inspirations for the Winnie the Pooh stories. As the fanciful tales bring hope to England in the wake of World War I, the family deal with fame and unwanted attention. Directed by Simon Curtis. Margot Robbie, Kelly MacDonald, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge co-star.
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - An Audience (PG), 7.00pm - 10.30pm. Doors open at 7.00pm with a bar and refreshments available. A special recorded NT Live broadcast of the West End production of this play. Dame Helen Mirren reprises her role as Queen Elizabeth II in this production, which won three Tony Awards and two Olivier Awards.
    For 60 years Queen Elizabeth II has met each of her twelve prime ministers in a weekly audience at Buckingham Palace - a meeting like no other in British public life. It is private. Both parties have an unspoken agreement never to repeat what is said - not even to their spouses. Buy your tickets online via the Village Hall website, from the Village Hall office (Mon-Fri 9am-1pm), or from Pot Pouri. Tickets are also available on the door for £8.50.

Longer running events

Sunday, 21st January to Sunday, 15th April
  • New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Special Exhibition: Maps - The New Forest Unfolded, 10.00am - 3.30pm until 29th March then 10.00am - 4.30pm. Discover the biography of the New Forest and its people through maps chosen from the Christopher Tower Reference Library. These maps of large and small scale, illuminate not only the landscape but the individuals and institutions that shaped the Forest as it is today. Free entry.
    (Curated by New Forest Knowledge Project Officer Dr Katharine Walker and library volunteer and map enthusiast Patrick Keane, the maps exhibited range from geological surveys and maps of Naval timber to Drivers' maps and route maps produced by organisations such as the Ordnance Survey, Forestry Commission and AA.)
Friday, 23rd February to Sunday, 15th April
  • St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, The 18th Open Exhibition, 10.00am - 4.00pm. The Open Exhibition returns for its 18th year, bigger and better than ever. With more than £1,000 cash prizes up for grabs, a new online entry process, and a new category for three-dimensional works, there will be a fresh look to the exhibition to match the new gallery spaces at St Barbe.
    Over the years the Open has become a popular highlight in the region's arts calendar drawing entries from artists across Hampshire and Dorset and further afield. A panel of professional judges select the exhibition with the bar being set ever higher to match the quality of the work submitted. A range of prizes are offered through the generous support of local business partners.
    This is a selling exhibition.
    This year also sees our first Young People's Open which encourages budding artists aged up to 17 to submit two-dimensional artworks on a standard sized board provided by the museum.
    For details of how to enter both Open exhibitions please visit the museum's website.
    Museum and Gallery admission prices:
    With gift aid - Adult £6, Concession £5, Family (two adults and up to four children) £12, Child (under 16) £3, Under 5s FREE. National Art Pass holders FREE. Without gift aid - Adult £5.45, Concession £4.45, Family £10.90, Child £2.70.
Sunday, 11th March to Monday, 2nd April
  • Exbury Gardens, Lachenalia and Orchid Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm). The UK's pre-eminent collection of Lachenalias (the 'leopard lily'), alongside a selection of orchids from Exbury Gardens' glass houses, will be on display in the Five Arrows Gallery for visitors to enjoy when the gardens open.
    Lachenalias represent one of the fastest-growing collector plants in the country. The Genus is full of interest, with 133 (and counting) species offering a variety of colour during the dull winter months. For lachenlias, their size makes them the ideal plant for a kitchen pot, windowsill or conservatory, and they have an exceptionally long flowering season. Exbury's first Lachenalias will traditionally flower in October, and the last as late as May.
    The exhibition will also display a wonderful selection of wildlife sculptures created by Long Ly. Sculptor Long Ly was originally from Saigon, Vietnam, before escaping the communists, aged 8, with his family on a rickety fishing boat. He was settled in England and has come to being an artist after being 'discovered' by Nick de Rothschild. He now works and exhibits his work at the Palais des Vaches Gallery. His pieces are made from recycled metal, ranging from pots and pans to plumbing pipes and carpet dividers - his imagination shows no bounds.
    For more information about the exhibition, please email info@exbury.co.uk
Friday, 30th March to Sunday, 15th April
  • Forestry Commission Discovery Trail at Bolderwood, 10.30am - 3.30pm. Experience the seasons of the forest, on this Forestry Commission discovery trail, a 1 mile self-guided trail that will take you through the woods with activities and challenges for all the family along the way. You can start the trail anytime between 10.30am and 3.30pm, it is suitable for all ages and is a free event although there may be a small charge for the additional activity pack. Meet in Bolderwood car park and wear suitable outdoor clothing and footwear. Booking is not required and dogs are allowed.
Sunday, 8th April to Sunday, 10th June
  • Exbury Gardens, Four Seasons Art Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.30pm (last admission 4.30pm). The Four Seasons Artists group will once again be in residence at the Five Arrows Gallery during the spring season for visitors to enjoy their work. The group, headed by local artist Marianna Kneller, first exhibited at Exbury in April 2005 and have proven to be a bit of a hit!
Saturday and Sunday, 14th and 15th April
  • Burley Village Hall, Craft Fayre.
Friday, 20th April to Sunday, 10th June
  • St Barbe Museum and Art Gallery, Lymington, Springlines: Mary Anne Aytoun-Ellis and Clare Best, 10.00am - 4.00pm. Springlines is a collaborative project between poet Clare Best and painter Mary Anne AytounEllis, exploring hidden and mysterious bodies of water across the south of England. For several years Clare and Mary Anne have been working from nature, from memory and imagination and in response to one another's creativity.
    Together they have made a body of work that tells the story of the complex and fragile relationship between human life, surface water and groundwater.
    The exhibition features paintings by Mary Anne and poetry by Clare based on their explorations in Sussex, Kent and the New Forest as well as relevant items from the museum's local collections.
    Museum and Gallery admission prices:
    With gift aid - Adult £6, Concession £5, Family (two adults and up to four children) £12, Child (under 16) £3, Under 5s FREE. National Art Pass holders FREE. Without gift aid - Adult £5.45, Concession £4.45, Family £10.90, Child £2.70.
Thursday, Friday and Saturday - 26th, 27th and 28th April
  • Vernon Theatre, Lyndhurst, Lyndhurst Drama and Musical Society production of Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility, 7.45pm. Tickets are £8.00 for the Thursday and £9.00 for the Friday and Saturday.They will be available from Lyndhurst Community Centre from the 6th April.
Saturday and Sunday - 28th and 29th April
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, New Forest Painters - Spring Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.00pm. A visit to the New Forest Painters Annual Spring Exhibition will not disappoint. Six artists with very different styles and techniques gather annually to display their work produced over the last twelve months. The theme of the exhibition is the New Forest with its ancient woodland, wild heaths and a coastline over- looking the Solent. This provides a never ending source of inspiration and the diversity of painting styles and the subjects chosen by the artists create an exhibition of great variety. A popular addition to the exhibition has been the inclusion of a small collection of works produced in other parts of Britain during painting trips.
    The artists are Barry Peckham ROI RSMA SEA, Richard Tratt SWLA SBA, Hilary Tratt, Barry Miles, Peter Frost and Janet Langford.
    A collection of detailed nature studies, fine miniatures, bold watercolours, carefully composed studio paintings and works produced out of doors directly from nature are all a part of this exciting exhibition.
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** New Forest ponies **
New Forest ponies in the road
Ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during the first six months of 2018, 36 animals were killed or injured on Forest roads, compared with 26 in the same period in 2017, a shocking rise of 38%.
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley