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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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New Forest What's On
May 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 May events programme
(single day events first, followed by longer running events)

Thursday, 3rd May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Paraphernalia Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Saturday, 5th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Indoor Market, 9.00am - 4.00pm.
  • Burley Village Hall, Epilepsy fundraising evening.
Sunday, 6th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Foresta Artisan Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
  • 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.
Monday, 7th May
  • Burley Village Hall, Film Night.
Wednesday, 9th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, RSPB Group meeting, 7.30pm.
Saturday, 12th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Emerald Crafts, 9.00am - 5.00pm.
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Book Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Wednesday, 16th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Art Society, 7.30pm - 9.30pm. The New Forest Art Society meeting on the 16th May features professional artist Podi Lawrence demonstrating portrait painting in oils on acrylic. This will be held at the Lyndhurst Community Centre from 7.30pm - 9.30pm. Visitors are always welcome (entry fee £4). Members are invited to bring a related themed picture for a mini exhibition.
Friday, 18th May
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, Film Night - Finding Your Feet (12A), 7.00pm - 10.30pm. The Cinema is in the Forest Hall. The doors open at 7.00pm and the evening programme begins at 7.30pm. After a short film or two and a trailer for the next film, there is an interval when you can chat with friends while enjoying a glass of wine, ice creams, coffee, tea, cake etc. before settling down to watch the main film.
    On the eve of her husband's retirement Lady Sandra Abbott (Imelda Staunton) discovers that he has been having an affair with her best friend. Stunned and needing somewhere to escape to while she decides her future, Sandra finds refuge with her estranged, bohemian, older sister, Bif (Celia Imrie). Could the change of scenery and dynamic be just what Sandra needs? Especially when she joins a community dance class and meets Charlie (Timothy Spall). Also starring Joanna Lumley - in a grey wig!
    Buy your tickets online via the Village Hall website, from the Village Hall office (Monday - Friday 9.00am - 1.00pm), or from Pot Pouri. Tickets are also available on the door for £6.50.
  • New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Escape the Museum, 6.00pm - 8.00pm. Can you Escape the Museum? Do you like solving perplexing puzzles? Crazy about cracking complex conundrums and codes? Then come along with your family and friends to the New Forest Centre's Escape the Museum event. If you and your team can find the clues and make the correct passwords in order to Escape the Museum, you can take part in our craft activity to create your own creature of the night
    Loosely based on the escape room concept but set inside the New Forest Centre Museum, the evening will be great great fun for all ages five and above in teams of up to six people (with easier clues available for the younger participants). 'It's a great way to explore the Museum after normal opening hours,' said New Forest Centre Education Development Officer Suzie Moore. 'Even if you've visited the Museum before, you're likely to discover things you may have missed previously whilst you're searching for those elusive clues.'
    The event runs from 6.00pm to 8.00pm and costs £5 per person. There's no need to book, you can just drop in.
    (Escape the Museum is part of the UK-wide Museums at Night Festival running from 16th to 19th May 2018).
    The Tip, Leaf and Bean Café will be open offering refreshments to all intrepid escapologists and would-be adventurers.
Sunday, 20th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Teddy Bear Fair, 10.30am - 4.00pm.
Friday, 25th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Film Evening - Breathe (12A), 7.30pm. In 1950s England, Robin Cavendish (Andrew Garfield) and his wife Diana (Claire Foy) are enjoying a fairy-tale romance when Robin is paralyzed after contracting polio. When an inventor friend (Hugh Bonneville) builds him a wheelchair with a respirator attached, Robin resolves to continue his adventures with his wife, and the couple eventually become advocates for disability rights. Actor Andy Serkis made his directorial debut with this historical drama, which is inspired by a true story. Diana Rigg and Tom Hollander co-star.
    Tickets are available from the Community Centre, £4.50 for members of the Community Centre and £5.00 for non-members.
Sunday, 27th May
  • Lyndhurst Community Centre, Lady Cynthia's Flea Market, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
  • Exbury Gardens, Devoted to Dogs Day, 10.00am - 5.30pm. 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 that is asked 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. Dog bins and water bowls are provided along with a wonderful and safe environment to enjoy. Each year thousands of dog owners are welcomed to the Gardens and it is hoped many of you will visit on the 27th 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.
  • Burley Village Hall, Craft Fayre.
Wednesday, 30th May
  • 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, 31st May
  • Wild About Ponies, Hatchet Pond 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.)

Longer running events

Friday, 30th March to Sunday, 2nd September
  • New Forest Reptile Centre, Date with Nature, 10.00am - 4.30pm. Visit the New Forest Date with Nature to find out more about brilliant birds of prey, from mewing buzzards, speedy goshawks and hovering kestrels, and much, much more. There is a large flat screen TV showing live and recorded footage from the nest, and another TV showing a film about other brilliant birds that nest in the New Forest.
    There is also an interactive touchscreen; perfect for children (or even adults) who want to know more about the species that call the New Forest home. The Reptile Centre is also home to every native species of lizard, snake, frog and toad in the UK! Come and meet them - you'll be able to see them all in special reptile 'pods'. If you're lucky you might even arrive for feeding time!
    There are miles of nature trails to explore too, keep your eyes peeled for deer, squirrels, mice and the notorious New Forest ponies as you wander the site, or stop for a picnic near the bird feeders, and marvel at the flashes of colour as tiny birds come searching for treats.
    Entry to this event is free, but donations for parking are welcome.
    (Brought to you by the RSPB with the help of the Forestry Commission and New Forest National Park Authority).
Sunday, 8th April to Sunday, 10th June
  • Exbury Gardens, Four Seasons Art Exhibition, 10.00am - 5.30pm. 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!
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.
Saturday, 21st April - Sunday, 8th July
  • New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Special Exhibition: Ancient and Remarkable Trees of the New Forest, 10.00am - 4.30pm. Discover and appreciate these ancient treasures of the New Forest in this unique exhibition by local photographer David Russell. David moved to the New Forest as a child and, after going to school in Southampton and studying photography at Bournemouth School of Art, has worked as a professional photographer in and around the area ever since.
    'The intention of this exhibition is to encourage the appreciation and respect for these often hidden treasures of the New Forest. They are deeply important for our wellbeing both mentally and physically,' explains David. 'These surviving hulks of living history are now under threat from climate change, disease and development. We need to have an awareness of the fragility of these eco systems that are so vital to us all.'
    The exhibition, which is free, is supported by the New Forest National Park Authority and dedicated to the memory of Senior Policy Officer Nick Evans. 'His enthusiasm and belief in the importance of these ancient woodlands gave me the impetus and encouragement to start this work', says David.
Wednesday 2nd, 9th, 16th and 23rd May
  • Exbury Gardens, Photography Workshops, 2.00pm - 3.00pm. Cathryn Baldock, the Head Gardener's Assistant and Category Winner and Finalist at the International Garden Photographer of the Year 2018, will be holding a photography workshop each week for an hour at Exbury Gardens from Wednesday 2nd May - Wednesday 23rd May. You will need to bring your own camera.
    The group will explore the Gardens to find lots of spring colour and points of interest, whilst receiving hints, tips and general guidance from Cathy on how to take plenty of high quality photographs.
    This event is included free with standard gardens admission or Friends of Exbury membership, but spaces are limited so please email info@exbury.co.uk to confirm your place as these will be booked on a first come first serve basis.
Saturday, 26th May to Sunday, 3rd June
  • 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.
Saturday and Sunday, 26th and 27th May
  • Brockenhurst Village Hall, Model Railway Exhibition, Saturday 10.00am - 5.00pm, Sunday 10.00am - 4.30pm. The New Forest Model Railway Society will be presenting a variety of layouts. There will also be many trade stands selling new and used rolling stock and modelling components. And as usual there will be a good selection of food and refreshments. Demonstration stands will be present to help out with any modelling advice. £5 adults, £3 children 5-16, £13 family, 2 plus 2.
Tuesday and Thursday, 29th and 31st May
  • New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, Family Discovery Days, 10.00am - 4.00pm. Come along to these family Discovery Days and learn about royalty in the New Forest whilst taking part in some fun craft activities. No need to book - just drop in. Free museum entry, activities by donation.
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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