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Pony near Hampton Ridge
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Downton

One of Wiltshire's most picturesque villages, and so close to the New Forest

Downton - cottages by the river
Downton - cottages by the river

Downton
Think of traditional English villages and you'll image something like Downton. Thatched cottages decorate the main street - the Borough, comfortable pubs offer real ales and wholesome food, the Normans built the church, actively managed water meadows once provided stock with an early bite of grass at the end of winter, there is an ancient castle site nearby, and wild swans glide serenely by on the multi-channeled River Avon as it passes through the village.

Downton - distance from Lyndhurst
13 miles (21 kilometres)

Downton - did you know?
Trafalgar House and Park, a little to the north of Downton, were so named after the estate was acquired by Act of Parliament and given to the brother of Admiral Nelson following his death in 1805. They had previously been known as Standlynch House and Park, and were renamed to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.

Downton - shopping therapy
There is little opportunity for shopping, which will no doubt please many people, although Downton does have a charming range of friendly village shops where essentials can be purchased.

Pubs - yes, of course

Downton - the River Avon
Downton - the River Avon
Parish Church of St Lawrence
Situated on the eastern side of the village, the parish church dates back to the mid-12th century. Later additions and the results of substantial mid-17th century restoration works are evident.

Downton Moot
Earthworks here were associated with an early 12th century castle built to control the nearby river crossing. Landscaped in the early 18th century as a pleasure garden for Moot House, the site is open from dawn until dusk all the year round. Admission is free.

Cuckoo Fair
Usually held in late April or early May, the Cuckoo Fair is named to celebrate the onset of spring heralded, as always, by the arrival of the cuckoo. This traditional annual event - it's friendly, fun and free to come, say the organisers - provides a great family day out and features over 250 craft and other stalls; live music; maypole, morris dancing, folk entertainment; and much, much more.

Children's play park - yes

Open spaces - for football, cricket, rounders and relaxing - yes

Riverside and other walks - yes

(Image - cottages by the river, Downton. (Colin Smith) / CC BY-SA 2.0  ).

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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
The New Forest
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a small but disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Sadly, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cows, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.

(Forty-three accidents occurred in daylight, 15 at twilight and 101 in the dark. Twenty-seven accidents were not reported by the driver involved).

Here's just one horrific example - Three donkeys killed in collision with van at notorious New Forest blackspot (Advertiser and Times)
** Always take care when driving **
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley