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It's not really what I would call a Forest
New Forest (Hampshire)
Member Name: Littledreamer
New Forest (Hampshire)
Advantages: Great relaxing day out, nice walks, great scenery, local villages, ponies
Disadvantages: If you don't like walking and countryside then it's not for you
Myself and my boyfriend recently stayed in Southampton and visited the New Forest one day. We were lucky as the weather was gorgeous and we had a lovely day there.
The New Forest itself is a great place for walking as the scenery is lovely, it's very open with a lot of bracken and shrubs and even some sandy areas. It's not really what I would call a forest. There are some woody areas, but the majority of it is very open.
There are New Forest ponies that roam wild and sometimes even come down into the nearby towns and wander about at the side of the road,or even in the road. There are also cows which do the same, and several cows could be seen holding up the traffic in the village of Beaulieu. If you want to see the ponies then you really don't need to go far into the Forest as they are all over the place. The speed limit through the Forest drivethrough areas and the towns that are situated in the New Forest zone is 40 mph because of the wild animals that are roaming about.
The ponies are not dangerous unless you threaten them. If you leave them alone then they will leave you alone. You are advised not to feed them as they are wild and you never know if they will bite or kick you if you offer them food. It is tempting though, and I did stroke a couple of the ones that were in the villages as they seemed really tame.
The town of Lyndhurst is one of the bigger towns, although it is still really small with a few traditional shops such as craft shops and old fashioned sweet shops. There is a tourist infomation where you can pick up loads of free leaflets and maps and also gifts. If you have never been to the New Forest I would advise going to Lyndhurst first and then deciding where to go from there.
There are loads of little villages, including Lymington and Beaulieu which is home to the car museum. I didn't visit the museum but I have heard that it's a great tourist attraction with loads of different cars from throughout the years.
As well as driving through the forest, and walking through the open countryside, you can also hire bikes. It is a great place where you can wander about, taking in the natural british unspoiled countryside. At Lyndhurst there are some car parking areas on the edge of the New Forest Park so you can just get out and walk on the Parkland itself without having to walk to it from a carpark that is far away.
It's a very relaxing place to visit and there are plenty of little villages in the New Forest Zone that have some great pubs and tea rooms to stop for lunch or a snack, or you could always take a picnic up onto the Forest parkland, but make sure the ponies and cows don't join you.
Summary: A lovely piece of natural countryside with the benefit of wild ponies
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