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Get away from it all
New Forest (Hampshire)
Member Name: magpie
New Forest (Hampshire)
Date: 05/09/00, updated on 05/09/00 (699 review reads)
Advantages: Escape from the rat race! Some wonderful scenery, great place for walking, clear skies, peaceful
I have recently returned from a short break with my husband in the New Forest. This is an area of England that I have only visited previously as a child. Located just north west of Southampton, its the largest area of wildland in England, containing ancient forest, heathland, and some wonderful little villages.
We camped at 'Hollands Wood' campsite, which is run by the forestry commission. Details of the campsite can be got from the tourist centre at Lyndhurst. Located just 15 minutes walk from the village of Brockenhurst, we really were in the middle of nowhere. The campsite had good basic facilities - showers, water, and a small shop. Its a large place (600 plots) so you only have to book at the busy times.
The village of Brockenhurst was like stepping back in time. This must surely be one of the only villages in England to have a butchers, bakers, fishmongers, greengrocer and a post office! The many problems suffered by rural business don't seem to have affected this part of the world - possibly because it is in the new forest, the big supermarkets cannot build their monstrosities anywhere.
We spent our first day by popping over the Solent from Lymmington to the Isle of Wight (www.wightlink.co.uk -about 7ukp a head for foot passengers). We had lunch at a pub in Yarmouth, and walked it off by heading up to the Needles.
Yarmouth is a very nice little seaside town. It seems unafflicted by the kiss-me-quick trade, and has lots of lovely little streets, like many other fishing towns in England.
The Needles a strange place. There are three lumps of rock protruding out to sea, and a lighthouse to warn ships. You walk up the cliff above the sea, to get a view from above. In the cliff are many fortifications, dating from Napoleonic times, to the second world war. The Isle of Wight was obviously of strategic importance. In addition, there are the remnants of rocket launch platforms! This is where the
British Space program tested their rockets, before sending them to Australia to the launched. How they got the rockets across the Solent I have no idea!
This was a great day out, and I think the Isle of Wight is worth a trip over the Solent while you are visiting the New Forest area.
The next day we decided to go walking. We bought a book of walks, and an Ordance Survey map of the area, all from the Lyndhurst visitors centre. We then proceded to pick up some food for a picnic, and set off. We walked about 6 miles, around Lyndhurst, including a nature reserve and the Lymmington river. On the entire walk, which we took several hours over, we only saw three other people, except when we stopped for refreshment at a pub en route! I really felt we had managed to escape the rat race for a few hours. I cannot describe how wonderful it was. It was also good to finish and rest our feet!
We finished our day with a barbecue back at the campsite, followed by a few beers down at the pub in Brockenhurst. Finally, walking back we saw the most wonderful sky. It was clear, and there was so little light pollution the sky was unlike any I've ever seen. I could have looked at it for hours. And we saw some shooting stars. This must be my perfect day.
And then we headed for home. We stopped off at Winchester on the way, which seemed like civilisation again after our time in the New Forest. I just want to go back.
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