Thursday, 18 August 2016

Free Things To Do in the New Forest

Walk, cycle and run!

There are over 143 miles of cycle tracks in the New Forest’s 193,000 acres and hundreds, if not thousands of unmarked trails. Grab a map and discover why the New Forest is such a special and beautiful place to explore.

Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary

Deer are timid animals, especially if you go looking for them! A heard of Fallow Deer gather on the meadow at Bolderwood, mainly because they are fed every day from April through to September. There’s a viewing platform, so you can get some great photos and watch the deer in their natural habitat. It’s worth noting that these are wild deer, so you’re not guaranteed a sighting, but more often than not, you’ll be rewarded by their presence.  The main car park is close by with a large lawn, picnic tables and BBQ area.

Swim and sunbathe

There are some gorgeous beaches along the New Forest Coastline and lovely spots for swimming.
Highlights include Highcliffe beach, Milford on sea and Barton on Sea.

Hampshire Open Studios

20th – 29th August 2016 you can visit studios, art galleries and meet the artists from the New Forest and Hampshire region who are exhibiting original artwork. For a brochure email

Go Geocaching!

The New Forest is a brilliant destination for Geocaching. For those that don’t know, Geocaching is like a treasure hunt for all age groups using GPS. It’s a great way to see the area and great fun. You’ll need to register on the Geocaching website first. When you get to the forest, navigate GPS coordinates and hunt for the hidden ‘Geocache’ container.

Fossil Hunting

Receive a free gift from thousands of years ago, in the form of a beautiful fossil from the New Forest. There are lots of spots along the coastline, the best being Barton Sea for gastropods and sharks’ teeth. Milford on sea is good for ironstones containing bivalves and gastropods. 

Lepe Country Park
Come here for the amazing views, lovely walk, WWII landmarks and some good old fashioned rest and relaxation. There’s a play area for smaller children and a large grassy lawn for picnics (there’s also a café/restaurant). Views are mesmerising from Lepe. The shoreline is about a mile to the Isle of Wight, and Southampton Water is a hive of activity with cruise ships and huge tankards navigating their way to and from the famous docks. To the left of the park are the remains and defences from the D-Day invasions with plaques describing the role the area played during WWII. A fantastic spot for watching Cowes Week.
Note: this isn’t a good spot for swimming due to the strong currents.

The Knightwood Oak

This huge and mighty tree is said to be the oldest in the forest – and it’s certainly gigantic. It’s estimated to be up to 600 years old and has a width of over seven metres. This area is also a nice place to stop with a blanket and picnic and soak up the atmosphere of this ancient forest.


Hours of fun and thrills can be spent crabbing, and there are two particular locations that are spot on. Lymington Quay and Keyhaven harbour are both busy little marine hotspots, great for watching the boats coming in and out of the harbour and people watching.   

Pootle about in your Dingy

Keyhaven and Christchurch harbour are wonderful expanses of water where you can spend hours bobbing about in your dingy.  Keep away from the busy entrances and boat traffic, and you’ll be rewarded by getting up close and personal with the entertaining wildlife and birds.  

Famous Graves

The New Forest has been, and still is home to some very famous folks. Head to the pretty church in Minstead village and you’ll find the grave of crime fiction writer and creator of famous Detective Sherlock Homes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1869-1930).
It’s said that the inspiration behind author Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice in Wonderland’, is thought to be local girl, Alice Liddell (1852-1934). Her grave is in the churchyard of Lyndhurst church.

Famous founder of modern nursing, social reformer and statistician - Florence Nightingale (1820 – 1910) is buried in St Margaret’s churchyard at East Wellow. In the church you’ll find a fibreglass replica (the original was stolen) of a Scutari Cross, which was made of bullets from the Crimea that was hanging in Florence’s bedroom when she died.

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