Explore the New Forest
A couple of weeks ago we have had the opportunity to go to the New Forest and spend a few hours there. Myself and my husband are a big fans of nature so we wanted to explore England’s famous and huge forest. The New Forest is very famous for its forest trails and its wildlife, especially the free romaing ponies. I’ll share a few things to do while you are there but of course it isn’t the whole list and if you really wanna explore the forest you’ll need more than a few hours so I can share a few great accomodations as well at the end of the post.
How to get there:
Wild camping and overnight parking is not permitted!
There are plenty of ways to travel to The New Forest safely, quickly and hassle free.
The New Forest is located just 89 minutes away from London Waterloo Station by train. Travel with South Western Railway to the New Forest straight from London Waterloo, Basingstoke, Winchester, Southampton, Bournemouth, Poole and Weymouth.
With eight train stations in the New Forest you will be sure to be just a short distance away from your final destination. You can find a train station in the following New Forest locations:
- Beaulieu Road
- Hinton Admiral
- New Milton
Travel to the easily accessible New Forest in the comfort of your car.
Travelling from Southampton, London or the East: exit M27 at Junction 1, signed Cadnam and head southwards into The New Forest.
Travelling from the West: use A31 from Dorset. Travelling from the North: take either A338 from Salisbury to Ringwood in the west of the Forest, or A36 to Totton in the east. Car hire is available at Southampton, Bournemouth and Salisbury.
You can read more about car parks if you click here.
There is no better way to explore than walking through the forest, you’ll need a good waterproof pair of shoes, water and warm clothes because the New Forest is about 753.2 km² big. There are more than 40 walking routes so anyone who is keen to walk will find the best solution: from easy-to-follow walking routes, short strolls or long-distances.
One of the things that makes the New Forest so magical is the wild roaming ponies, donkeys, pigs and deers. You don’t have to be scared of them but I would not recommend going near these animals as they are wild. You can read more about being a Forest friendly visitor here.
We walked about 2 hours from where we parked before stopping for lunch which we took with us. We sat down and enjoyed the amazing view with some coffee until 3 wild horses decided to join us. I have to state that we did not feed these animals and I would say not to feed them or touch them. If you decide to have a picnic please take your rubbish home with you as the wild animals might eat it.
If you prefer to do something else other than just walk through the forest and explore the beauty, you can cycle as well because there are plenty of cycle paths around, or you can ride a horse, visit the deer sanctuary or try and catch the annual Pannage pigs.
About the Pannage pigs: Pannage is the practice of releasing livestock-pigs in a forest, so that they can feed on fallen acorns, beechmast, chestnuts or other nuts. Historically, it was a right or privilege granted to local people on common land or in royal forests.
There is literally so much to do in the New Forest, from watersports to shopping and spa days, you can find a more up to date activity list here but when you visit the forest please be careful and considerate of the wild animals, treat the nature with respect.
So, originally I was looking to book an accomodiaton for us and stay for the weekend and do a little bit more exploring but I was afraid of lockdown happening again so decided not to. These are places that I’ve found interesting and not overly expensive either. If you are into glamping or like a bit of a rustic shepherds hut feeling then you are gonna find THIS lovely.
Or you can find a lot of cute barns or cottages on the airbnb website but please read the goverment restrictions and updates if you are thinking of travelling anywhere.