I don’t think Emily and I have ever needed a break as much as this recent trip to the New Forest. Working from home without taking any real annual leave since moving into our new house left us needing some well deserved R&R. And with international travel still largely limited, we knew we wanted to explore a different National Park in England. So a trip to Hampshire and the New Forest it was.
To see cuties like this
After a beautiful drive through Dorset, we made the most of our time exploring the woodland surrounding our quaint little inn. Expansive, quiet and relaxing; the perfect remedy to work. We met the locals (new forest ponies, deer and cows) and ducked in and out of quick showers via pubs. Not bad at all.
No, we didn’t come with any apples…
Saturday was our main day of walking. We chose to visit 3 different locations while taking scenic drives en route to get the best experience from the National Park. First up was a visit to the Queen of the Forest – the Knightwood Oak. Ancient, over 500 years old and said to have been visited by King Henry VIII. An incredible natural monument, and one of the many reasons why such important woodland needs to be protected. Knowing that people over 150 years ago spent their holidays visiting the same exact spot is just incredible.
Such a dramatic day of hiking
Next stop – Blackwater Arboretum. Stunning. Small loops, with massive pines. Giant sequoias from California. Trees from all over the world, blended into the ancient English forest. It really was a perfect location that lived up to all the “best walks in the New Forest” tips we read. On any return visit I know we will 100% be going back again. Hopefully with a little spaniel though – it did feel like we were the only couple in the New Forest without a dog to hand!
Incredible giant sequoias
Our final major sight to visit was Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary; a section of the forest managed with platforms to see the fallow deer (including the famous white ones) and enough regular feeding by rangers to make them an almost constant in the area… Well, as constant as wild animals can be, I guess! Luckily, after another brief stroll, we did see the deer to round off the perfect day of hiking.
More beautiful deer
The gorgeous central village of Lyndhurst has so many good places to explore; including shops, the national park visitor centre and plenty of places to eat that it really makes for a perfect location within the park to be based at. So naturally, the rest of our stay was spent eating the amazing seafood and wild mushrooms. The New Forest is really proud of its coastal and foraged produce for good reason! Oysters, prawns, local beef. Everything was delicious. I even managed to try a famous local pork pie. Result!
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Plenty of wet walks