The New Forest, England
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Situated in Southern England, covering an
area of 219 sq. miles sits the New Forest National Park. Boasting trees of birch,
beech and oak, wildlife and animals in abundance, the area attracts visitors in
their millions year upon year. During the summer months hotels, guest houses
and camping sites are full to capacity as visitors return each year to what is
one of the most beautiful beauty spots in the country. But what of the area in
winter you may ask, well, it takes on a new suit of clothes. The trees are
bare, their past foliage covering the ground in an array of colour or on a
frosty morning crunches underfoot, a time to visit the famous beauty spots and
ancient sites without crowds, roads free of heavy traffic allowing you to stop
and admire the wildlife and animals that freely roam the Forest.
I travelled with South Western Railway from
London Waterloo to Brockenhurst in a remarkably quick 92 minutes, just time for
a coffee and a quick read of the daily paper.
There are many residences to choose from but
my choice was the Balmer Lawn Hotel &
Spa on the outskirts of Brockenhurst and I was not disappointed. Why this
hotel, several reasons; it’s run by Chris and Alison Wilson owners for the last
20 years who together with a very dedicated staff put immense effort into ensuring
their guests receive 100% satisfaction. The bedrooms, all 53 of them, are
individually designed, tastefully furnished and well appointed, many with wonderful
panoramic views across the forest, it has its own microbrewery, the
Brockenhurst Brewery producing Smokin’ Deer Ale which is on sale at the hotel
bar. For the more energetic there are both indoor and outdoor pools, squash
courts and all weather tennis courts, thus, having exerted all that energy, what
better than to relax in the Nordic Spar with its comfortable loungers or enjoy
a massage in one of the luxurious massage rooms. Feeling hungry after all that?
Sample the main restaurant Beresfords, which even offers a 7 course tasting
menu. Balmer Lawn has a history that few can match, a former hunting lodge,
during WWI as a hospital and during WWII it was used by the Canadian 3rd Infantry
Division as their HQ prior to the D-Day landings. Contact them direct for the best
Using Balmer Lawn as a base the locality is
a myriad of venues and attractions to visit. One of the most famous being the National
Motor Museum. Founded by the 3rd Baron Montagu of Beaulieu, beginning life
with just 5 motor cars on display at the official opening of Palace House and
Gardens in 1952. Over the last 55 years the exhibition has grown to what it is
today, a collection of 250 vehicles manufactured since the late 1800’s
accompanied by books, journals and films from around the world. Other
attractions include the Monorail, rides on a veteran bus or in a vintage car
and having done all of this there is the restaurant to eat and relax in. Also
visit the Palace
House with much of it now open to the public together with the partial
ruins of Beaulieu
Abbey. Open every day with the exception of Christmas Day this is worth a
visit winter or summer.
Lyndhurst, dubbed by many, ‘The Capital’ of the New Forest, an area that over the years has become a favourite with tourists and visitors alike. Enjoy the tea rooms, craft shops, restaurants and much more. Whilst in Lyndhurst visit the New Forest Centre, open 7 days a week and a venue where all your questions on the New Forest will be answered.
Whilst in the area visit the church of St.
Michael and All Angels where is buried Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll’s
inspiration for Alice in Wonderland. More information
Finally, the Forest itself, dating back to
time immemorial, an area of heath, woodland, lakes and streams, teaming with
animals and wildlife where artefacts going back to the Bronze Age have been
found indicating the existence of dwellers going back centuries. The first
records show that in 1079 King William 1st designated the area as his hunting
ground. The Forest is looked after and tended by Verderers and Agisters,
Verderers, of whom there are 10, are concerned with the management of the
Forest whilst Agisters are full time employees who look after the welfare of
the wild life and animals that roam the Forest. Year upon year the number of
animals inhabiting the Forest increases with numbers for 2017 totalling nearly
13,000, ponies and cattle making up the majority but a plus to this figure is
around 2,000 deer of which there are 5 species.
From the Balmer Lawn Hotel so many
locations are possible on a day trip: Marwell Zoo, Monkey World as featured on
the TV series ‘Monkey Life’, Corfe Castle, Stonehenge, The Isle of Wight,
Lulworth Cove and many more. This is an area that is special whichever season
you choose to visit. Peace, tranquillity and relaxation are key words for the
area, and an area I will certainly return to.
My personal thanks to Go New Forest for all their help and
assistance during my visit.
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