I’m fortunate to have The New Forest a 20 minute drive from where I live, and I think it’s possibly one of the most beautiful areas in the country to GetOutside 🙂
If you’re looking for steep inclines, scrambling and climbs then you won’t find it here, but if you want to walk in stunning scenery, with a beautiful coastline and some unique sights along the way, then you won’t be disappointed…
Here are 5 reasons I think everyone should visit this wonderful area of Hampshire!
1. The locals are very friendly…
But beware, they can bite, so don’t touch or feed them.
They are known to have a habit of walking right in front of you, or sleeping in the road as well, so drive carefully.
2. Incredible sunsets…
Seriously, I think these could rival some of the sunsets I’ve seen abroad.
The New Forest is beautiful, come rain or shine, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a sucker for a good sunset.
3. The beaches aren’t bad either.
If watersports are more your thing, then definitely visit Calshot. Not only can you see all the way up Southampton Water, but there is a huge activity centre there, where you can sail, canoe, windsurf or even ski and rock climb.
Prefer to sit on the beach, then you can walk along the beach, past rows of colourful beach huts at Calshot, or head over to Milford on Sea, for stunning views across to The Needles on the Isle of Wight!
4. It’s full of history
Southampton Water is one of the largest natural harbours in the world, and because of this it’s been used as a strategic settlement location from the prehistoric ages to the present day, it’s now home to some of the largest cruise ships in the world and an important cargo port. You can get a brilliant view of this working port from Marchwood, on the edge of the New Forest.
5. There’s something for everyone…
Enjoy walking, cycling, horse riding? The New Forest has it all. Even an open top bus ride!
With 146 miles of paths for walking, over 100 miles of cycle routes, 35 miles of bridleways and 103 sq miles of publicly accessible land, you’ll be hard pushed not to find somewhere to GetOutside!
The New Forest website – here – has a whole page dedicated to routes in the forest – here – or why not check out the Ordnance Survey OS Maps website, where people have managed to input their favourite walks. A quick search brings up a lot of both walking and cycling routes, so you really are spoilt for choice!
How do I get to the New Forest?
The New Forest covers a large area of Hampshire, so it really depends which are you want to visit, but you can drive, fly to Southampton, get the train or even cycle if you’re feeling energetic. The road links are wonderful an there are a number of train stations within the forest. Beaulieu Road, Ashurst and Brockenhurst to name a few! You could also get the ferry to Portsmouth and the train, or the ferry from the Isle of Wight to Lymington.
There are so many options available to you.
In terms of accommodation, there are hundreds of B&B’s, Campsites and hotels in and around the New Forest.
For food and drink? There are shops, cafes, restaurants and some fantastic pubs (some of which are a great start and end point to a walk)
The only downside?
These are just a few of the reasons I love the New Forest, and I hope some of you will fall in love with it too!