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The New Forest National Park

Becoming a national park in 2005, the magical New Forest was once a royal hunting ground for William the Conqueror. These days it’s a protected space that’s home to a diverse array of flora and fauna, offering a tranquil escape from daily life.

 

The New Forest National Park in Hampshire extends over 566km2, home to vast tracts of ancient woodland, rugged heathland, halcyon river valleys and coastal swathes. Sheltering all sorts of wildlife, it’s not uncommon to see New Forest ponies meandering through its wild spaces, as well as a number of deer species as well, including red, roe, fallow, sika and muntjac deer. Denoted a Special Area of Conservation and Special Protected Area under European Directives, it’s not only one of the most important conservation sites in Britain, but Europe too.

Whether you are visiting the New Forest to admire its wildlife or simply to unclog your mind of busy thoughts, there are plenty of activities for everyone amongst its verdant belt. For history lovers, you may be interested to know that the area is home to thousands of years of history, and evidence has been found to show that settlements in the New Forest date back to the Bronze Age. If you stay on the lookout, you may actually see one of the numerous round barrows (Bronze Age monuments) that still pepper the forest to this day.

For an immersive experience set at your own pace, there are loads of lovely walks that lead you through the New Forest’s woodland and heath. A great family-friendly walk, the Bolderwood Deer Watch Trail provides one of the best opportunities to see deer in their natural environment, while the 1.5-mile Blackwood Tall Tree Trail really gives a sense of scale and history, leading you past bushy conifers planted in the 1850s, some of the oldest Douglas fir trees in Britain and enormous crane-your-neck redwoods as well.

Should you fancy a little more of a challenge, there are some great longer walks that are more demanding and showcase some incredible scenery. Or, for a zoomier way to get around, the New Forest also benefits from an impressive 140 miles of car-free approved cycle routes – brilliant for cyclists of all abilities. Hopping on a hire back or your own, you can waste no time in exploring the trails. A particular favourite of ours, the Woodland Explorer Food Trail boasts 25 miles of cycle paths, pubs and grub. The only danger is getting back on your bike again!

On a well-deserved rest day, you can swap boots for brogues and wander through the quaint traditional villages of the New Forest. Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley and Lyndhurst are just some of the lovely places to visit, offering a wealth of cosy tearooms, antique shops filled with intriguing curios and local pubs serving locally brewed cider and beer. Set an agenda of rest and relaxation and return to your luxury boutique with memories to last a lifetime.

Feeling inspired? Peruse our collection of luxury cottages in the New Forest here.

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