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For business and pleasure - a trip on the New Forest Tour

The New Forest Tour has returned for the summer with its three routes around the National Park. It not only offers the best views of the Forest, but it helps take cars off the road and last year it contributed an estimated £660,000 to the local economy. The New Forest National Park Authority’s Transport and Tourism Officer Shona Marsh took local businesses for a trip on the Tour.

The 2014 New Forest Tour season has started and we’ve had a great first week! On Wednesday I was fortunate to accompany 12 people who own or work for local tourism businesses within the New Forest.

The idea was to introduce businesses to the New Forest Tour and its routes, particularly a few changes for 2014, and to create a live feed of the day on social media.

There were two reasons for this: to show visitors an example itinerary and also for businesses to engage with social media followers, customers and guests to show them how easy it is to use the New Forest Tour to explore the Forest. And hopefully they would then go on to be great ambassadors for the Tour.

Local businesses took a trip on the New Forest Tour to see what it could offer

We started the day outside the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and joined the red route to Burley. All of the routes have new on-board audio commentariesthis year about the history, culture, attractions and landscape of the Forest. The red route commentary is themed around the ‘famous’ people of the New Forest, including Brusher Mills, the famous snakecatcher, and after whom the Snakecatcher pub in Brockenhurst is named.

We got off in Burley and had an hour to visit some of the tasty haunts. Free tasters outside the fudge shop meant that I was enticed inside and ended up with Lemon Meringue and Mint Chocolate fudge, absolutely delicious.

Ponies at Burley village where the New Forest Tour red and blue routes stop

Burley is also home to the Cider Pantry, many ice cream shops, some great tea rooms and pubs so there is no shortage of tasty treats. Burley is also Brand New Forest (BNF) village of the year for 2014 and we had Carol Seymour from BNF with us to tell us all about the scheme. And of course, the New Forest pony put in an obligatory appearance, by the pub no less. It must have been thirsty in the heat!

From Burley, we changed to the blue route, which skims the coast and has a smuggling and seafaring theme to the commentary. It dips into a number of holiday parks and campsites along the way.

The view over to the Isle of Wight and the Needles from the New Forest Tour blue route

We carried on to Lymington, with spectacular views across the water to both the Purbecks and the Isle of Wight. You can also spot Hurst Castle, commissioned by Henry VIII and accessible by a good walk along Hurst Spit, or a short boat ride from Keyhaven Nature Reserve.

Lymington Quay on the New Forest Tour green route

Lymington was a brief stop, where we wandered down the cobbled street to the Quay before hopping on to the green route, telling you about the New Forest and its unique history. Passing through the beautiful village of Beaulieu and through Beaulieu Motor Museum and Exbury Gardens, there are plenty of places to hop off on this route.

This year, the green route now stops at Hythe Ferry, where you can ride on the quaint pier railway, connecting with the ferry to Southampton. The final part of our trip was a little blustery over the protected heathlands of the New Forest, back to Lyndhurst.

Free roaming ponies can be seen from the top deck on all three New Forest Tour routes

We had a great day exploring the New Forest, and lots of people saw places that they hadn’t ventured to before. There are even more places that we didn’t manage to get to!

A big thank-you to all who came and made it so successful: Daisybank Cottage, Acorns of Lyndhurst, Cottage Lodge, Shorefield Holidays, Ringwood Brewery, Camping in the Forest, Careys Manor Hotel and our friends at New Forest District Council on behalf of New Forest Tourism Association and Brand New Forest.

Remember that the New Forest Tour runs until September 14 and you can get 10% off tickets if you book online at www.thenewforesttour.info.

This entry was posted by Communications on Friday 04/07/2014

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