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5 top tips to seek out the secrets of the New Forest National Park

Looking for ways to explore the New Forest? Then Beccy Jesson can help. As part of the New Forest Travel Concierge team based at Brockenhurst rail station, she helps guide visitors and residents see the best of the National Park without the confines of the car?

We have an awesome job. Every day we get to help people become New Forest explorers and it’s not just visitors. Many local people are experiencing something new in the place they’ve lived their whole lives. The key ingredient to this newfound adventure; leave the car at home.

These are our top five tips to seek out the secrets of the forest, embrace existing transport links and have the ultimate New Forest day out.

1) Arrive by stress-free train travel

Relax with countryside views and you might even spot a deer on the way in! 

We are lucky enough to have four train stations within the National Park boundary, including the mainline station Brockenhurst. Over 130 trains stop here every day from as far as Manchester, Leeds and Weymouth. It’s just 90 minutes from London Waterloo and there’s no risk of getting stuck in the traffic at Lyndhurst!

There’s also less regular services to Beaulieu Road station which is in the middle of heathland - great for direct access to open forest.

2) Best by bike

Cycling is the most efficient way to move which means you can explore far and wide by bike in a day! 

There are over 100 miles of off-road network with cycle hire operators all around the Forest. It’s advisable to book during the summer holidays as they all get very busy. Here are a few of our favourite routes:

  • Brockenhurst to Blackwater - a family friendly loop to the tallest trees in the forest. There are facilities at Blackwater and two short walking trails to explore the huge and enchanting Redwoods.
  • Burley to Fritham - a longer ride that takes you up to the deer sanctuary at Bolderwood and leads you to a  great local pub in Fritham, The Royal Oak. There’s plenty of space to prop your bike against the bench whilst sipping a local beer and admiring the surrounding fields.
  • Beaulieu towards Buckler’s Hard - the two mile ride on the gravel path is very scenic with views of fields, forest and the Beaulieu river. The Master Builders pub at the end of the route is a great place to stop by for a drink before heading back.

3) Walk this way

Walking really is ‘slow travel’ – see all the curious details and find the quietest corners of the forest. 

The forest is very accessible for walkers who are not restricted to an official network of routes. Here are a few different walking routes to try:

  • Coastal - walk the Lymington to Keyhaven nature reserve, following the coast you can’t get lost! You have protected marshes to your right and the Isle of Wight and the Needles to your left. Great on a clear day and you can jump on the New Forest Tour at Keyhaven to return back to Lymington.
  • Heath and forest - this walk starts at Beaulieu Road station and takes you over beautiful heathland and forest. It’s also reassuring that, despite being in the middle of nowhere, there is a local pub at Beaulieu Road station to refuel when you’ve finished!
  • Easy family loop - this takes you straight out of Brockenhurst, across grassland (great for a picnic) where the ponies like to hang out to the forest at Bolderford Bridge with shallow winding water and the odd rope swing. 

There's also the New Forest Walking Festival this autumn - guided wildlife walks, history hikes and family strolls (18 October to 2 November, 2014).

4) The New Forest Tour (until 14 September, 2014)

An open top safari gives you the best views in the forest! 

But it’s not just a great experience; it’s also a valuable transport link. The three routes take you to places and attractions that would be otherwise difficult to reach without a car. Your ticket gets you local discounts and you can take your bikes on board for free. There are great multi-day and group ticket options; up to five adults can use a group ticket and it works out as half the price of a standard adult day ticket…so round-up a few friends! 

5) Look-up local events

Get active and get involved. 

There are local events all year round and many free family activities. During summer, you can find free National Park Ranger activity days, bug hunts at Lepe Country Park and bush craft skills at campsites. Local events range from the big (New Forest Show) to the small (local producer markets) to the obscure (Burley Fairy Festival). Just do a little planning and be prepared for some mud, sweat and deer!

If you would like some more information about any of the above, a personalised itinerary or general travel advice, we can be contacted via our social media: or on Twitter @NewForestTravel

The New Forest Travel Conicerge team will be based at Brockenhurst rail station until 14 September, 2014. 

This entry was posted by Communications on Friday 29/08/2014


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