New open-top route launched in the New Forest

New Forest Tour three routes

Published Wednesday 26 June 2013

Grandstand views of the New Forest’s coast and countryside can now be enjoyed after the launch of a new open-top bus route.

The new blue route of the New Forest Tour means you can now travel around the entire National Park without a car, taking in the natural beauty from the open-top deck instead of peering through a car window.

The existing red and green Tour routes have already helped take cars off congested New Forest roads – saving about 147,000 private car miles and contributing £500,000 to the local economy each year.

The blue route explores the south west of the National Park, and includes stops at Keyhaven, Milford on Sea, and New Milton, as well as holiday parks, campsites and attractions such as New Forest Cider at Burley.

Pupils from Milford Primary School were given an exclusive trip aboard the blue bus after learning in school about the benefits of sustainable travel.

The Tour is run by Go South Coast in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority. It has grown in popularity, starting with 9,000 passenger journeys in 2007 and rising to nearly 34,000 passenger journeys in 2012, with many more expected this year.

Andrew Wickham, managing director of operator Go South Coast, said: ‘There’s genuine excitement about the new blue route this year after six years of success with the green and red routes. Sitting on the open-top deck means you can relax and enjoy superior views of ancient woodland, picturesque villages and the famous New Forest ponies. You don’t have to worry about driving or sat nav taking you down the wrong way.’

Tour passengers can hop on and off where they like, change routes and bring their bikes. All buses are equipped with audio commentaries which include tales of witches, smuggling and salt mining.

Julian Johnson, chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This new blue route complements the other two award-winning routes which will now give visitors coverage of the entire National Park. The open-top buses are an ideal opportunity for visitors to enjoy the special qualities of the New Forest without the need to drive themselves, helping to boost local business and reduce traffic and pollution in this unique landscape.” 

The red and green routes of the New Forest Tour are commercially run, but the blue bus is supported by a £3.8m Department for Transport fund to encourage 370,000 car-free journeys in the New Forest and South Downs National Parks by March 2015.

The Tour is also supported by Hampshire County Council.

Mel Kendal, Hampshire County Councillor for New Milton, said: ‘The New Forest Tour has proved to be popular with visitors and it’s exciting to see it grow to a third route this year. The Tour is a real asset for the area. It helps take cars off the road during the busy summer months and helps support the businesses and communities of this unique area.’

Refreshments at the Tour launch were provided by New Forest Marque members Cliff House Hotel at Barton on Sea.

All routes start Saturday (June 29) and will run every hour daily until 15 September.

To find out more go to www.thenewforesttour.info, or follow on Twitter @newforesttour or at www.facebook.com/newforesttour

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Picture caption: New Forest Tour commercial partners and pupils and teachers from Milford Primary School on the blue, red and green buses at Milford on Sea overlooking the Solent and the Isle of Wight. 

Background notes

In 2012 the New Forest Tour won a ‘Highly Commended’ award in the Best Responsible Transport category at the Virgin Holiday Responsible Tourism Awards.

The New Forest Tour follows three routes known as red, green and blue.

■ Green Route: serving Lymington, Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst

■ Red Route: serving Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls, Ashurst and Lyndhurst

■ Blue Route: serving Brockenhurst, Lymington, Milford-on-sea, Barton-on-sea, New Milton, Bashley, Thorney Hill and Burley.

New Forest Tour customers can enjoy free bus travel to and from Salisbury, Southampton, Bournemouth and Hythe on selected scheduled services. Simply buy your New Forest Tour ticket on scheduled bus services leaving these locations.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk


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