Make the most of the coast with the launch of the New Forest Beach Bus

Beach Bus launch

Published Tuesday 9 July 2013

Families can enjoy a free ice cream and a fun trip to the seaside thanks to a new bus service for the school summer holidays.

The Beach Bus will be launched later this month, offering great views of the New Forest National Park’s coastline, countryside and villages.

The bus will link the Southampton Hythe Ferry to the beach at Lepe Country Park, where passengers can enjoy sun, sand, free ice creams and bathing water recommended for its quality in the Good Beach Guide by the Marine Conservation Society.

Ticker holders can hop on and off all day, with the bus calling at popular attractions such as Exbury Gardens, Buckler’s Hard, Beaulieu and Lymington.

A beach themed launch event for the Beach Bus will be held at Hythe Ferry on July 27 from 10.30am where families can meet Domino the donkey, listen to music and enjoy tasty nibbles from the New Forest Marque tasting stand.

There’ll also be free goody bags for the first 25 children aged six and under to climb on board the Beach Bus.

The Beach Bus is run by Wilts & Dorset in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, and supported by a £3.8m Department for Transport fund to encourage car free travel in the New Forest and South Downs National Parks.

Nat Taplin, who works as a sustainable transport officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The Beach Bus is a fun way to see some of the hidden gems of the National Park without the hassle of driving or finding a place to park. You can sit back and relax whilst gazing out of the beautiful scenery.’

Andrew Wickham, managing director of Wilts & Dorset, said: ‘This is exciting news as we know the New Forest is one of the most popular destinations in the country. The Beach Bus is also great value, making it affordable for families to enjoy the coast and countryside of the New Forest.’

Adult day tickets are just £5, while a group ticket of up to five people is just £10.

Ticket holders can also enjoy 20 per cent off entry tickets at popular attractions such as Buckler’s Hard, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and Puffin Billi Cruises at Lymington, as well as a free ice cream at Lepe Beach Café.

Alison Steele, manager at Lepe Country Park, said: ‘The Beach Bus will be a great way for visitors to get to the seaside here at Lepe, particularly for those coming across the Hythe Ferry from Southampton. We have a beach that’s more than a mile long, pine fringed cliffs, historic D-Day remains and stunning views across the Solent.’

Jane Mills, the Buckler’s Hard attraction manager, said: ‘Our Maritime Museum is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year and the Beach Bus looks like a fun way for visitors to discover more about the place where warships for Nelson’s Navy were built. The Beach Bus also means it’s much easier to get here without a car.’

Beach Bus passengers can also enjoy a £1 off Hythe Ferry tickets.

Sath Naidoo, operations manager at Hythe Ferry said: ‘With the Beach Bus waiting at the terminal, Hythe Ferry is once again a gateway to the New Forest giving easy access to the National Park’s charming villages, stunning coastline and wonderful countryside.’

The Beach Bus will run daily from 27 July to 1 September. New Forest Tour passengers can also ride the Beach Bus for free with a valid Tour ticket.

For a full Beach Bus timetable and details on discounts go to www.thebeachbus.info

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Picture caption: Domino the donkey getting ready for the launch of the Beach Bus at Hythe Ferry, with (from l-r) Jamie Gibbon, 9, Jan Bevis from Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, Lucy Gibbon, 7, and Sion Donovan from the sustainability team at the New Forest National Park Authority.

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

•    Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect

•    Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

•    Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk  to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, Sustainability Team, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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