New Forest Tour to return with new stops for wildlife and Hythe Ferry

New forest tour blue route at milford on sea

Published Monday 31 March 2014

The open-top New Forest Tour will return this summer with new stops for passengers to enjoy farm animals, wildlife and Hythe waterfront.

The green route will extend from Lymington and Beaulieu to Hythe, where it will link with the ferry from Southampton.

The red route from Lyndhurst will now call at Longdown Activity Farm and New Forest Wildlife Park, both in Ashurst.

The running time of the blue route in south west has been revised, so all three routes will run eight times a day, seven days a week from 28 June to 14 September.

Details of this year’s New Forest Tour have been revealed during English Tourism Week (29 March to 6 April) to highlight its contribution to the New Forest National Park and its economy.

Last year the Tour enjoyed its best season yet with over 40,600 passenger journeys – up 32% on the previous year. The hop on hop off service also contributed an estimated £660,000 to the local economy and saved around 223,000 private car miles.

Lord de Mauley, Minister for Science and Natural Environment, said:  ‘Our national parks are some of the most treasured places in England, contributing £4bn to building a stronger rural economy and attracting around 90 million visitors each year.

‘The open-top New Forest Tour not only helps visitors travel without their cars but it makes a significant contribution to the local economy. I’d like to encourage everyone to visit one of our national parks during English Tourism Week and you can hop on the New Forest Tour this summer to enjoy one of our most beautiful landscapes.’

New forest tour routes map 2014

Run by Go South Coast in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, the Tour offers outstanding views around the entire National Park with a new and improved audio commentary telling the stories of the Forest, through voices, sounds and music.

New Forest Wildlife Park owner Carol Heap said: ‘We’re thrilled that the New Forest Tour is coming to the Wildlife Park. It means you don’t have to depend on a car for a great day out here among the wolves, wildcats and wallabies.’

Helen Bradley Owers, parish development officer for Hythe and Dibden Parish Council, said: ‘Hythe is one of the New Forest’s hidden gems, nestling on the edge of Southampton Water with unrivalled views of the world’s greatest cruise liners. It will be a great addition to the New Forest Tour’s routes, and visitors from Southampton can also arrive at this gateway to the New Forest on the Hythe Ferry.’

The New Forest Tour is a key part of the National Park Authority’s two year drive to encourage 370,000 people to get out of their cars and use greener transport by the end of March 2015. It is supported in part by a £3.8m sustainable transport fund from the Department of Transport, shared with the South Downs National Park.

Julian Johnson, chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest Tour was a great success last year, and I’m sure with these new destinations it will attract even more passengers to view the National Park’s majestic landscapes.

‘The Tour has also helped protect the National Park’s special qualities by reducing the number of cars on the road, as well as offering a chance for local residents to use it for standard bus journeys.’

Andrew Wickham, managing director of operator Go South Coast, said: ‘We’re delighted that the New Forest Tour has continued to be a growing success since its early days. If the weather was as good as last summer, I’m sure it will be another great season.’

For more information and a 10% online discount visit www.thenewforesttour.info, www.facebook.com/newforesttour and www.twitter.com/newforesttour

-ends-

Notes to editors:

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, Hythe Ferry, Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst
  • Red Route: serving Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls, Ashurst, New Forest Wildlife Park, Longdown Activity Farm and Lyndhurst
  • Blue Route: serving Brockenhurst, Burley, New Milton, Milford-on-Sea, Keyhaven and Lymington.

New Forest Tour customers can enjoy five days travel for the price of two with a five day ticket. It’s valid for any five days in a two week period.

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

The New Forest Tour is supported by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council and My Journey Southampton.

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, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639

Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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