See how our ancestors travelled in new exhibition

Travel through the Ages

Published Saturday 3 May 2014

A world of boneshakers, penny farthings and charabancs has been revealed at a new exhibition from the New Forest National Park Authority.

Visitors to the Transport through the Ages exhibition can enjoy a free whistle-stop tour of the weird and wonderful contraptions that helped local people travel around the Forest over the past 200 years.

Watch the launch video by clicking here.

The free exhibition will be held at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst from 3 May to 1 June.

Antique Victorian bicycles will be on display including some of the very first bikes called velocipedes - often known as ‘boneshakers’ because of how uncomfortable it was to ride them. The exhibition also includes high-wheeled penny farthings and the ‘safety bicycle’ – the first modern bike.

Rarely seen photos show the coming of the railway to the New Forest, the allure of the motor car, the popularity of open-topped charabancs (from French, meaning ‘wagon with seats’) and its modern day equivalent  - the New Forest Tour.

The Transport through the Ages exhibition also holds plenty of interest for families thanks to interactive games and activities.

Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The exhibition is a fascinating look back over 200 years with some remarkable-looking contraptions and machinery. It also shows how transport transformed the way people lived, offering new personal freedoms, as well as what the future may hold as pressure increases on the unique and fragile landscapes of the National Park.’

For more information about the free exhibition visit

Tickets are also available for ‘Transforming travel in the New Forest National Park’, an informative talk by the National Park Authority’s Transport and Tourism team about the challenges faced in reducing car journeys and developing exciting alternatives. The talk takes place at 7.30pm on 12 May at the New Forest Centre. Tickets are £6 or £4 if you’re a Friend of the New Forest Centre. Visit


Picture caption: Victorian characters holding (from l-r) a Penny Farthing, a safety bicycle and a 'boneshaker' at the Transport through the Ages exhibition at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst

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 to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639


More articles in the news archive.

New Forest National Park Authority news feed


image-fade-right image-fade-left