Fun in the Forest for less this half term

sally mitchell

Published Tuesday 20 May 2014

The New Forest National Park is jam-packed full of fun activities and events for all the family this half term holiday.

All of the ideas featured are free or low cost, helping you take the whole family out into the great outdoors this spring.

Of course the first cost of a family day out is travel, so save money by coming to the New Forest by train rather than car. Tickets to the New Forest from any South West Trains station are just £5 for children and £14 for adults (24 May – 1 June) and will be available at ticket vending machines or online at www.southwesttrains.co.uk. For a map of the South West Trains network visit www.southwesttrains.co.uk/networkmap.aspx.

Once you arrive in the National Park get on your bike for Family Cycling Adventures. Enjoy cycle hire discounts, free activity packs for the train or bus journey, and enter a photo competition to win some fantastic prizes. You could win a spa break, an adventure day for four, tickets to the National Motor Museum plus much more at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/familycycling.

Alternatively why not explore the Forest on foot with one of 20 walking routes featured on the ViewRanger smartphone app and at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walking. Choose a walk of any length you like, download the app and explore!

You can also take your pick from these exciting family events throughout half term week:

  • Run River Run (27 May, 10.30am-12pm, £3 suggested donation, Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve) Bring your wellies for a splash in Dockens Water and discover the fish and other wildlife that live there. Nets are supplied and experts will be on hand to help you have plenty of family freshwater fun. Organised by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, booking essential, contact blashford.lakes@hiwwt.org.uk.
  • Wild Wednesdays (28 May, 10am-4pm, car parking donation only, New Forest Reptile Centre) Join the National Park rangers for a day of family activities at the Date with Nature project. Learn about birds of prey in the New Forest and see the action unfold on a live nest-cam. Afterwards walk round the Reptile Centre to see if you can spot natterjack toads, adders and more. This is a joint project between the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust. For more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/dwn.
  • Transport through the Ages activity day (28 May, 10.30am - 1pm and 2pm - 4.30pm, free entry, New Forest Centre) See how our ancestors travelled at the free Transport through the Ages exhibition at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. Delve into a world of boneshakers, penny farthings and charabancs every day during May from 10am to 4.30pm, or join in the family activity day on 28 May for puzzles and games. Find out more at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/transportages or watch the exhibition video at www.youtube.com/watch?v=mavip3Gr1bo.   
  • Nosey nature nerds (30 May, 11am-2pm, £5 per-person, National Trust Foxbury) Put your nature detection skills to the test and see what you can discover with the National Trust rangers. Foxbury is the perfect New Forest destination for an outdoor adventure and to see the huge restoration project in progress. Organised by National Trust New Forest. Booking essential on 01794 344020.

-ends-

Notes to photo editor:

Children search for bugs with their mother in the New Forest.

Notes to editor:

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 Contact:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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