The New Forest on the south coast of England is a long way from Lancashire but it’s well worth the trip.
I went there a couple of weeks ago on a caravan holiday with my husband Mark (‘Sparky’).
We stayed at a peaceful ‘adults only ‘ site called Back of Beyond near the historic market town of Ringwood.
When we arrived at the site it was packed with caravans.
Our hearts sank a little as we’d expected it to be quiet. However, the caravan site owner explained that all of the caravans were empty and were left there over the winter by their owners. Only two other people were on the site.
We pitched up under a magnificent old oak tree and there was much screaming from Sparky when we realised the electric hook up cable would not stretch to the power point. We had to do it all over again. Oh, how we laughed!
The site was a perfect base for exploring the wonders of the New Forest. Little did we know that we’d soon be walking through woodland glades and over heathland with wild horses and pigs. Our first port of call was Lyndhurst – known as the ‘capital’ of the New Forest.
William the Conqueror established his hunting grounds there and it is now home to the main New Forest visitor centre. It was a busy little town but what we really wanted to explore was the forest itself.
We headed for the village of Brockenhurst and on the way came across ponies grazing by the roadside and herds of feisty pigs rooting around in the undergrowth.
It was a joy to see these animals in the wild. One pig took a fancy to Sparky and followed him around.We moved on to the delightful waterside settlement at Beaulieu and admired the fine old buildings.
Beaulieu is also home to the National Motor Museum. We drove through the most exquisite native woods past beauty spots with quirky names such as Bucklers Hard and Hatchet Pond, then on to Christchurch Harbour on the Dorset coast.
Christchurch boasts two rivers, two castles, an 11th Century priory church, a Saxon mill and a Medieval bridge.
After drinks at the wonderful Ye Olde George Inn in the town’s Priory Quarter, we watched the boaters at Christchurch Quay. Sheer delight.
For more on the New Forest go to www.thenewforest.co.uk.