Lyndhurst although quite large is still essentially a New Forest village. It is the home of the New Forest Museum and Visitor Centre and so is an ideal place to start any visit or stay in the New Forest. The village is approximately 9 miles from Southampton, 25 miles from Bournemouth and 90 miles from London.Lyndhurst is the seat of the Court of Verderers. Since the Middle Ages this court has protected the rights of commoners to graze ponies and cattle on the sandy heathland and in the beech and oak woods that make up the forest. Nowadays the court meets in Queen's House in Lyndhurst six times a year. The skyline is dominated by St. Michael and All Angels Church where in the churchyard is the grave of Alice Hargreaves, who was Alice Liddell, a daughter of Henry George Liddell, who at the time was the dean of Christchurch. Alice was Lewis Carroll's inspiration for 'Alice in Wonderland'. The Alice stories, have made the name Lewis Carroll famous throughout the world and were originally written in 1862. Since then they have been translated into many languages.In and around Lyndhurst high street are shops, pubs, restaurants, and banks plus ample parking near the center of the village. Located within the free car park is the New Forest Visitor Centre and Museum. The Museum tells the entire story of The New Forest including a audio and visual show and exhibition. The Visitor Centre is open daily from 10am.At the eastern end of the town is Boltons Bench a wooded mound named after a 17th Century Lord Warden of the New Forest.
Lymington sits rather nicely in our villages section although technically it's a New Forest Town. Lymington is an ancient seaport and had a major role in defending the English coast against French invasion. The town is approximately 18 miles from Southampton, 17 miles from Bournemouth and 98 miles from London. The town, like Brockenhurst is accessible by rail.Lymington has a thriving local marine industry and is world famous for its safe coastal sailing in and around the Solent. Lymington Quay has a variety of yachts and pleasure craft but still remains a busy ferry and fishing port with the Royal Lymington Yacht Club at the heart of the local marine industry. A regular ferry link to the Isle of Wight is operated by Wightlink Ferries and takes about half an hour. The ferries run into Yarmouth harbour on the island which also boasts a thriving yachting and fishing community. Local cruises from Lymington town quay are available where visitors can enjoy views of the Isle of Wight or go sea fishing. The town once had a reputation for its smuggling, and as you wander through the narrow streets and lanes you can imagine how it used to be. Nowadays Lymington is a bustling market town and every Saturday it comes to life with the many colourful market stalls that can be explored by the visitor in the main high street.
The town of Fordingbridge was originally known as "Forde" and the "bridge" element of the name was not added until the Avon was first spanned at this point. The Great Bridge, of seven arches, was in existence in 1286 A.D. and possibly earlier. One of three ancient stone bridges crossing the River Avon, the other two being Harnham and Christchurch. Fordingbridge Bridge is 130ft long and consists of seven stone arches, now with a reinforced concrete footpath on one side which was added in 1901 to widen the bridge. There is a record of pontage raised at Fordingbridge Bridge in 1252 to pay for repair. More significant alterations were made in 1841 when both sides were widened, adding 4ft 6in to the width of the bridge. The original arches are still visible, being smaller in span than the C19th additions which were built onto the cutwaters.Once an industrial town and commercial centre, Fordingbridge boasted many trades such as pottery, brick making and textile manufacture. The town is also famous for its smuggling and the infamous Captain Diamond, the `Smuggler King' spent much of his time here in a local hostelry. The town has developed into a wonderful place for visitors with its beautiful scenery, traditional shops and places to eat and drink. The 34 mile Avon Valley Path passes through the town providing lovely countryside walks.
Sway is a small village on the southern edge of the New Forest just four miles from Lymington. Sway village is a haven for walkers, horse riders, cyclists and sailors. The village is best known for its tower built entirely out of concrete. Sway Tower, also known as Peterson's Folly is 200ft tall and even today remains the tallest structure built out of non-reinforced concrete.The village has a growing shopping centre that features a number of places to eat and drink as well as stock up on the weekly shopping with an award winning butchers and a bustling village shop. And for those looking for a bit of culture the village is lucky to have an excellent contemporary arts centre in the form of Spudworks that plays host to a number of local and international exhibitions as well as educational workshops for all ages
Brockenhurst is situated between Lyndhurst and Lymington and is one of the largest villages in the New Forest. Brockenhurst is approximately 13 miles from Southampton, 37 miles from Bournemouth and 93 miles from London. The village is also accessible by rail as it is one of the few villages in the New Forest left with a railway after the Beeching rail-closure program. The village has a diversity of shops, tea houses and pubs and for the more adventurous visitor, many interesting forest walks of varying lengths, some way marked with explanatory information.
Burley is a very popular New Forest village and in the summer becomes a busy haven for tourists and locals alike. The village is approximately 21 miles from Southampton, 16 miles from Bournemouth, and 97 miles from London.Ponies and donkeys roam freely around the streets unaware of the interest they cause but remember, ponies and donkeys are wild and should not be feed by visitors as this will encourage them onto dangerous forest roads.The village has many traditional craft shops, tea houses, gift shops and a village pub . Horse drawn wagon rides run from the center of Burley daily but it is advisable to book in advance during the summer months.
Beaulieu is situated in the heart of the New Forest 14 miles from Southampton 23 miles from Bournemouth and 85 miles from London. The journey by road, via M3, M27, A326 takes approx. 2 hours. Many of the original Georgian red brick buildings can still be seen along with a number of unusual craft shops which are well worth a visit.Beaulieu also features the world famous National Motor Museum and Palace House home of the Montagu family. The Abbey ruins in the grounds date back to 1204 when it was founded by Cistercian Monks. The monks Refectory and Dormus still remain but sadly many of the out buildings were destroyed following the dissolution of the monasteries by Henry V111.
On the banks of the Beaulieu River in a beautiful setting you'll find Buckler's Hard steeped in Naval History, with a riverside walk and river cruises to enjoy. The name Buckler's Hard, or as it was originally spelt, Buckle's Hard, is probably derived from a local family, the Buckles, and the term "hard" is used along the South Coast to describe a landing place. The village is approximately 16 miles from Southampton, 36 miles from Bournemouth, and 94 miles from London.Two centuries ago some of Britain's most famous naval vessels were built at Buckler's Hard. From 1745 to 1822 more than 50 vessels were built for the British Navy, among them were ships for Lord Nelson's fleet.Today a maritime museum tells the story of Buckler's Hard from its origins as a port for importing sugar cane from the West Indies on through its shipbuilding history to present day. A display includes models of ships that were built for Lord Nelson featuring H.M.S. Agamemnon and authentically reconstructed Cottages. The old Master Builders House has been expanded into a Hotel and restaurant but still retains the original maritime flavour. Motor launches were built during the 1914-18 war and in the second world war, wooden minesweepers were fitted out along with the construction of some floating docks and artificial harbour units. The Beaulieu River became one of the rendezvous areas for the invasion of Normandy.
Hale is a small village in the north west of the New Forest and is also our home! Lying partly along the River Avon and partly on the Hampshire/Wiltshire border, Hale is a scattered community with the centre of the village being Hatchet Green. This delightful open space, enjoyed by residents and visitors alike is a Site of Special Scientific Interest and a Conservation Area. During the summer months a traditional game of village cricket can be seen played on the green and also in the nearby village of Woodgreen. The Green, often grazed by wild ponies, is surrounded by pretty thatched cottages. It is here you will find the modern Village Hall adjacent to the Victorian school building, home to the flourishing and very successful Hale Primary School. Nearby is the modern sculpture that was erected to mark the Millennium. Other notable landmarks in the village are Hale Park House, rebuilt in about 1715, St Mary's Church and Hale Purlieu, a stunning common in the New Forest, owned and managed by The National Trust. There are 227 properties within the Parish boundary and a population of approximately 470.
Woodgreen lies between Breamore and Hale to the east of the River Avon. It is located due south of the city of Salisbury, its nearest town is Fordingbridge lying to the southwest. In the 2001 UK Census the parish was home to 537 people in 220 households. Its nearest railway station is Dean railway station. The village has one pub called The Horse and Groom. In 2006 the village shop and post office was threatened with closure, but the village pulled together and acquired the lease for five years. On 14 May 2011 a new Woodgreen Community Shop was opened after more than four years of campaigning and fund raising by the local community. Two thirds of the parish is an area of woodland, heathland, acid grassland, scrub and valley bog, supporting a richness and diversity of wildlife. One mile to the south of the village are the earthwork remains of Castle Hill, comprising an oval ring motte with an outer bailey. The castle may have been a siege castle recorded in 1148.