New Forest National Park
New Forest National Park Location
At around 900 years old, the name of this National Park is a little misleading. It was actually created back in 1079 as a private hunting ground for William the Conqueror and its ancient landscape has changed little since.
Its 220 square miles lies within Hampshire on England’s central-southern coast. The Park’s landscape is unique, and includes woodland, open heathland, river and coastal habitats. Much of it is important for nature conservation with around a half also recognised as being nationally or internationally valuable.
Along the way you’re likely to see some of the 3,000 New Forest ponies. They’ve lived in the area for around 2,000 years and although not wild, are as close to it as you can get. They roam the area freely along with deer, cattle, donkeys, pigs and sheep.
The New Forest is also a stronghold for bats. It’s thought that 13 out of the 18 UK species can be found here. And all six species of deer found in the wild in the UK have been recorded at various times in the New Forest too, although you’re most likely to see fallow and roe deer.
One of the special qualities of the National Park is the freedom it offers to ramble across unenclosed land. It also has 143 miles of track suitable for walking, cycling and horse riding.
Camping in New Forest National Park
Although not actually in the New Forest National Park, Verwood Club Site is perfectly located just outside the Park’s central western boundary.
There are over 100 miles of way-marked cycle tracks across the Crown Lands of the Forest, including many off-road routes (please ensure you stick to way-marked routes at all times), many of these pass through some of the forest’s most popular spots. Walking is one of the best ways to see and exerience the National Park and New Forest. The area is criss-crossed with numerous tracks and trails with car parking at many of the starting points. Guided walks led by Forestry Commission Rangers are another great way to see the forest. www.forestry.gov.uk/forestry/infd-6eufcm. On windy days head to Whitemoor Common east of Verwood Club campsite, for kite flying and Bolderwood with its cycle and deer watch traills. Hatchet Pond (the largest body of water in the forest) near Beaulieu (east of Verwood Club Site) is great for nature watching and coarse fishing. The Beaulieu River Nature Reserve offer canoeing, kayaking and archery.
30 July-1 August New Forest Show, New Park, Brockenhurst
Places to visit
East of Verwood Club campsite, Lyndhurst at the National Park’s heart is home to the New Forest Museum and Information Centre. Two miles west of Lyndhurst is the New Forest Reptile Centre where you could see all of Britain’s reptiles in one place. South east of here is Beaulieu with the National Motor Museum, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. Bucklers Hard on the banks of the Beaulieu River offers an insight into life in an 18th century shipbuilding village. The spectacular 200-acre Exbury Gardens are a hop across the river just outside Exbury itself. The gardens are famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and shrubs. North east of Verwood Club Site Paulton’s Family Theme Park has over 60 rides and attractions and is home to Peppa Pig World.
Verwood Club campsite is also handy for the sandy beaches of the Bournemouth and Poole areas and the beautiful Hengistbury Head.