Your Daily Dose of the Great Outdoors

January, 2021

Here in the New Forest we are surrounded by natural beauty and wildlife and that is one of the top reasons so many of you come to visit us. And, although you can’t walk through our doors right now, there’s still plenty of the great outdoors to explore. Want to know our top recommendations for the most beautiful winter spots to visit? Here in no particular order are our top five:


Lepe Country Park and Beach

A stony beach that forms part of Lepe Country Park, situated in an area of outstanding natural beauty. The views spread across the Isle of Wight, with excellent coastal walks featuring pine-fringed cliffs, D-day remains and wild flower meadows. Lepe Country Park is home to a range of wildlife and natural habitats. The mudflats provide an important feeding for Brant Geese and many species of birds, including Curlew, Oystercatcher, Dunlin and Plover. Over by the freshwater ponds you’ll find more birds including Herons and Kingfishers.


Hatchet Pond

The largest body of water in the New Forest, Hatchet Pond was created in the 18th century to provide power for an iron mill. Since the ponds creating a wonderful array of wildlife now call the pond home, including over a third of all species of wetland plants found in the UK and around 100 species of freshwater insects. As well as these, you can see swans and ducks on the water and usually Donkey’s grazing nearby. If you fall in love with Hatchet Pond as much as us, then we recommend heading back as the sunsets, for those picture-perfect views.


Ornamental Drive

This circular woodland walk explores the exotic giant redwood trees. The New Forest is well known for its ancient oak, ash and beech woodlands, but in the mid-1800s a forest worker planted an abundance of sequoia redwoods, conifers, azaleas & rhododendrons in the grounds of Rhinefield to create the famous Ornamental Drive that’s still visible today. Although not native trees, the giant redwoods have grown to be the tallest trees in the National Park and are a mightily impressive sight for anyone who explores this wonderful woodland walkway. The walk also visits Blackwater Arboretum, a small clearing where you can relax on wooden benches surrounded by a remarkable selection of trees sourced from all around the world.


Beaulieu River

One of the few privately owned rivers in the world, Beaulieu River forms the south-eastern edge of the Beaulieu Estate, and the associated rights and obligations now exercised by Lord Montagu derive from those granted to the monks of Beaulieu Abbey by King John in 1204. The result is a river which is largely unspoilt, both in terms of its landscape and as a haven for wildlife.


The Northern Commons

From Foxbury to Rockford and Ibsley Commons, the Northern Commons is a rolling landscape of heathlands. These heathlands are fantastic examples of uplands dry heathland, leading through gentle valley systems to rich mires and bogs. These commons are steeped in history, with ornamental plantations and wartime structures still forming part of the landscape.


If you choose to head out to any of these spots, be sure to keep safe and follow government guidelines. Don’t forget to tag us in your snaps and we’ll share our favourites on social!

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