The Scott family head out to the New Forest for peace and ponies
Our second trip of this year saw us heading south to the New Forest in Hampshire. We pitched up at the New Forest Centenary campsite, which is one of the largest Caravan and Motorhome Club sites with 275 pitches. Despite this, it was still full on May Day.
We have been here before as the site is very close to Dorset where we have relatives; however, it’s been almost two years since our last visit. The price is reasonable – just over £100 for three nights for two of us on a standard pitch with awning.
Not much had changed except that the facilities were half open, which struck me as very odd. There were no showers open but you could use the loos and basins. The site operated a ‘band and Milton solution’ which was a real mash-up of the coronavirus protocols of last year. Retrieve a pink or purple band from the fluid, hang it on a peg and then put the band back in the fluid on exit. Once again, though, this only works when everyone sticks to the rules. One evening, there were no bands on the hooks; however, there was a lady in the loos when I entered, with no face
mask. Even a gentle challenge, evoked complete silence…
That aside, this site is great for children with an ample play area, and a decent little shop on site – though we weren’t actually allowed to use the shop on our visit at busy check-in times due to restrictions and, on a site of this size, that’s almost all of the time.
However, there’s a regular fish and chip van and pizza van that turn up several times a week. Both did a brisk trade.
For dog walkers, the site is a good one. It has a long, thin dog walk and, all around, is the New Forest where anyone can walk for miles, though, with so many ponies around, I wouldn't let a dog off lead. On this trip, though, we were dogless – having left her at home with our older children.
We still went exploring around the gorse scrubland – just missing the rain and the very black clouds – and I was really disappointed there were no ponies in sight.
Around the corner from the site there is a memorial for the servicemen and women who served during WWII in the Royal
Air Force bases around here.
Out on the scrublands, we saw loads of birds and, having taken shelter in a copse as the rain started, we walked into a moment of magic: as we were taking pictures of violets, three ponies appeared silently and sauntered past, not giving us even a second glance. We couldn’t have been closer if we’d tried!
Just down the road from the site (around 10 miles away), is Lyndhurst, a pretty little village with lovely shops and eateries.
It’s known as the capital of the New Forest. We spent a good morning browsing and spending, having parked in a large car park, which cost £4 for a five-hour stay.
We popped into The Stag for lunch and the food was excellent. It was too cold to sit out for any length of time and so Steve wrapped himself up in a blanket, which raised a laugh all around. He called it his ‘large bib’.
We also visited a little place
called Milford on Sea, which has a sandy beach at low tide; the upper beach is full-on pebbles.
The weather wasn’t great so it didn’t look its best, though it’s clearly popular with families as there is a large children’s play area right on the front.
With more shops open, I think it would be far more appealing. We managed to find on-street parking, too, which was a bonus.
Overall, this is an area of the UK worth several visits as there’s so much to see and a weekend just isn’t enough. We will definitely be back to explore more of Hampshire’s hidden gems.
We walked into a moment of magic: as we were taking pictures of violets, three ponies appeared silently and sauntered past us