Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Discover your National Park Day with Free Family Activities

Discover your National Park Day at the New Forest Centre
Families are being invited to discover the New Forest National Park with a host of free activities in Lyndhurst on Saturday (August 16).

There will be free entry to the museum at the New Forest Centre from 10am to 4pm with a number of children's activities including making your own hobby ponies.

Rangers will lead guided walks to the Open Forest and children aged five to fifteen can go free on the open-top New Forest Tour, which stops just outside the New Forest Centre.

There will also be tours of the historic 13th century Verderers’ Court, and an opportunity to visit and picnic in the gardens of the historic Queen’s House.

Gillie Hayball, Lead Ranger at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: 'Discover your National Park Day is great fun and great value with a number of free activities. It also offers a taster of what the New Forest has to offer and gives people an insight into the Forest’s ancient traditions and unique way of life.'

Hilary Marshall, New Forest Centre Manager, said: ‘We are pleased to be working in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority to offer such a great day of activities. The New Forest Centre is the perfect place to start your visit to the New Forest.’

For more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/nationalparkday and for New Forest Tour timetables go to www.thenewforesttour.info.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Beach Bus and open-top New Forest Tour Bus are enjoying a busy summer

Beach Bus at Lepe Country ParkPassenger numbers for New Forest buses are at an all-time high as visitors and residents swap their cars for green transport.

The seasonal Beach Bus and open-top New Forest Tour are enjoying busy summers thanks to new stops and discount offers, improved ferry links and a largely dry summer.

Both services are run by operators More bus and Bluestar in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) funded campaign to encourage more people to travel without a car in the National Park.

Twice as many people caught the Beach Bus in its first week (26 July to 1 August) compared to the same period last year, with 1,552 passengers in 2014 compared to 719 in 2013.

The daily summer service, from Hythe to Lepe, Beaulieu and Lymington, has proved popular with visitors and residents thanks to great value tickets and a free ferry link from Southampton. Passengers also enjoy 20% discounts at attractions like Buckler’s Hard as well as free ice creams at Lepe beach.

The New Forest Tour has so far attracted 15,977 passengers compared to 15,388 in the same period last year (28 June to 2 August). Last year a record 40,600 passengers hopped on the open-top’s three routes around the National Park during its 11-week season.

Numbers for the green route around the south east of the New Forest are significantly higher thanks to a new link with Hythe Ferry, whilst the red route in the north of the Forest has benefited from new stops at New Forest Wildlife Park and Longdown Activity Farm near Ashurst. The timetable for the blue route along the south coast has also been revised so all three routes run eight times a day, seven days a week.

Edward Heron, Deputy Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘These figures show that by providing a better experience, better value and regular services you can encourage visitors and residents to swap their cars for greener forms of transport.

‘The good weather has been very important. But we had a warm and dry summer in 2013, so to improve on last year’s figures is significant.

New Forest Tour Bus
‘The New Forest Tour and Beach Bus also help to protect the fragile landscapes of the National Park by reducing congestion and carbon emissions, as well as providing a boost to local businesses. Last year the New Forest Tour saved around 223,000 private car miles and contributed an estimated £660,000 to the local economy.’

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of operators More bus and Bluestar, said: ‘We’re very pleased with the summer we’ve had so far. The new link for the New Forest Tour with Hythe Ferry has been particularly popular as people ferry across from Southampton rather than driving their cars.’

The Beach Bus and New Forest Tour are supported in part by a £3.8m sustainable transport fund from the DfT, shared with the South Downs National Park. The aim is to encourage 370,000 people to get out of their cars and use greener transport by the end of March 2015.

The Beach Bus runs until 31 August. For more information visit www.thebeachbus.info, www.facebook.com/ridethebeachbus and www.twitter.com/ridethebeachbus.

The New Forest Tour’s three routes run until 14 September. For more information and a 10% online discount visit www.thenewforesttour.info, www.facebook.com/newforesttour and www.twitter.com/newforesttour

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Picket Post a must see Panoramic View of the New Forest National Park

Exit the A31 signposted Burley and Services. Follow the road round signposted Burley and within a couple of hundred yards there is a small gravel car park signposted Picket Post. Drive in to the car park and you are confronted with one of the most magnificent panoramic views of the New Forest National Park. Immediately before you is a valley stretching miles. In the far distance the landscape inclines to reveal a forest skyline.

You could literally sit there for hours with a pair of binoculars and survey the endless heathland terrain. While I was there I took four photos using my iPhone (shown below). I don't think I captured the true spender like a professional photographer, but I'm sure they will give you some idea of the magnificent views from Picket Post. Enjoy and do visit if you are in the area.


Further historical in-depth reading can be found at inewforest.co.uk/places/picket-post