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Thinking of an autumn week or weekend away? The New Forest might be just the place for you. It offers a huge range of options in beautiful surroundings, it is easy to get to and it really has it all, from high end dining and wonderful hotels to camping, staying in shepherds’ huts, activities of all sorts and a stunning location in which to enjoy it all. There is also an excellent website www.thenewforest.co.uk to make your planning so easy.
As well as the landscape and natural beauty of the Forest itself, there is a surprising number of fabulous museums, from Sammy Miller’s marvellous Motorcycle Museum to its bigger neighbour The National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. Buckler’s Hard is a wonderful destination on the banks of the River Beaulieu where some of Nelson’s Ships were built and where you can have a peek into the life of a shipwright there are many, many more attractions that are just waiting to be discovered. For lovers of a little luxury we have Careys Manor and its award-winning spa, fine dining at The Montagu Arms, some wonderful and historic hotels such as Balmer Lawn – the site being mentioned in the Domesday Book – and some terrific yachting watering holes in Lymington too. There are some fabulous gardens too such as Exbury Gardens with the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias, rare trees and shrubs, and this is a real family destination with a super tea rooms– check out the 12 ¼ inch steam railway and watch out for special themed trips – Santa certainly pays it a visit!
There are numerous festivals and celebrations throughout the year from the New Forest Show itself to the Lymington Sea Food Festival, Hampshire Open Studios, and added to all of this if you check out the Go New Forest Card there are some serious savings to be had, too - visit www.card.gonewforest.com.
The local wildlife plays a very prominent part in daily life, and the traditions of the ponies goes back 2,000 years – and with 5,000 of them wandering about you can’t help but notice them! Add to that the pigs and their yearly pannage when the tradition, dating back to William The Conqal mix that has had people visiting the Forest for many, many years – so whether you have a day, a weekend or a whole holiday the New Forest should be high on your list for a visit, very soon.
During our recent heat-wave, wildlife both large and small have taken a hit.
The hot weather has not only reduced available water sources but has also caused a significant reduction in insect numbers, which in turn affects animals higher up the food chain.
One example is the hedgehog, which has already seen a dramatic 97% reduction in numbers since the 1950’s. In the wild, hedgehogs feed on prey including worms and slugs, which don’t fare too well in hot weather.
So, how can you help? The best way you can help hedgehogs, and other small mammals, is to leave food and water in your garden – a shallow pet bowl with some cold water, and some food. The easiest option is a wet meat-based (though not fish!) cat or dog food, or even hedgehog biscuits if you can find them! Make sure you wash the bowls regularly to prevent the spread of any infections between hogs and hoglets.
In no time the hedgehogs should thank you with their prickly presence, and you’ll know that you are helping them to thrive.
For your chance to win a £20 Amazon voucher please complete a short survey that will help identify where hedgehogs are present or absent. It also aims to find other ways that we can increase hedgehog numbers across the UK.
The New Forest by Angela Cave
Help our Hedgehogs – and win £20! by Emily Gilford