On Friday Chelsea and I headed to Brockenhurst to begin our day in The New Forest. We have heard many great things about this area – ponies wandering the town, gorgeous views, wildlife…what more could you want? We had to check it out for ourselves.
Arriving at 11:00 am, we stepped off the train and after quickly realizing renting a bike from the cycle hire would be quite pricy, we set out on foot. Figuring the forest must be close to the train station since it IS towns and towns of plain forest, we walked out to the street – trusted our instinct to head right and walked into the woods. We were told the forest was within walking distance. Well…first mistake was trying to “find” the woods on our own. We did ask the lady at the station for a map or if they had some sort of information/tourist information there but should have asked more questions. Saw a sign saying a tourist information office was in Lyndhurst but stupidly didn’t enquire.
We walked for about an hour and a half in Brockenhurst before admitting to ourselves this was going nowhere. We were in forest, but not the proper forest. We were walking on roads! Heading back to the train station, we adjusted our route and decided to get the heck out of Brockenhurst.
Lyndhurst is home of the Visitor Information Centre so we were very much inclined to get there. As it turns out, The New Forest has one bus route and I only mean ONE for the entire geographical area and it runs every 2 hours. If we were to wait at the stop at the train station we would be wasting even more time (next one was in 40 mins) so we took a taxi (even though we didn’t want to spend the money) and got a ride straight to our destination.
A lovely lady helped us plan our day and gave us options for what we could do. We decided to do the Lyndhurst Parish walk and was handed a pamphlet that explained the directions for navigating the route.
We ate our packed lunch and headed out shortly after 1:00 pm.
We quickly realized how adorable of a town Lyndhurst is. I want to put it in my pocket!! Not even 5 minutes into our walk we stumbled upon Bolton’s Bench – which is home to many, many, many ponies grazing. It was incredible. In the pamphlets they say not to feed or touch the animals, which is understandable. They don’t want them being dependent on humans and so forth. But, we didn’t have to do much for the horses started coming to US. I think they smelled the peanut butter on our hands! Everywhere you turned there were 3-4 more ponies and it was magical! They were so cute although you could tell one was very hungry and playfully bit me – I took that as a sign to move on. Well, we started walking but so did he – he even crossed the road with us! We had an entourage of ponies.
After the fun with the ponies we headed on the route to the actual forest and well…let’s just say those directions are not clear in the LEAST. It took us 2.5 hours to find the ENTRANCE to the forest. We walked along a deserted highway for what seemed like ages – it felt like we were in a movie of some sort. Like “Due Date”. Was this a joke? Could it be THIS hard?
We even asked a couple of locals and they weren’t much help!
We were about to give up (this happened twice now) when we stumbled upon the entrance and it was as if we’d found treasure. The walk through the forest was very enchanting; I just wish the deer were out to spot!
We got to a point where we realized we should head back to town to catch the 5:48 bus (would be dark by then). But, we found a bus stop near us in the forest that was coming in 20 minutes. Might as well wait here! We waited….
That bus sign was a fluke. No bus was coming. Hey we get to walk some more now, joy! We headed to the town part of Lyndhurst and found that quite easily thank goodness. Since we had some time before the 6 came, we stopped in a pub called The Mailman’s Arms for some tea. The pubs here in England are so cute! I love them!
It’s 5:48 and the bus isn’t here. Ok, let’s give it a few minutes.
It’s 6:00 and we are still waiting. Is this a sick joke?
We asked one of the locals waiting and he said it normally comes at 6:06. Sure enough, it did. 18 mins past its scheduled time??!
Thanks to the bus’ lack of punctuality we missed the Bournemouth train and had to wait at the station for 45 minutes to catch the next one. We were the only ones there basically.
So, all in all it was a great day but obstacles were very much evident. We seriously felt like we were in scenes from a movie. I think the next time I visit I will do the bus tour that runs in summer to see all the towns!