Here in the magical New Forest we’re always keen to do our bit to help ensure it remains one of the UK’s premiere nature hotspots, as well as a beautiful place to be.
Which is why we like to encourage our visitors to leave their car at home and travel here – or around the forest – in the greenest way possible.
For a truly green arrival, let the train take the strain - we’re just 89 minutes from London Waterloo and with eight stations serving the entire length of the forest, you’ll have plenty of get-off points to choose from.
Or come by coach - The National Express coaches stop at Ringwood and regularly travel from central London (from London Victoria Coach Station).
Coming from the Isle of Wight? Forget the car and bring your bikes – or walking shoes – and use the Wightlink Ferry from Yarmouth. In just 40 minutes you’ll be in the Georgian town of Lymington, with the splendours of the rural forest just a mile or so beyond.
And if you like being on the water and are coming from Southampton or the east, make the smartest travel move we know – cruising in on the Hythe Ferry. It costs just £3 extra to bring your bike, and ferries depart around every half hour during the summer weekdays between 6.10am and 7.10pm with a later timetable on Saturdays.
You can cycle here using the National Cycle Network’s Route 2 – which goes along the south coast and brings you into the forest from Hythe, connecting from Bournemouth and Christchurch the other way. Cycle Route 236 brings you in from Totton, whilst Route 25 brings you down from North Dorset to enter the forest outskirts at Verwood.
Once you’re here you’ll find 100 miles of off-road tracks plus quiet byways where the greatest hazard is a wandering pony. That’s what makes the New Forest perfect for nervous bikers and the best place to bring child cyclists for a real bicycle adventure. You don’t even have to own or bring a bike, either, the following companies will make sure you can hire the bike that’s right for you and some will even rent you adaptive bikes for those with disabilities, or a little trailer for your dog! Contact any of the following for more information Cyclexperience Bike Hire at Brockenhurst, Forest Leisure Cycling at Burley, and The Woods Cyclery near Lyndhurst, as well as a couple of others dotted around, which you can find here.
And all major towns around the forest – from Bournemouth to Southampton - have local buses which connect to the area. If you have any queries regarding bus travel, please contact Bluestar on 01202 338 421 and Morebus on 01202 338 420.
But if you want a route that will show you the very best sights of all, book yourself onto the New Forest Tour. Running from July 6- Sunday 8 September 2019, you’ll get all the advantages of motor travel without the hassle, plus the chance to really enjoy the views from the open-top bus, whilst letting someone else worry about those jay-walking ponies!
The tour’s audio commentary brings everything to life and your ticket allows you to hop on and off wherever you like all day, as well as switch between routes, all on the same ticket.
For a tailor-made tour, or one just for friends or family, contact New Forest Platinum Tours. Their Forest Appreciation Tour lasts an hour, or they can devise a special itinerary.
Prefer to tour by water? Kayak along Beaulieu River New Forest Activities, or head out on our beautiful coast with The New Forest Paddle Sport Company, where you can spend two hours paddleboarding from Keyhaven to Hurst Castle through the stunning salt marshes.
Or get a pony’s eye view of the forest by saddling up with one of our riding schools for a trek, either by yourself or by joining a group. Take to the bridleways and tracks crossing our open heathland, pick up some of the coastal routes and soak up the atmosphere. You can find details of riding schools here.
Or take Shanks’s Pony – a good, old-fashioned walk and the most environmentally-friendly way to travel round the forest of all.
We have more than 140 miles of tracks and footpaths taking in some of the Forest’s most magnificent sights, from the deer sanctuary at Bolderwood, to the Ornamental Drive at Rhinefield, to Bolton’s Bench overlooking Lyndhurst. If you don’t fancy organising your walk yourself or want to track down something specific we have some great guided walk companies, such as Fuzzacker Guided Walks and The Horse Raft.
Whatever you do and however you go, you’ll know that by going car-free you’ve truly done your bit to help maintain the fragile and beautiful environment of the New Forest.