For a spot of tranquillity head for the village of Sway which is a varied yet quaint little village in the middle of all the hustle and bustle of the other towns and villages of the New Forest.
The village of Sway dates from Anglo-Saxon times and is listed four times in the Domesday book of 1086.
The village is best known for Sway Tower, also known locally as Peterson’s Folly. Built in the late 19th century by the eccentric Judge Peterson, the 220 foot tall tower is built entirely of concrete and was influenced by Peterson’s visits to India. Even today Sway Tower remains the tallest structure built out of non-reinforced concrete. The tower was finished around 1885 and today is a Grade II Listed building and can be seen from much of the New Forest.
The railway came to Sway in 1888 connecting the village with nearby Southampton.
The rolling countryside surrounding the village is featured in the well-known book Children of the New Forest, written by Captain Marryatt. Marryatt lived in the village in Arnewood House which has since been destroyed by fire.
A few miles from Sway, found near Wilverly Inclosure is ‘The Naked Man’ - a name given to the remains of an old oak tree once used to hang highwaymen and smugglers. Unfortunately, little remains of the original tree which is now fenced off to ensure that it lasts for many years to come.
During WWII, to the south of the village was a Emergency Landing Ground for aircraft however this was abandoned after only a year of operation due to bombing.
Things to do in Sway
Just four miles from the Georgian town of Lymington; Sway’s location makes the village perfect for walkers, horse riders and cyclists, and it is a fantastic place to visit with loads of things to do.
The village of Sway has a small, friendly community and a growing shopping centre that features a number of places to eat and drink as well as an award-winning butchers and a bustling village shop.
Open to visitors when an exhibition is in place, ArtSway is home to changing contemporary art exhibitions by both well-known and emerging artists. Look out for workshops and talks taking place here.
There are four pubs to choose from in and around the village if you are looking for a pint or a spot of food: The Hare and Hounds, The Manor at Sway, The Plough Inn and the Silver Hind.
To the south of Sway, you will find Flanders Farm Riding Centre offering friendly, personal riding lessons from complete beginners to advanced riders.
Between Sway and Lymington is the New Forest Polo School where the centre offers beginners and refreshers polo lessons as well as seasonal polo packages.
The New Forest District Council shows a couple of short walks that you can do from the centre of Sway. One being a route to the Setthorns Enclosure and the other towards Pitmore Lane Sports Field. Both give access to longer walks in the National Park.
The disused railway line to the north of the village is part of the National Cycling Network and leads to cycle tracks in Wilverley, Wootton Coppice and Brownhill Inclosures, and also to Brockenhurst. You can also pick up some of the country lanes linking Sway to Lymington and Bashley. Bikes can be hired in nearby Brockenhurst.
Take the family on the Sway Village, Forest & Footpaths Spy Mission Treasure Trail. Approximately 3 miles long and taking around 2½ hours to complete, this is a fun way for everyone to get involved in not only learning bite sized bits of history on Sway but also taking you to places you might not have seen before.
Polly’s Daylilies and Daylily nursery opens for a few months in the summer and has a living catalogue of daylilies for sale.
Sway is within a short drive of Brockenhurst, Lymington and New Milton, giving you plenty of options for things to do and days out within the area. The nearest beaches to Sway are at Barton on Sea and Milford-on-Sea, both within a short distance of the village.
Events in Sway
One of the most popular events in Sway’s calendar is the annual Sway Carnival. Taking place towards the end of June and early July, the Sway Carnival brings with it a week long of entertainment including the popular procession, fete and dog show.
Places to stay in Sway
Sway, and the surrounding areas, are a great place for a break in the New Forest with some lovely places to stay.
Close by, you can find Hackney Park self-catering cottage, ideal if you like to do your own thing when on holiday.
Where to eat and drink in Sway
From coffee shops to traditional pubs, Sway has plenty of places to eat and drink. Enjoy some real pub grub at the local watering holes or relax with a hot drink and a slice of cake in one of the cafes or coffee shops.
Getting to Sway
If coming by car, Sway is a short drive off the A35 or A337.
Sway has a mainline railway station with regular trains from London Waterloo, Bournemouth and Southampton.
Sway is supported by the flexible Cango bus service which operates a fixed and bookable service between New Milton and Lymington.