If you want to recapture childhood memories or make some new ones fast, only a picnic will do.

All those memories of hard-boiled eggs, pork pies and lashings of fizzy pop, never mind the chance to eat what you want, where you want and when you want, is irresistible.

To help you on your way we’ve compiled a list of some of our top New Forest picnic tips – the best places to throw down your tartan blanket or crank up the barbie (fire safety permitting) plus a few new takes on how to tackle this most British of traditions.

First of all, find your food. Our markets are fab for this sort of thing and take place at Hythe, Lymington, New Milton and Ringwood (check out the timings here https://www.thenewforest.co.uk/whats-on/markets)

When searching for anything to eat, be sure to look out for the New Forest Marque, your indicator of food that is both local and produced sustainably.

Many of our hotels and B&B’s will pack you up a picnic so ask yours in advance, if you’re staying there. Chewton Glen near New Milton or The Bell Inn near Bramshaw, in the forest’s north, both do this.

For a picnic with a difference contact Cyclexperience of Brockenhurst. They’ll hire you suitable bikes (including adaptive ones for people with disabilities) and they’ll also sort you a picnic from C J’s Deli, which comes with a handy basket.

Now you’ve got your goodies, where are the best places to picnic?

Almost anywhere you can lay your rug, we’d say!

Balmer Lawn, just north of Brockenhurst, is often named as a favourite place for picnickers. Perhaps this is because of the streams – a popular place to see the New Forest ponies, too - or because of the ancient oaks in this area.

The National Trust Northern Commons are another great place to stop for a picnic – walk to Robin Hood’s clump on the Ibsley Common trail for shade and amazing views.

Blackwater Woods on Rhinefield drive has picnic tables (in case you don’t want to lunch at ground level.) There are also tables at other Forest car-parks.

Bolderwood has a large designated picnic area amongst the trees, with some of the picnic tables even allowing for disposable BBQs. There is also a large grassy area, perfect for games like rounders, cricket and football.

Whitefield Moor near Brockenhurst is another beautiful spot, with walks around the nearby Ober Water stream.

And if you want to take your picnic beside the seaside, the beach at Lepe Country Park is also perfect.

Fancy a barbie? Don’t we all, but with the fire risk now sky high, you will need to obey some important rules, set by the Forestry Commission.

Open fires are NOT allowed. Anywhere.

The Forestry Commission will only allow disposables at Bolderwood, Blackwater and Wilverley, where stands and water are available.

Raised, non-disposable BBQs are allowed on the gravel of Forestry Commission car parks, providing that you have water available and they are fully extinguished after use.

Remember, you can’t collect forest wood to use (it’s home to lots of lovely insects) and all rubbish and coals must be taken away by you.

You can hire special barbecue hearths at Anderwood and Wilverley and if you will have more than 20 people joining you, you’ll need to check on 0300 067 4601 or e-mail southern.permissions@forestryengland.uk.

You can also hire barbecue hearths at Lepe Country Park, for up to 60 or 20 people.




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