Our dear friend Reg Saints from Sutton, had been coming to Bashley Park, New Forest since the 1950s. Reg sadly passes away in December 2014, but has left a legacy of knowledge about the New Forest which he has shared with me, and I am pleased to be able to pass this on to all my guests. Reg was stationed in the Army in the Second World War where he trained soldiers. He knew the New Forest like the back of his hand. This is a trip round his favourite places and I would like to share these with you. Just follow the route as I have written it. There are no road names on the Forest so be careful not to get lost. Enjoy your trip.
From Bashley Park turn left onto the B055 (Sway Road). About 1 mile along that road you will see the sign for Sway Lakeside Fishing. You turn right into Barrows Lane where the lakes can be found. There is a B&B also in Barrows Lane.
Continue along the B055 (Sway Road) until you reach the village of Sway which is known to locals as “the most friendly village in the New Forest”. Pass through the village over the cattle grid and onto the Forest.
On a Sunday morning you could visit the Car Boot held on Strawberry Fields to pick up a bargain. Just turn right at the sign for “Boldre, Lymington”. Follow this road along until you reach the main road where you turn right. Strawberry Fields can be found just over a mile on the right hand side.
If you carry along the B055 (Sway Road) made a left turn at the B055 sign for Brockenhurst just after the pink railway cottage. You will see Brockenhurst golf course on the left hand side. When you come into the village of Brockenhurst just past the school turn left into “The Rise”, turn right into Burley Road at the signpost which says “Rhinefield 2 miles”. Pass the Forest Park Hotel which is on the left. The road will take you out into an open plain area of the Forest. This is a good spot to look at the foals in the spring. There is parking along this road for you to stop. All of the foals are actually born on the Forest.
Carry on along that road for about half a mile. You will see the sign for “Pootles Bridge” This is a lovely spot to stop for a picnic by the small stream shrouded by lovely New Forest trees.
When you come out of Pootles Bridge take a right turn which gets you back on the trail. You will see Rhinefield House on the left hand side. This was once the home of the Virgin King, Richard Branson but is now used as a conference centre.
This road takes you onto the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. After about 2 miles you will come to Blackwater Park where you can stop to picnic amongst the giant Scotts pines. The car park is located on the left hand side.
You will be able to walk across the road to the Arboretorium where you can take a stroll amongst the trees. This is quite the most peaceful spot in the New Forest where there are memorials to the men who gave long and loyal service to the Forestry Commission.
When leaving the Blackwater car park take a left turn to continue along the Ornamental Drive. When you come to the A35 main road you can choose to several new routes:
Go straight across the A35 this will take you into a continuation of the Ornamental Drive to Bolderwood. Just over a mile along that road you will come to the Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary. There is a car park on the right hand side and a viewing platform on the right hand side just down a small slope of woodland where you can view Roe, Fallow, Silka and Red deer feeding. Feeding times vary, but in the summer months it is 2pm. The wardens will give you some information about the deer and when we were there we held a full set of antlers which are actually quite heavy. It is well worth a visit and is free of charge. Be sure to take your camera along and look out for the white stag – whose stance is very regal. Deer were introduced into the New Forest by William the Conqueror.
At the A35 turn right carry on until you see the signs for the village of Bank just outside Lyndhurst. Turn right to Bank and you will find a pub where you can sample real New Forest ales.
At the A35 turn right then left to the beautiful village of Emery Down. Take first left turn at the New Forest Inn to go to Millford Bridge where you will find parking. On the left hand side you will see the remnants of the cook house oven built by Portuguese workers in the First World War. The Portuguese workers helped with the timber cutting as there was a serious shortage of manpower after the First World War.
Carry on along that road and you will come to a junction where you turn left signpost Fritham. About half a mile along that road you will see the Canadian Memorial on the right hand side. Pass under the A35 bridge which takes you on a drive across heathland. This area was used as an airfield during the Second World War. If you look carefully along the edges of the road you can still see the concrete stands where the aircraft were parked.
At the next junction take a right turn to Stoney Cross. You will cross another open area of heathland where tanks were stationed heavily camouflaged ready for the invasion during the Second World War. Along this road you will see a grey stone with a “P” on the left hand side of the road. At this point turn right onto a narrow road. This will take you to Cadmans Poole where you can see the Canadian Geese and (in season) their young. A perfect spot for another picnic.
When you come back out of that road take a right turn to continue your journey. You will see the sign for Ocknell Pond which is another picnic area. Take the next turning left. This will take you along an open stretch of road which was once the landing strip for the World War Two bombers. At the next junction turn left. You will see the signs for Janesmoor Pond on the right hand side.
We would recommend a visit to the Royal Oak at Fritham where you can sample the delights of a real olde worlde pub lunch. The ploughmans is absolutely delicious and the cheese still has rind on.
At the point of Janesmoor Pond turn left to Fritham. This is a really narrow and winding road, bear with it, you will not be disappointed at the end of your journey when you reach the pretty village of Fritham. Just behind the Royal Oak you can visit Eyesore Pond where you can feed the ducks with the leftovers of your lunch.
If you do not want to take the Alterative Route continue your journey until you reach the next junction where you turn right on to the B3078, the road is called “Roger Penny Way”. You will pass Cadnam Golf Course on the right hand side and amble up another pretty country lane.
At the next junction turn right at the signpost to Rufus Stone. You will pass the Sir Walter Tyrell Inn.
A few yards on the right hand side past the Inn you will see the well known New Forest memorial of Rufus Stone on the right hand side of the road just under an Oak Tree.
Continue along the road until you reach the A31 where you will turn left signpost Bournemouth/Winchester. Take the next left off the A31 proceed to the roundabout and take the second turning, up to the next roundabout, take the third turning back on to the A35. Take the first turning on the right signpost Minstead. At the next junction take a right turn to Minstead.
Continue through the village of Minstead and take a left turn at the signpost to Newton. You will go through a small ford in the road (if it has rained of course). At the next junction turn left. This road will take you through Emery Down. As you emerge at the junction with the A35 you will see some very pretty thatched cottages on your left hand side. At the junction with the A35 turn right. Follow the right fork for Burley just past Anderwood. There is a green picnic area on the left hand side just outside the village of Burley where you can take another break. Turn right at the sign for Ringwood. You will cross over some open heathland. Beeches Brook fishing lakes are located on the left hand side. You will cross yet another Ford in the road. At the next junction turn left which will take you onto the main Ringwood road. This will take you into the village of Burley which is famous for spells, magic and witches. You can stop to sample the cream teas of the New Forest and visit the many souvenir shops. Upon approaching the village on the right hand side you will see The Old Farmhouse tea rooms which is highly recommended. On the right hand side you will see the ice cream stall – you must stop to try one of the speciality designer ice creams – they are very yummy! At the Memorial take a right fork which will take you onto the Forest Road. You will pass the Forest House restaurant on the left hand side which is highly recommended.
You will cross a lovely area of high heathland. At the sign for Avon Tippley turn left into the Lyndhurst Road. Take the next turning right into Black Lane. Just before the cattle grid you will see the Holmsley Memorial for the New Forest Airfields.
Take the next left at the junction, then left again at the A35 heading towards Lyndhurst. Turn right at the signpost Bashley, New Milton, Wootton across the cattle grid. About a mile along that road you will see the Rising Sun Inn in front of you. We would thoroughly recommend a stop there for dinner. The food is excellent and there is an adventure playground to let the kids run off steam before bed.
Continue along the road into Bashley Village. Through the village take first left hand turning off the Bashley Cross Roundabout into the Sway Road and second left into Hoburne Bashley caravan park to complete your journey with Reg over just a small part of the beautiful New Forest.
If you have been on a journey that you enjoy please let us have your write up and we will publish it on our web site. If you have found some good places to eat that you would recommend please let us know and we can post these on our web site.