We arrived at the previous camp over (Blackpool Sands) with no definite plan for the third and final week of our September break. The location in Dartmouth left a few options available of which one of the more considered was Isle Of White for four or five days. However, for some time I had heard how nice the New Forest was, and after some deliberation both Mandy and I decided to head over and see what all the fuss was about. Our mobile data connection at Blackpool Sands beach was almost none existent, so we took advantage of the café wifi connection to explored campsites in the new forest in more detail. There are a number of locations available for campers, but one particular one focuses on sites for people who like to be surrounded by trees. This is under the ‘Camping in the Forest’ website (https://www.campingintheforest.co.uk/england/ ). This really ticks the box for us, so we took a punt at a large site consisting of approx 600 pitches called Hollands Wood ( https://www.campingintheforest.co.uk/england/new-forest/hollands-wood-campsite ) .
I must admit, it did concern me that it could cater for so many, and I guess I was thinking it would be tightly packed, with very restrictive pitches. How wrong could I be!
There are no pre-defined pitches to speak of, and due to the time of year we didn’t have to contend with the school holiday crowds. We were advised on arrival that certain pitches were good for the early morning views out from the forest across the prairies towards Brockenhurst Village.
Our two weeks holiday prior to this point was excellent. We always love time away in the van visiting different places. That said many of the locations we visited fell into the coastal, beach, quaint village or city break theme. We had never experienced the beauty of the New Forest, and it is so very different to anything else. The amazing vistas are hard to take in, and the closeness to nature is something that both Mandy and myself struggled to comprehend.
Wild cattle, Shetland ponies, donkeys and horses all roam free throughout the campsites and the village.
So the first night was great. Horses, squirrels and birds. The following morning delivered as far as the choice of location was concerned. Dew on the grass, mist in the air and wild animals to boot 🙂
Life just stepped up a notch 🙂 .
The next three days consisted of exploring the area which included Brockenhurst. This is a small village with a further education collage on its outskirts. This means the village has a massive influx of youngsters at certain times of the day. What impact does this have on the local community? Well I guess it works, but it’s a little strange. That said, it’s bazzar to see the animals wandering around the roads in the village. So I guess an open mind and a relaxed acceptance to most things is a requirement for the locals . Most houses have cattle grids to stop none human inhabitants from becoming an on-site nuisance. There are stories of ponies and donkeys brazenly walking into the local stores to eat the fresh produce, having to be coaxed out.
It really is hard to paint a picture to the city goer that hasn’t experienced the oddity of animals living in such close proximity to humans, but it really must be on the top of your list of things to do if you haven’t yet experienced this part of the world!
Moving on to our next New Forest camp -Round Hill.
This was nice, but I think we both agreed that it wasn’t quite as nice as Hollands Wood. It was literally a mile down the road, but the tree canopy was limited making it feel open and exposed. Maybe if we had chosen this site first we would have been happy (not knowing what we were missing), but it was OK! Still ponies and horses wandering around, but it didn’t have the cosy aspect.
We took the opportunity to visit Christchurch during our stay, but I will post more about this later 🙂