I love serendipitous finds in our travels and the New Forest was one of these. We were looking for somewhere for a couple of weeks so I was browsing google maps and remembered a great book I had on my childhood shelves – Children of the New Forest. I also remembered it was very horsey and in fact there are XX New Forest ponies that wander freely around this large national park. The houses all need gates or cattle grids and fences to stop the ponies (and pigs, cows, deer) from wandering in and destroying gardens but it’s fun to lookout and see 4 or 5 ponies just walking up the lane next to the house or having to drive around them as they stand in the roads.

We found a lovely “cottage” (3 story) in the village of Burley. Within a 5 minute walk we had 3 pubs, a shop, small shops and some restaurants. The village shop was quite fancy with sushi/homemade pies and condiments, and a local butchery with sausages and pheasant/duck/chicken etc. all from the surroundings farms. Great to be able to eat local foods like that. We sampled the pub food and were not disappointed either.

The preserve has so many walking paths that it would take a couple of years to explore them all. Everywhere we went there were parking lots and hiking trails heading off.

Burley was about 20 minutes to the beach as well so we explored this coast. Some gorgeous small towns to wander the beach and eat fish and chips on. We had more glorious weather which was a pleasant surprise in October.

And close for a day’s visit to Stonehenge.

We had a great surprise from my brother and his wife who popped over from Dubai for the weekend too. It was fun wandering around a cider festival complete with old engines and traveler caravans – and sampling local ciders – with them.

Ponies and walking in the woods were our big favorites here. Charlotte is ready to move there!