After returning from our short trip round Scotland we managed to persuade my father (along with my mother….but that was an easier task!) to come with us to their house in Normandy for a week. So two weeks ago we set off into the Channel Tunnel to take in some of the beautiful French countryside, enjoy lots of lovely French food, catch up with some good friends and naturally stock up on a bit of wine! The weather in Bagnoles de l’Orne was kind to us and we were able to sit out on the terrace and enjoy the garden without it being too hot – all in all a nice, albeit a little short trip.
Back home and after a week in Holyport we set off down to explore the New Forest, staying in a lovely CL (Furzehill Farm, £15 per night) 5 miles outside Ringwood to get some walking in.
We arrived in the New Forest on Tuesday lunchtime and after patiently working our way round some of the wild horses that were happily wandering down the middle of the road we found our field, parked up and set up our table and chairs to enjoy a bit of the sunshine…..the forecast was good for the next few days.
We set off up the road to the farm shop which we had seen as we drove in and found a couple of rescue donkeys, alpacas and lop eared pigs…. new breed to me, but I wondered if the bacon tasted any different 🙂 Continuing our walk we found our closest pub which apparently appeared to be a bit of a hit with the local donkeys and horses too …. a trend that we saw quite a bit over the few days we were in the New Forest, the all appear to be very keen on the public houses and schools….queuing up outside well before opening time!
After an amazingly peaceful night we woke to the sound of chattering birds, I went for a run up into Hyde and found more donkeys and horses hanging around outside the watering holes, whilst Keith set to with his exercises before settling down to eat breakfast outside…..a novel experience in the UK and certainly one to take advantage of!
Feeling refreshed, we walked into Ringwood as it was Market day and found a lovely Sourdough bakery that has been set up by a young local baker – well worth a visit if you are close by. Unfortunately the market was a bit disappointing but the walk was lovely and helped us appreciate the BBQ’d dinosaur steak that we had bought in Waitrose on Monday …. it was absolutely enormous and perfect medium rare!
On Thursday, after another lovely outdoor breakfast we set off on a long circular walk through the new forest passing Hyde, Frogham, Fritham and Linwood as well as many a cow, horse, donkey and pony arriving at a micro brewery /pub about 4 miles before the end for a quick refreshment to give us enough energy to get us back to the motorhome! Although the pubs are remote they all appear to be very good and spaced at roughly 5 mile intervals …. great for walking!
On Friday, after another tranquil night, morning run/exercise and breakfast al fresco we set off for a walk to Fordingbridge to explore a bit more of our ‘hood’ and find a few more friendly animals. Ringwood is definitely prettier and has more to offer but the walk was nice.
As neither Keith nor I had really spent much time in the New Forest before we didn’t really appreciate how many footpaths there were nor how quiet the small roads are – it is a dream location for walking and cycling for us, as where we were was close enough to civilization but far enough away to be completely tranquil….so much so we have booked to come back to different part in a couple of weeks time but back to Holyport for a week or so now….