This past weekend I headed out to Southern England to The New Forest. The New Forest is an area covers 566 square kms. It includes a number of villages and hamlets all surrounded by gates so that the ponies, deer, cattle, sheep and donkeys aren’t able to escape. With amazing amounts of unenclosed pasture land, the animals here have the right of way.
On my trip to The New Forest, I opted to rent a mountain bike to maximize my experience of the quite trails of The New Forest. There were certainly lots of road riders out enjoying the quiet rural roads, but to truly experience The New Forest, you really do need a bike with a bit beefier tires. The New Forest is comprised of an intricate trail system winding through the countrysides and connecting the villages and towns (I think there’s about 100 miles of trails to be had). The maps available for the area have fantastic signage correlations to the trails and proposed routes are fairly easy to find and explore. The roads on the marked paths are predominantly made up of an old rail road but you can also experience a ton of single track if that tickles your fancy…it’s just a bit harder to keep track of where you are as the single track is not marked.
The small villages with pubs, tea rooms and beautiful old buildings along the way are definitely a highlight. It was neat meeting plenty of people along the way and I lucked out staying at a fantastic B&B in the quite Seaside town of Lymington (a few short miles from the forest itself). From Lymington you can actually see the Isle of Wight so it made me quite excited for my upcoming trip there in a few weeks :).
More adventures to come…