Friday, 3 May 2013

Guest Travel post --- The New Forest, England by Kate Milner

Well this is the start of my month long travel features from guest bloggers, with book recommendations for the destination too. I will slot them in alongside my book blogs, so you can enjoy both of my passions and hopefully yours.

I'd like to introduce you to my first guest blogger who is Kate Milner. Kate is sharing with us her love of The New Forest, a beautiful area of England with a lot to do and see.... Join her on her journey below.


Ten exciting family days out in the New Forest

This morning, the sky is blue and the sun is shining. At last! After months of winter, it looks like things might finally be changing. And it makes me want to go out and enjoy it, somewhere like the New Forest.

So, in that vein I’m going to give you 10 things you could do in the Forest on a sunny weekend. Pack sun cream and water (it never hurts to be optimistic!).

1) Take a picnic and find a scenic spot somewhere in the woodland. There are picnic areas with toilets dotted around the Forest, and you can pick up some food on the way from the deli in Sway. Food and fresh air, what more could you want?

2) Go kayaking from Buckler’s Hard. You can take either a 2 hour tour, or a full day one and no previous experience is necessary. Skimming through the cool water under the sun is a great experience and you’ll learn a new skill too.

3) Archery on the Beaulieu Estate. Beaulieu is full of history and ghosts (and I mean that literally) and you can channel that medieval feel by trying your hand at archery. Just tell everyone to stand back if your aim is as bad as mine…

4) Go for a long walk. There are 143 miles of pathway through the Forest. I can’t promise you’ll get through them all in a day, but you can give it a go! Just don’t forget a good pair of walking boots.

5) Another way to explore the pathways of the Forest is by bike. There are plenty of places to hire a bike, so you don’t even need to take one with you. You can also hire helmets and child bike seats. Then grab a map and go!

6) Go Geocaching. Geocaching is a new craze that’s like a 21st century version of a scavenger hunt. Using the GPS function on your phone, you track down a small box that’s hidden somewhere in the Forest and see what’s been left inside. Bring something to refill the box with, so the next person can enjoy it too.

7) Try some orienteering. The 20th century version of geocaching, orienteering is still a lot of fun. You’re dropped in the Forest at a random point with only a map and compass to find your way out. I did it in the New Forest when I was 10, and lived to tell the tale so it is possible. Besides, you can always cheat and use your phone…

8) Follow one of the New Forest Treasure Trails. Available to download online, these trails take you round one of the historical towns of the New Forest with things to see and do along the way. You uncover a mystery at the same time. Lots of fun if you have older kids.

9) Go on Deer Safari. The deer is one of many kinds of wildlife to be found in the Forest, but they are shy and hard to spot. On the safari, the deer are fed fruit from a tractor, and they have become so used to it that they will come right up to the trailer to say hello. It’s a great way to see these elusive creatures.

10) If all the options above sound like too much effort, why not find a country pub to relax in? The Rising Sun in New Milton has a large beer garden, with ponies and cattle grazing nearby. Enjoy a meal or a cold beer, while taking in the gorgeous scenery.

Feeling inspired yet? Get out of the house this summer and go and play in the New Forest!
Recommended books set in the New Forest
Title - A year in the life of the New Forest
Author - Beata Moore
Buy from Amazon - Click here
Blurb from Amazon
The New Forest's name is misleading, as it is neither new – it was created nearly 900 years ago – nor is it a forest, as it consists mainly of heathland, wetland, estuaries and grassy plains. It is Britain's smallest National Park, yet one of the most varied, boasting a wealth of flora and fauna, not to mention historic villages, churches, monasteries and palaces.
In this book, photographer and writer Beata Moore captures the New Forest's changing moods through the course of a whole year – its natural and cultural heritage, its timeless villages and of course its famous wild ponies and donkeys.

Title - Children of the New Forest
Author - Captain Marryat
Buy from Amazon - Click here
Blurb from Amazon -
Cavalier and Roundhead battle it out in the turbulent setting of the English Civil War and provide the background for this classic tale of four orphans as they face adversity, survival in the forest, reconciliation and eventual forgiveness.
This is the first enduring historical novel for children, which conjures up as much magic today as it did on first publication. The freedom from adult constraint allied with the necessary disciplines to survive in a hostile world make for a gripping read. 

For more information on the New Forest, Hampshire, England, click here

For more information on New Forest Activities, click here