Sunday, November 17, 2013

The New Forest and Badbury Rings

 The New Forest is one of the places I've longed to visit in England.  I've read Edward Rutherford's The Forest, and many of Gladys Mitchell's mysteries that take place there and I wanted to see it for myself.  It is "new" in the sense that William the Conqueror named it Nova Foresta in 1086.  It was a Royal hunting forest and deer park.  Today "commoners", those who have the right of the Commons, still run their ponies, pigs and cows in the Forest along with 5 varieties of deer.
 The ponies and pigs have right of way in the towns and villages and heaths that make up the Forest.
 We stopped in Lyndhurst, in the middle of the Forest and the administrative center for the Forest, and found a small Farmers Market just ending.  There was one young woman left with pork products including bacon.  She said it came from one of the 70 pigs they have running in the forest.  The pigs eat the acorns which are poisonous to the ponies.  It was delicious.
 We also drove through a lot of very narrow single track roads on our route.  This is pretty typical,  either hedges or stone walls on either side and pullouts for when you meet another car.  The hedges actually start a foot or two above the road bed as these are really old roads and have been worn down since the hedges were originally planted.
On that same day we visited Badbury Rings a beautiful ancient hillfort.  In the back is the Beech Avenue planted  in 1835 as an anniversary present to Lady Bankes by Lord Bankes.  It's a mile long and was the main driveway to their manor of Kingston Lacey. Some of the trees are beginning to die from simple old age and are being replaced by the National Trust.

On the way back it began to rain and blow from the big storm that was brewing in southern England.  By the time we got back to Bere Regis the weather was pretty awful and we weren't sure if we could indeed leave in the morning as we had planned.


  1. It is lovely to read of all the places you visited on your way up here tosee us.

  2. What charming countryside - thanks for the ride.