Highlights of the Red Route
Lyndhurst is often referred to as the ‘capital’ of the New Forest. The Court of Verderers has been held here since medieval times – making it the longest-running court in the country – controlling the number of ponies which can graze in the Forest. Just next to the Tour stop in Lyndhurst is the New Forest Centre (free entry) – with museum, gallery, information centre, and shop. The Centre’s friendly staff can answer questions and help you make the most of your time in the National Park.
The Red Route runs through some of the lushest, densest forest in the National Park, on its way to Burley – one of the most popular New Forest villages. Many of the residents of Burley still keep animals on the surrounding common lands, a picturesque mix of thick copses and rolling heath. With a cider farm, galleries and traditional tea rooms, pretty Burley also has a history of witchcraft!
The historic town of Ringwood gained its market charter from Henry III back in 1226 – and the market is still there every Wednesday! There’s a mix of shops and cafes, as well as riverside walks along the Avon.
The Tour continues along the Avon, which boasts more fish species than any other British river, en route to Fordingbridge. This attractive market town is home to the famous seven-arched medieval bridge which gives it its name. Once a centre of smuggling, it is now a tranquil place to pass time by the river or browse its independent shops and eateries.
After Fordingbridge, the Tour sweeps across the dramatic heathland of the northern New Forest, calling at Sandy Balls Holiday Village before passing through the pretty villages of Brook, Cadnam and Bartley. Hop off here to explore footpaths and cycle trails in some of the least visited parts of the National Park, as well as some fantastic traditional pubs.
New Forest Wildlife Park
The Tour stops off at this must-see wildlife attraction. At New Forest Wildlife Park (20% off) you can meet experienced keepers at their regular ‘keeper talks’, where you can hear about the fascinating animals and watch them being fed.