Make the most of summer in the New Forest

PADDLE POWER: Summer fun on the water at New Forest Activities

Summer’s end may be almost visible over the horizon but there’s still time to make the most of this scorching season of lazy days and all-action adventure in the New Forest.

TV viewers saw summer in the forest celebrated in the final edition of Channel 4’s successful series A Year in the New Forest at the weekend.

It’s a time when all who love the Forest, whether they’re visitors or those making a living in the ancient landscape, can enjoy the luxury of longer, warmer days.

If A Year in the New Forest has made you eager to discover the unique cycle of life and back-to-nature opportunities for refreshment and renewal in this magical place, try these ideas.

Make the most of the warm, light evenings with a long drink in the garden of one of the Forest’s picturesque pubs or hotels. Or try an alfresco afternoon tea at luxury hotels Lime Wood, Montagu Arms, Burley Manor, Balmer Lawn or Master Builders.

Take a blanket and a picnic and walk to a woodland glade, a sunlit heath or even a beach – the New Forest can offer a great variety of landscapes, and you’re likely to see foals or donkeys on your walk.

Try an evening or night-time walk armed with a torch and a map. The New Forest has very little light pollution so you can often see the evening sky dazzling with stars. You could spot a rare nightjar or a bat, and hear some of the Forest’s resident owls.

One of the best kept secrets of the forest is its coastline, so as the summer draws to a close there’s still time to enjoy a sunset sail with Escape Yachting in the Solent or a paddleboard in the calmer waters of Keyhaven with New Forest Paddlesports.

There’s also inland water-based fun to be had wakeboarding at New Forest Watersports or kayaking on Beaulieu River with New Forest Activities.

Treat the youngsters to a fun week out in the last weeks of the school holidays – Paultons Park, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu or the New Forest Reptile Centre are all family favourites. Or for a last-minute break, many of the Forest’s campsites and holiday parks offer children’s entertainment and family activities.

Anthony Climpson, CEO of Go New Forest, the organisation which protects and promotes the New Forest, said: “Whilst we hope the TV series has given people just a small insight into the mystical atmosphere of this remarkable place, it is a destination of sophisticated hotels and fine eateries where you can also camp with ponies idly wandering right past your tent.

“All in all the New Forest is a fabulous setting in which to escape the modern world at any time of year, especially as it’s just 89 minutes from central London by train.”

See for more inspiration of where to go and what to do, and also the chance to win a short break in the New Forest.