Famed for its 5,000 ‘wild’ ponies, which roam the landscape freely, the New Forest boasts what is believed to be the highest concentration of ancient trees in Western Europe. Every autumn, around 600 pigs are released into the Forest to snaffle up green acorns and other nuts that are poisonous to ponies. This ancient practice, known as pannage, plays a vital part in the forest ecosystem, and this is the only remaining place in the UK where you can witness it. It’s an impressive sight and one you should see at least once.
Beautiful villages The New Forest is made up of quaint villages scattered all around, connected by a web of walking and cycling trails. Beaulieu, home to the National Motor Museum, Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey, is a great place to explore. Hire bikes (new forest activities.co.uk) and explore on two wheels. Opt for an easy route, which leads you to the bank of the River Beaulieu. Grab an ice cream and admire the view. There are cycle hire drops in all the major villages, and there are dedicated cycling paths almost everywhere you go!
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