Little Paddock in the New Forest

Posted on: 02 August 2011 by Rhian Mainwaring

David Powell on the treasures of the New Forest ...

The New Forest

The New Forest is undoubtedly one of the treasures of Southern England. This unique area, with picturesque villages, bustling market towns and winding country lanes, is a perfect and relaxing environment for a short break. William the Conqueror created the New Forest as a deer hunting area in 1079 and today the 219 square miles of National Park is made up of a well cared-for mixture of forest, pasture and heathland.

The environmental impact of tourism has to be carefully balanced and therefore the whole forest enjoys a 40 mph speed limit with many designated car parking areas. Subsequently a car journey through the New Forest becomes a stress-free, animal spotting drive with plenty of opportunities to see the famous wild pony herds at close quarters and perhaps a few deer. 

As you would imagine, the New Forest is a paradise for walkers and cyclists alike with miles of splendid walks and traffic free cycle routes. This area has many attractions including award-winning gardens, museums and historic houses. More information on things to see and do here is available at www.thenewforest.co.uk

Beaulieu

Not only is Beaulieu a charming village, it is, of course, home to the famous National Motor Museum founded by the present Lord Montagu. It had been far too long since I last visited, and I was looking forward to spending the day at one of the UK’s leading tourist attractions where over 350,000 visitors pass through the gates every year. The Beaulieu Estate includes the Palace House and Gardens and Beaulieu Abbey. The Palace House has magnificent rooms and history comes alive with Victorian costumed guides giving an insight into the workings of a 19th Century household.

After a trip on the high level monorail around the grounds and a ride on the replica 1912 London bus, I was keen to view the treasures of the National Motor Museum. There are over 250 cars on show, from the early vintage models of the 30s and 40s, through to classic cars of the 70s and 80s. Historic F1 and rally cars and Donald Campbell’s Bluebird are all on show. All the vehicles are in a fabulous condition, even down to Del Boy’s faithful 3 wheeler and the flying Ford Anglia seen in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. 

There’s now also two great exhibitions. One based around James Bond, with genuine cars from some of the films and the World of Top Gear, also not to be missed!

Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway

Exbury and Lepe are situated on the south-east fringe of the New Forest,  and are dominated by the world famous gardens created in the 1920s by Lionel de Rothschild. My visit started with the beautiful 2 mile drive called Summer Lane and I was able to pull over a couple of times to look at the ponies and admire the views.

Exbury is a spectacular woodland garden with a famous collection of rhododendrons, azaleas, camellias and rare trees and plants. Also on site is a plant centre, gift shop and tea rooms with plenty of free parking. 

I must say, for me the steam train was the highlight of my visit. A fantastic ride through the gardens in immaculate carriages pulled by a wonderfully preserved locomotive - great fun! 

Little Paddock

Little Paddock

My short break was made complete with a stay at an exclusive, luxurious getaway at the edge of the New Forest near Ringwood. Owned and run by Brett and Sue Jones, Little Paddock is a perfect location for a well earned break or special occasion. Brett and Sue’s attention to detail and customer service is amazing. Sue told me that they have many guests returning year after year and after experiencing a short break here myself I could easily appreciate why.

Little Paddock is made up of three areas. There’s the award winning 4 star bed and breakfast, the 4 star luxury self-catering woodland lodges and the entirely separate Caravan CL site. Near the lodges and main house there’s also a heated swimming pool, sauna, hot tub and short tennis court available.

The stunning woodland lodges are uniquely hidden within their own little glen. They are exclusively for adults and sleep two. Each lodge has been carefully designed by Brett and Sue to a high standard and have been given lovely names such as ‘Forget Me Not’, ‘Mistletoe Mansion’, ‘Bramble Lodge’ and the ever popular ‘Love In The Mist’. Lodges have all mod-cons including WiFi, wet rooms, comfortable bedrooms, lounge/diners and a fully equipped kitchen. With adequate heating provided they can also be booked during the winter months for a romantic getaway. I found the private Village Green tucked away to the rear of ‘Honeysuckle Lodge’, and loved it's BBQ and garden seating.

Meanwhile the B&B accommodation consists of 3 luxurious bedrooms available for guests with each room having a seasonal theme. My room was called Autumn – peaceful and relaxing with en-suite, bedroom and comfortable separate lounge area. I had seen the Visit England Breakfast Award plaque near the newly refurbished lounge area and couldn’t wait to try a full English! I wasn’t disappointed, with Sue’s homemade bread on the side, the breakfast was in a class of its own!

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