We are back in England for another deep dive visit.  This time we are starting in what I call “middle Sussex”, primarily to attend the Goodwood Revival, my better half being a vintage sports car nut, er, aficionado. We are then on to Derbyshire to continue our exploration of country houses, castles, and of course, tuck into as many great meals as two people can reasonably manage.

A couple of days ago we visited The New Forest,  which was created by William The Conqueror in about 1079 as a royal forest, mainly for the hunting of deer.  Regrettably at the time, he destroyed a few dozen churches, small hamlets and farmsteads to do so, leaving the previous inhabitants homeless. Two of Williams’s sons subsequently died in the forest under suspicious circumstances, commonly thought to be an act of retribution by the dispossessed. Be careful what you wish for…

Today the area is a National Park in which New Forest Ponies in particular, abound.  “The forest belongs to the wildlife” hold the inhabitants of the area, although the park also contains a number of villages. and roadways run throughout. The village of Beaulieu is shown above.

In New Forest, the animals have the right of way, so if you’re barrelling along in your vehicle, you’d best be mindful and slow down.  And if you’re enjoying an ice-cream in one of the villages, beware. The ponies have been known to come right up to unwary visitors and pluck the cone right out of their hands.


The donkeys are also enchanting, and extremely cheeky. We stopped the car to take a photo, and a couple of them came right up to us, sticking their heads in and hoping for treats. I’d like to say that I was virtuously obeying the strictures not to feed the animals, but I simply forgot to arm myself with appropriate fodder before leaving home. Next time I’ll remember the carrots.

We couldn’t resist getting out of the car to pet everyone in sight.  The animals are extremely friendly and it was great to get a “top up” so far away from the menagerie at home.