In the International Year of Forests – declared by the United Nations in 2011 – world leaders are urging people to get out and about and celebrate their forests. Autumn is the ideal time to discover 300 square miles of stunning New Forest which is criss-crossed with gold-tinted woodland paths and trails surrounded by nature’s spectacular seasonal show.
Download a walk - Choose from a range of downloadable walks designed by New Forest rangers, which take you from the banks of the Beaulieu river to the Beaulieu Road Station rustic corrals used for the autumn cowboy-style Drift which rounds up the New Forest ponies.
Ramble with a ranger - Podcasts for your MP3 player provide a commentary with details about the Knightwood Oak – the largest (7.4m girth), most famous, and oldest oak tree in the New Forest – or follow the trail of Bolderwood deer by putting on your headphones and listening to a Forestry Commission ranger.
Take a Taste Trail - Follow it on foot, by bike or on horseback, through beautiful scenery with stops to ‘refuel’ at a pub, tearoom or restaurant serving culinary dishes created from the best New Forest local produce. Choose from a North, South, Sea Air or Woodland Wander trail to suit your mood.
Forage on a Fungi Walk - Go on a Fungi Walk to spot fairy toadstools at the start of the fungi season. Get led by experts from the Hampshire Fungus Recording Group on Hidden Britain Tours to find and identify different species. All the walks are from 10am to 12.45pm on a Thursday and cost £16 per person, with the option to stay for a drink or lunch at a pub afterwards. To book or for more information, call the Lyndhurst Visitor Information Centre on 02380 282269 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway will be holding a Festival of Autumn Colour from October 1 – November 6 with special Autumn Trails to show the best of its colour with fiery maples, dogwoods and deciduous azaleas and reflections of their beautiful lakeside colours. Exbury has been listed in the Top Ten Places to see Autumn Vistas on the Enjoy England website.
Try a do-it-yourself bug or conker hunt - To make a walk fun with the children, autumn is the perfect time for a hunt for conkers among fallen leaves on the forest floor or pick up a stick to move logs and branches and let them discover a whole new bug world they never knew was there.
For more information log on to www.thenewforest.co.uk
For further information about the United Nation’s International Year of Forests click here.