A romantic winter weekend in the New Forest had us face to face with a group of wandering ponies, finding a historical ship yard (the 18th century Buckler’s Hard) and eating spicy food by a cozy fireplace at the Hobler.
That, in my book, is a bit of glorious escapism.
Driving around the villages and woodland roads of the New Forest we came across a little group of donkeys.
They looked a little damp and muddy, but were clearly well cared for and turned out to be the sweetest natured donkeys we have ever come across.
I wanted to kiss them on the snout, like I do my Chocolate Labrador, but resisted incase they took offence.
Pretty cute, hey.
We thought we’d have a stroll through Beaulieu village. The first glance of the famous house was across the lake.
The ancient village sitting pretty as a chocolate box picture.
Friendly but soggy looking New Forest ponies grazed lazily on some grass.
The village was tiny and dates back to the 13th century, when it grew up around an abbey.
Henry VIII’s dissolution of the monasteries, however, in the 1530s, passed Beaulieu into ownership of present Lord Montagu’s ancestors and has remained with the family ever since.
Today’s Lord Montagu of Beaulieu houses Britain’s National Motor Museum, where more than 250 vehicles reside. It includes legendary motor vehicles from all over the world, including the record-braking Bluebird.
This car may have come from the big house. It had run out of petrol. Hubby took great delight in giving it a push, as men do.
When he was done, he found me picking out chocolate bars for the family in the villages handmade chocolate shop. Some great flavours here! I started inventing people to buy for in the end…
The rest of the village comprised of craft and gift shops and tea rooms.
Just along Beaulieu river we found Buckler’s Hard. We had never heard of it, but wow, we were so glad we investigated!
Starting off with the substantial cafe, we still wasn’t quite sure what we were paying to see.
The entrance to the museum is through a small gift shop containing a ships figurehead.
Once in the museum we came across this model. It perfectly explained what we were here to see: a small village built on the bank of the river Beaulieu for the purpose of building the 18th and 19th century Royal Navy fleets from the wood of the New Forest.
This is so cool!
Nelson’s fleet used at Trafalgar were built here among other famous ships.
You get to walk along side lifelike models in a scene from the past. You can listen to their amusing mutterings.
Strolling through the pub was fun.
This was our favourite. The tired mutterings of a husband and wife after a full day.
“Awww, my feet. They are sore, they are.”
“Your feet are sore! I been working in that big house all day, and now I be here working some more.”
“It’s my toe. Sore it is.”
The museum was great and we stepped out into the river bank village with big grins. We couldn’t believe how well preserved it all was.
You can imagine vast wooden ships being built on the waters edge.
You can enter through any front door except from the ones with ‘resident’ on them.
It was the still functioning pub, the ‘New Inn’, that caught hubby’s attention.
A few doors down, this tiny chapel.
I can just see the villagers and sailors praying together here.
These are scenes from a family home. Families used to make extra money by letting sailors lodge in every nook and cranny, before the new ship set sail.
In more recent history, hundreds of craft sailed from this section of the Beaulieu river in the D-Day landings during WW2.
This has been such a great morning. We were transported to another time and it was brilliant.
Tel: 01590 616203
We took a quick drive through the pretty village of Brockenhurst and out the other side,
where ponies munched their lunch at the side of the road.
Lunch for us is a cozy fireside table for 2 at the cute sounding ‘Hobler’.
Warming spicy food is exactly what we need on this chilly and damp day.
In no time at all we were settled in with a bowl of colourful popadom-like twists and a glass of something soothing.
A heady Cinnamon Bellini for me.
We greedily ordered too much food and chatted happily about our day.
The food came with a friendly service. First to come, Spicy tiger prawns.
Gunpowder potatoes (you should order these!)
Their signature rice dish, a delicious dish with an unpronounceable name, a ‘Zereshk Polow Morg’.
We filled our plate with these along with the spicy lamb chops. Munching hungrily and enjoying the warmth of the food and the little fire.
With time on our hands and a settled feeling, we decide we weren’t quite ready for the cold and damp outside so ordered some desserts, including some homemade mince pies (disguised as eccles cakes) and a comforting crumble.
Battramsley Nr Lymington
Hampshire, SO41 8PT
Tel: 01590 623944
Time to brave the chill, we struck lucky and came across a little family of ponies strolling by. Where else can you experience such a thing!
As animal lovers we delight in this friendly greeting from these sweet ponies.
If you haven’t visited the New Forest yet, what are you waiting for? We stayed at The Mill at Gordleton. It’s the perfect place to horse around.