Beaulieu to Bournemouth
Travel through the New Forest to discover famous golden sands
Follow the route - Beaulieu to Bournemouth
> From Beaulieu take the B3056 to Lyndhurst.
Open roads through rolling gorse heathlands bring you to Lyndhurst, the ‘capital’ of the New Forest, a busy tourist town in the summer. Alice Hargreaves (née Liddell), the original Alice of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, is buried in Lyndhurst churchyard. At Queen’s House the Verderers, guardians since Norman times of Commoners’ rights, hold their bi-monthly ancient court on Mondays. They employ agisters to patrol the forest daily, often on horseback, to supervise and control animals grazing on the 90,000 acres (36,450 hectares). Forest ponies have their tails cut specially to indicate their own agister. The New Forest Museum offers an insight into the fascinating history and traditions of the popular area.
Places to stay in Lyndhurst
> Leave Lyndhurst on the A337 signposted Cadnam. In 2 miles (3km) turn left through Minstead, then left, immediately left and immediately right to cross the A31 to Brook, then keep left on the B3078 for Fordingbridge.
In Fordingbridge, stand on the old bridge over the Avon and look for trout or pike. On this spot, during the time of William the Conqueror, a guard was posted to arrest New Forest deer poachers on their only escape route to the west. The fine medieval parish church stands on the Alderholt road.
Places to stay in Fordingbridge
> Leave Fordingbridge heading northwest and follow unclassified roads to Rockbourne. Turn southwest through Damerham and Cranborne, and on to Wimborne Minster.
Visiting Wimborne Minster
On the way to Wimborne Minster, you pass through Rockbourne, with its pretty Tudor and Georgian cottages by a stream. To the south of the village is the excavated site of a Roman villa, open to the public. Wimborne Minster itself, though medieval in its street pattern, is no sorry relic of a bygone age. It has a Town Trail which explores its rich heritage of fine medieval and Georgian buildings – details obtainable from the Information Bureau. Central to it all is the Minster, of Saxon origin and curiously chequered in grey and brown stone. After all the history, you might want to browse the arts and crafts at Walford Mill, or visit the model town on King Street.
Places to stay in Wimborne Minster
> Leave by the B3073 crossing the A31 and immediately bear left via Canford Magna to join the A341 and the A347 to Bournemouth.
Bournemouth is the queen of the south coast holiday resorts, with its 6 miles (9.7km) of fine golden beach sands, its pier complete with striped deck chairs and theatre for nostalgic summer shows, its orderly winter gardens, its parks lined with palms and compact town centre dedicated to serious shopping, as well as a vast hinterland of suburban sprawl.