During the Autumn months, the New Forest undergoes a transformation as the rolling landscape becomes awash with red and orange hues. The spectacular array of colours illuminate the forest making it the perfect time to get out and explore, whether you decide to take a walk on one of the idyllic routes or visit one of the many heritage sites.
From around mid-September, the leaves begin to change and by the end of the month, they are bursting with colour. When it comes to experiencing all that the New Forest has to offer, being on foot will help you to better appreciate the stunning views and you will be able to get right up close to the wildlife living in the area. You can enjoy crisp morning walks along the coastline, or maybe explore the forest on two wheels and hire a bike from one of the many cycle hire shops around the national park.
In Autumn, due to the fallen acorns that are poisonous to them, cattle and donkeys, that are usually in abundance during the rest of the year, are brought off the land. Instead, you will see pigs roaming the forest floor in annual pannage that dates back to the time of William the Conqueror. Throughout the Autumn months between 200-600 pigs and piglets are released into the forest eating the acorns that are toxic to several other animals that customarily move around the forest freely.
Pannage in the New Forest is a fascinating sight, so having a camera on hand while you explore the forest is always a good idea. However, although they’re cared for by the local people, they can be unpredictable and it’s normally a good idea to keep some distance.
Getting out and about
While some people may want to participate in various activities such as visiting Lymington Sea Water Baths, Paultons Park or going horse riding through the open heathland, others may wish to just take in the sheer tranquillity of the forest. For those who do, there are many walking and cycle routes available through the forest and quaint towns, one of the most popular beings through Lyndhurst and up to Bolton’s Bench which has a beautiful view over the forest and town below.
Located just to the east of Beaulieu, Exbury Gardens is a great place to spend the day with family as its woodland walks and world-famous flower displays come alive at this time of year. You can meander through the blooming gardens, take a ride on the steam train, get a bite to eat at the tea rooms and let the children loose on the adventure play area.