Accommodation in the heart of the New Forest

About the New Forest and East Boldre

The New Forest National Park lies to the west of Southampton Water in south-west Hampshire and covers 37,677 hectares. Centuries of human management and livestock grazing have meant that the forest is a combination of heathland, ancient woodland, wetlands and grassy plains, with many enclosures of both coniferous and deciduous woodland. The commoners' ponies and cattle roam freely across the forest, controlling and shaping the vegetation as they graze.

The New Forest, or "Nova Foresta", was created by William the Conqueror as a royal hunting ground, and forest laws were enforced to protect the hunted animals and their habitats. These strict lawsensured that the hunting of deer and wild boar remained the closely guarded privilege of the King and his followers.

Over the centuries, deer hunting became less important, and by the 17th and 18th Centuries timber production was the primary economic use of the New Forest. The New Forest Acts came into force, and areas were fenced off to protect young saplings from the grazing animals. It wasn't until the Act of 1877 that two thirds of the forest were set aside for commoners to exercise their traditional rights.

Deer populations were left unmanaged until the 19th century when they reached levels that threatened the timber crops and competed with the commoners' stock for food. The Deer Removal Act was established in 1851 and it was resolved that all deer were to be removed. Although total removal was not achieved, the numbers did reduce dramatically, and the Forestry Commission's keepers continue to keep these numbers under control today.

You will be unlucky however if you don't spot some deer while you're in the New Forest. And first time visitors to the Forest are always amazed at the sheer numbers and varieties of ponies, donkeys and cows grazing close to the roadsides - please drive carefully especially when the newborn foals are frolicking in early summer!

Recreation has always been important in the New Forest and with a large proportion of the forest being Crown land, access to the greater part is open and free to all. Local users and visitors from farther afield regularly enjoy participating in a wide range of recreation activities including horse-riding, dog walking and cycling.

The village of East Boldre lies along the western boundary of Beaulieu parish and the extreme eastern boundary of the ancient parish of Boldre (not to be confused with it - the village of Boldre is much further to the west, very close to Lymington).

East Boldre does not conform in any way to the popular view of the idyllic English village nestling in a well-watered valley with a church, manor house and pub (although it does have all of these!), yet it is very charmingly situated on the forest margin and possesses an atmosphere and character that make it a village of much interest. It has a real sense of being rural with still many delightful cottages tucked in between thorn hedges and shrubbery and here and there a small holding surrounded by grazing cattle and ponies.

The village is roughly two miles in length and never more than about a quarter of a mile in width. The eastern boundary is defined by a now much eroded earthen bank and ditch upon which grow a number of fine old oaks. The western boundary is effectively the north-south road running along the wide expanse of open heathland with unbroken vistas to the west. Its quality of length and exposure to the west arouses a sense of curiosity as to the nature of the settlement: any visitor with a sense of England's historic landscapes must at once be intrigued by this forest village.

Unlike other Forest towns and villages like Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Burley and Beaulieu which attract hordes of visitors much of the year and especially of course in summer, East Boldre is just off the beaten tourist track and if you cross the road from Bartley Barn and walk out onto the heathland opposite you may very well not meet a soul! Yet we are only a stone's throw from popular Hatchet Pond and only a couple of miles from Beaulieu itself.

For accommodation in this lovely part of the New Forest right on the open heathland and only a short distance from the beaches of the Solent shore, you cannot do much better than Bartley Barn which offers self catering accommodation for up to 8 for families and has plenty of space for your own dogs, bikes and even ponies!

Bartley Marketing