We spent 4 nights here getting used to the van. Horsley Campsite is an old WW2 airfield so lots of space. We found very few of the campsites in the New Forest have electricity connections. After his harrowing long drive the previous day, Richard went on strike and refused to drive anywhere! We decided a bit of exercise was in order and walked to the village of Burnley about an hour away over the Heath and through the forest. So many horses here and lots of foals. We found out the horses have owners who have commoner rights through land ownership but roam at will. Each herd tends to stay in a particular area and there are horse experts with some weird old English names for each part of the New Forest who keep an eye on them etc. The foals are often taken and trained and sold. The horses have right of way on the roads and are not worried about cars. Unfortunately quite a few die each year particularly when they venture on to the roads at night.
Saturday saw us checking out a Food and Wine festival at a local town (not so interesting) and the south coast near Bournemouth and Poole. One of our few wet and windy days and not a good day for walks on the coast. Luckily we checked out the ferry crossing from Poole as we later found out that we couldn’t go on the one from Portsmouth with a trailer. It was good to learn we could park in the vehicle queuing area overnight.
Sunday was family reunion day. (Photo above) We were invited to lunch at Richard’s cousin Gill’s place in Wiltshire where she runs a Bed and Breakfast in a 17- early 18th century farmhouse. A long drive but worth it. We got to meet 5 of Richard’s cousins and partners which was lovely. Such a coincidence that Richard’s cousin Patrick sent out an email to our Auckland 2040 address after googling Richard Burton asking if he was his cousin and wanting to reestablish contact. When Richard said we had just arrived in the UK he quickly organised the reunion – fantastic effort Patrick.
On the way back we lucked onto dinner at Burnley Manor – a beautiful old manor house in the New Forest near our campsite and excellent meal to match. Many of our meals outside London have been very traditional British pub fare so it made a pleasant change.
The New Forest was great place to stay and get familiar with the van – debated going down to the Cornwall area for a few days before crossing to France but when we found out the Bank holiday weekend at the end of May was followed by a week of school holidays we decided against it. I hate to think what the roads in popular holiday areas are like in school holidays given how much traffic there is normally.
Next post – Normandy