The New Forest, which is now a National Park, was created in 1079 by King William 1 as a royal hunting area and consists of some 65,000 acres of grasslands, heath, ancient and ornamental woodlands, the whole area is freely roamed by the Commoners ponies, pigs and cattle.
The Forestry Commission has granted cyclists the use of many gravel tracks throughout the Forest, which are ‘way-marked’ and cyclists should keep to them. They are generally well-maintained, so it is not necessary to have an off-road bike as they can be ridden by any touring bike with reasonable tyres.
All riders must adhere to the Forestry Commissions New Forest Cycle Code which is available online or as a hard copy from the Forestry Commission, Tourist Information Offices and local outlets.
There are good facilities for children in two Country Parks near Ringwood, namely the Moors Valley Country Park and the Avon Heath Country Park. In addition The New Forest Visitor Website gives comprehensive information on the area and all its varied attractions.
The nearest main shopping centres are, Ringwood, Christchurch, New Milton and Lymington. Banking facilities may be found at all of the main shopping centres listed above. Camping and cycle spares and accessories may also be purchased in these towns.