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A Charming Village in the New Forest with Free-Roaming Donkeys

Dorset is full of wonderful and exciting places to explore, but sometimes you just want to go beyond the border and go on an adventure. For those wanting to escape the usual Dorset landmarks, but doesn’t want to venture too far, then this Hampshire village could be the ideal spot.

The New Forest is less than a 30-minute drive from Bournemouth, so we’re only a stone’s throw away from one of Hampshire’s most scenic national parks. But whilst there it’s also worth visiting one of the quaint villages in the area.

HampshireLive reporter, Daniel Blank, did just that to see the beautiful sites that the New Forest and its surrounding villages has to offer. This trip saw him venture into Beaulieu – an area perhaps most famous for its Motor Museum which sees flocks of visitors. Here’s what he had to say about the village.

From its famous ice cream to its undeniably beautiful landscape, the New Forest has long been a popular destination for visitors from far and wide. Despite being just an hour away from my home in East Hampshire, the destination is a place that I don’t get to too often.

However, earlier this week I decided to head down the M3 and visit one New Forest village in particular that is widely regarded as one of the nicest places in Hampshire. Driving into Beaulieu along the B3054 after visiting the quietest station in all of Hampshire, I passed the National Motor Museum on my left hand side as I headed for the village’s main car park.

I managed to secure one of the last spaces and after waiting for a few minutes behind another tourist struggling with the pay and display machine’s contactless payment system, I paid for a few hours parking. I started my tour of the area by heading up through the side street from the car park toward the High Street, passing a lovely looking bakehouse which I marked down for a quick stop off on my way back.

I headed out of the middle of the village, passing a few more independent businesses and The Montagu Arms hotel. I crossed over Beaulieu River, which was short of water after the low amounts of rain we have had since the turn of the year, and walked toward Palace House and Beaulieu Abbey. The village itself actually grew around Beaulieu Abbey, a site built in the 13th century that was ransacked and destroyed by the infamous King Henry VIII in the 1530s.

Walking around Beaulieu River I was taken aback by how stunning the place was. I couldn’t stop imagining how lovely it would be to visit the place in the height of the season when the river is full of canoes and kayaks and tourists and residents are sat about enjoying the great outdoors.

We really do take for granted some of the sites we have right on our doorstep. After walking back up toward the High Street, I couldn’t get over how quiet and pretty it was. I passed only a handful of people on my walk up the road, which certainly has that ‘chocolate-box appeal’.

That appeal was one of the factors that saw the village ranked as the ‘poshest’ place in Hampshire by The Telegraph recently. Unsurprisingly, property is not cheap though with the average house selling for a cool £1.5 million. The village has also previously been named the third prettiest village in the whole of the UK, and it’s easy to see why.

I decided to follow one of the many footpaths out of the village centre. I headed along the river toward the Motor Museum to see what else is out that way of town. What greeted me were rolling fields and more thatched cottages, tucked away along the river bank.

As I was preparing to turn back round and head back to that bakehouse I’d eyed up earlier on, to my amaze five wild donkeys were walking toward me. Now this shocked me. I knew of course about the wild horses in the New Forest, but for one reason or another hadn’t heard of the wild donkeys!

Rather than approach too closely, I turned around and headed back to the village for a quick bite to eat. One slice of Victoria sandwich, a cookie and a delicious latte later I jumped back in my car refreshed and ready to make the long drive back up to Bordon for the final part of my working day.

Getting out of the car park however was a little harder than expected. Why, I hear you ask?

You know those little five donkeys I told you about…. Well, by the time I’d gone inside, enjoyed a treat and made my way out to the car they had made their way into the village centre itself and had stopped right opposite the car park exit!

I don’t know if I’d upset them or whatever, but after being ambushed by these donkeys earlier they had now followed me to make my life as difficult as possible. After waiting for a few minutes I was able to exit the car park once traffic, both cars and mammals, had moved out the way.

Source: Dorset Live

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