So its officially Winter , but all the seasons this year have been a month late and hence Autumn is still with us and is its best for a decade and beyond. There's still time to come down and kick up the dry leaves with our 3 for 2 and 2 nights with free dinner offers.
The forest is settling down after the Rutt and Pony drifts and is going into winter mode. Quiet colours of browns and greys dominate the landscape but the oaks are still hanging onto their leaves , but one gust of wind and they're gone.
New Year approaches and we are still offering a Free 2 Course dinner when staying 2 nights from the 27th to 30th inc.
From the 2nd January we resume both our special offers, so give us a ring
Our New Year 2/3 day break is still available with an aptional sumptious 4 course dinner with a glass of house champagne
We look forward to hearing from by email or phone..
Sunday 17th Nov
After a beautiful sunny weekend it looks as if Winter will arrive on Tuesday , but only till Thursday when temperatures will rise to normal for this time of year . The beeches and oaks are looking fantastic and riding through the woods over a carpet of fallen coloured leaves is a joy.Once again Perry ( my horse ) and I bumped into some pigs on the Anderwood / Burley Rd but this time I managed to stay aboard
For the first time in 35 years we had a close encounter with a white fallow buck .The actual colour was cream on white , and I believe they are called white harts as from childrens books and many pubs throughout the country name their pubs after the White Hart.
The Forest is starting to dress up for Christmas. Lyndhurst has been adorned with new lights and has a reputation of being the best lit village in the forest. I believe the lights are switched on Saturday 7th December.
Have thought of a New Year break , Ormonde House is ready to welcome with a list of great walks and free chocs when staying three days . See Specials
Sunday 10th November
Autumn has arrived and providing the wind eases the Forest will look at its most colourful especially as the weather forcast is set dry and sunny for the next 7 days. Try and get a way for a few days and marvel at the beauty of the New Forest at its best , are 3 day breaks are fantastic value.
Down in the forest we still await a frost and are enjoying one of the mildest and longest Autumns for many years. I rode right up to two rutting red stags on Tuesday at Hinchelsea near Brockenhurst , I don't know who was the more startled ! Riding alongside us were two Americans from Virginia , who were having their first experience of England but not their first experience of an English riding saddle , which they find more comfortable . Their next stop was Dorest.
The Holly Trees are groaning with berries and soon the birds will be tucking in for the winter. Is this an omen of a hard winter!. Sows are still be seen in great numbers around Brockenhurst , Burley and Fritham and many with their little ones and I reckon they will be out till the end of the month eating the vast amounts of fallen acorns.
Newsletter Sunday 3rd November.
The New Forest Hounds held their opening meet at the Royal Oak at Fritham on Saturday , and despite the change to trail hunting hundreds were there to see them off . A blustery and wet day did not discourage the many who had turned out to enjoy the hospitality of the Royal Oak and see hounds off.
While riding out at Denny we came across 3 sows and 7 piglets with heads down gobbling up the thousands of acorns that have dropped this autumn . Now for those who have not ridden a horse before Pigs are not good news . Infact they can literally turn your day upside down. Horses hate pigs and can race away in fright.
The pigs are out to eat up the acorns as they are poisnous to ponies . The adjesters have reported many fatalities and are keeping a careful eye on the 2,000 ponies out at this time of year.
This week being half term many families have taken to their bikes and are enjoying the mild conditions of sun and occasional light showers.
For those of you who walk then you'll be pleased to know that the full colour of Autumn are yet to arrive and for the 1st time in years we have not had a frost so I think Autumn will stay with us well through November
Why not treat yourselves to a 3 for 2 break while this exceptional period of good weather continues.
Forcast for the week is mild with sunny spells and showers
News from our sponsor
Stay any 2 nights from Friday 1st November to 15thDec and 3rd Jan to 13th February and enjoy a 2 course dinner FREE on one night of your choice.
ANY 3 nights for the price of 2 from Friday 1st November to Christmas and 5th January to 13th February.
Three for 2 day breaks including room breakfast and 2 course dinner start from as little as £198 , and
£158 room and breakfast midweek with a £20 supplement over the weekend.
Both enjoy discounted rates, Free discount Brand New Forest booklet, Free dog and Walking maps.
New Year is approaching and it's great to have a few days in the forest to walk off your Christmas over indulgence. Why not join up with some friends and make up a party of 5 rooms or more and get a 10% discount.Enjoy our English Style food and go home relaxed after the Christmas bash. Most the attractions will be open and we offer Free walking maps and Brand New Forest Discount books .Stay 3 nights and receive a complimentary bottle of House Champagne and Chocolates. See our Specials for details.
This Newsletter is written by Paul Ames , co owner of Ormonde House Hotel with his wife Christine who in his spare time has taken to writing up a blog about his days out in the Forest. Paul has lived in the New Forest since 1975 and has engaged in the wonders of the Forest and owns a horse called Perry and their black lab called Molly.
Newsletter Saturday 26th October
The week has seen a continuation of Autumn with exceptionally mild days . Not much central heating needed and last Sunday saw Autumn end with the clocks going back . But it doesn’t mean we’re heading straight into winter especially when you look at our native oaks and beeches .They seem to be very reluctant to de robe and I’m sure we are heading into one of the longest Autumns for some time.
Out riding with friends on Saturday we left the woods of Islands Thorns and hacked over to Ashley Hole and disturbed a barn owl in the high heather . It majestically lifted off just ten feet in front of us and glided down into the valley called long Bottom . This area is basically open heathland with a small wood called Pitts Wood . Here we are at the most northerthly part of the Forest and is great for walking.
At last the Forest is getting damp and that’s the way we like it. After a dry summer the needed rain has nourished the shrubs and trees .This allows the birds , foxes, badgers and deer to fatten up for Winter on the forests autumns fruits . The sloes are still getting fatter but one normally waits for the first frost before picking, and that frost could be some time coming
Sunday 21st October
The Fallow Buck have started rutting in Denny. This is 2 miles down the Beaulieu Rd from the Ormonde House.
Mist and Mellow Fruitfulness describes the forest this week. Walk under the oak trees and you crunch your way across a carpet of acorns. The sloes just get fatter and the rose hips are ready to burst.
On Tuesday I rode out from Longdown with friends and was struck with the dazzling pearl like cobwebs on the gorse bushes and trees half hidden in the early morning mist.
Temperatures this week nudged 20c and high teen temperatures are expected this week with occasional rain showers..
Saturday 12th October
Still no signs of Autumn although the temperatures tumbled this week.
We went to see the New Forest Beagles hunt a aniseed trail laid by a runner . The aniseed is sprayed onto the runners boot and he is given a 15 to 20 min head start. Huntsman releases the beagles and once the trail is found thy set off like little rockets on the trail. It's great fun to watch and best off all the afternoon is washed down with tea and homemade cakes to end the day.
The sloes are getting nice and fat but are left till the first frost before picking. I'm off to Asda to get some cheap gin this week , one can never be over prepared
The Beaulieu Road Pony Sales Yard has had a 1 £million face lift. It is here the iconic New Forest Pony is autioned , and they still bid in guineas! A few years ago yearlings would fetch upto 100 guineas but in these recession period prices have dropped. To maintain a high price and a good home the Vereders of the Forest have implemented a breeding scheme that allows less ponies to be born and hopefully maintain a good price ..
Friday 5th th October.
Are we having an Indian Summer , well it stills feel like summer although we did put the heating on last night. With no rain forcast for the next week and temp forcasted at around 18c.it's a good time to book a room and enjoy the Forest in Autumn mode.
Red stages have been heard rutting at Aldridge Hill , Brockenhurst but I still await the calling of the Fallow Deer. The best place to see the Fallow is around Fritham Plain above Slodens and Island Thorns. Last year we counted up to 4 rutting stands. Please view them from afar otherwise they will bolt .The Forest is now awash with fungi of all varieties and is a joy to the eye. I rode from Cadmans Pond on Saturday to Hampton Ridge in the north of the forest. It was very obvious to note that ponds are completely dry even after the rains of last week. No matter where I go in the north of the forest The Pigs are out. The best areas are around Fritham and Anderwood to Burley.
There is no sign of Autumn in the trees but the sight of fat sloe berries tells me we are at the end of summer and the last of the blackberries are still there for the picking,
Friday 27th September. The first thing I've noticed is how warm it is , 20c plus in the afternoon. Compare this with last year when it never stopped raining and it was impossible to get about in the forest.
I rode out from South Oakley, near Burley , and was amazed how green everything is. No sign of Autumn here. South Oakley is famous for its Beeches and Oaks that are 300 to 400 years old. There are pollarded beeches to be seen and as pollarding was stopped just over 300 years ago it's easy to tell there age. Stopped to speak to Howard Taylor, Forest Keeper of the area and he reckons that the Bucks could start rutting from the middle of the month.This is a little early , so it could be down to the abundance of food available. Last year the rut was later possibley because of the poor harvest of beech nuts and acorns that are source of food for the deer. Infact many deer had to put down by the keepers because of their poor condition due mainly to lack of food.
Wild mushrooms are to be seen everywhere and my favourites Penny Buns are plentiful and are absolutely delicious. They wonderful with pasta or in a risotto.
Sunday 15th I have just found some cauliflower and beef steak mushrooms. The former is extremely tasty when cut into strips cleaned with a small brush ( do not wash ) sliced and shallow fried in olive oil.
I rode with friends from Millyford Bridge at 6.30 with the weather damp and dull. Millyford Bridge is 1 mile from The New Forest Inn at Emery Down and is a great place for walking. Through the woods of Puck Pitts you come up to higher ground which leads you to open heather where many bee hives will be found. There is a passage across the bog named Murrays Passage. This remembers Admiral Murray who died out hunting over a century ago, Once across you will come to Andrews Mare , a boating lake and for some a source of refreshment for the ponies and cattle.
The Rowan Trees are groaning with vibrant red berries which no doubt the native birds will feast on prior to winter. Still no fungi yet but in the woods behind my cottage the fungi called plums and custard are popping up. Unfortunately they are not great to eat. What is edible are the blackberries , which are ripe for jam making. Well that will keep my wife busy for the next week if weren't going away.
The pigs are out which means the panage season has started. The pigs , sows and piglets, are allowed out for a set number of weeks to eat up the acorns which are poisonous to the Forest Ponies. It really is one of the wonders of the New Forest.
I'm away next week but when back I hope to tell you if the Rut has started , how the pony sales are going and has the fungi picking season started. "It all happening in The New Forest " no matter when you come .
I'm away for a week from Monday but will bring more news of the soon
Out on horse with my dog Molly from Abbots Wells. We saw the most amazing sunrise , purples,oranges and reds , glorious start to the day. The heather is still vibrant purple up here with breath taking views towards Fritham.The fallow deer seem to be grouping up into large herds 20 to 40 does and fawns while the bucks are harder to spot.The day was warm but with a cooling wind.This a very quiet part of the Forest I don't think we saw anyone till 11am.
I rode out on my horse Perry with friends from Whitefield Moor towards Rhinefiels House Hotel. at 7am. The forcast was for rain but fortunately it had stopped but there was a change in temperature and as the morning progressed the temperature dropped from 17c to 11c by 9am! .
We were lucky to see 6 well mature Red Stags crossing at Puttles Bridge and onto Holm Hill near Rhinefield House Hotel.This was a rare treat because usually they are very timid . We also sighted a Red Hind and her calf but a good distance from the Males.In 6 weeks time they won't be separated as they will be concentrating on the Rut.
Low flying Herons were also spotted flying over the bogs looking for frogs. I presume the overnight rain, the first for 6 weeks , had brought the frogs out and the Herons were taking the opportunity to snack.
Tuesday 3rd September.
The forcast is for rain , but don't despair the Forest needs refreshing and the first fungi ( wild mushrooms )will show themselves within 10 days. The first signs of the end of summer are appearing. The heathland heather is ready to turn the Beautiful New Forest into a glorious colour of Purple. This annual event has started and will have us spellbound for a month. So book a few days and come and enjoy. Update .Since the end of August the heather in the south of the forest has died back but in the north where the temperature can be upto 5c lower the heather is still flowering.
I have been riding my horse Perry around the inclosures close to the Royal Oak at Fritham in the last 2 weeks where I found the inclosure of beech and oak blissfully quiet and cool but I noticed that all the streams are dry.The ground is extremely hard so this weekends rain is much needed.As for the Royal Oak it was awarded Pub of the Year 3 months ago and is a must to visit.
All three open top bus routes are proving a great success and quests are taking full advantage of this wonderful summer by sitting on the top deck and enjoying the spectacular views of the Forest , but hurry the bus routes finishes the season the 15th September.
Special 4 day midweek breaks continue through September with standard ensuite rooms with rates as low as £345 room and breakfast and £445 with a 2 course dinner and breakfast. but we only have 3 rooms for 4 days commencing 15th or 16th September and 5 from 23rd Septmber
What’s happening this Autumn!
New Forest Pony Sales at the Beaulieu Rd Sales Yard through September till November.
The Fallow and Red Deer Rutting season starts around the 20th October
The Glorious Autumn colours Mid October till the 1st week in November
Panage. The turning out of the Pigs to eat the acorns which are poisonous to ponies and cattle
Log fires in Pubs
Winter comfort Food at Ormonde House
October to 8th November
4 day midweek breaks
From £297 room and breakfast or £379 with a 2 course dinner.
We start 3 nights for the price of 2 from November 8th with “Molly “ bookers getting free afternoon tea.
New Year Special Breaks 27th December to 5th January. 2 Night minimum stay
Rooms from £89 room and breakfast or £121 with 2 course dinner
There’s a £15 supplement for our New Years Eve Dinner per person