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New Forest National Park

I recently returned from 11 days in England, one of my favorite places in the world. I first went to England on a study abroad program when I was 16 years old. It was my first time in Europe, and I fell completely head over heels in love with the country – with its culture, its people, its beauty, its history, and its food (yes, even the food!). After 3 study abroad programs and countless additional visits, my love affair for all things English continues to this day. My Dad affectionately refers to my Anglophilia as a ‘virus,’ but it feels like home, and I hope to move there someday.

Since I’ve been to England so many times, my goal for this trip was to explore areas I hadn’t seen before. Therefore, I spent the first 3 days of my trip in the New Forest National Park in southern England. The smallest of England’s national parks, the New Forest has something for everyone: unspoiled woodlands, gardens, wildlife, historic houses, museums, and picturesque countryside villages. I stayed in the small village of Lyndhurst, which is referred to as the capital of the New Forest.

After checking into the hotel, it was time to explore the area. It is absolutely beautiful.

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It was crazy to see the remnants of the terrible flooding that England recently suffered. This was not a lake…

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If you visit the New Forest, you will undoubtedly come across ponies, whether in the park or walking down the road. These ponies seemed completely unfazed by cars and humans. Beware though, some are friendlier than others! I was given a nasty stare when I first tried to approach them.

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Finally, a friendly one!

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This white pony was scratching his butt on a war memorial. Yes, you read that correctly. I wish I had video of it, because he was going at it for at least 10 minutes. It was hilarious!

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I reluctantly left the ponies behind and headed deeper into the New Forest for a walk around Hatchet Pond. I had company immediately upon my arrival.

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Smart little fellas, these donkeys were! They stuck their heads in car windows looking for food, and blocked cars, preventing people from leaving the car park.

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It was very chilly and windy at Hatchet Pond, but absolutely beautiful. A perfect place for a leisurely walk.

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It was just a tad muddy. Good thing I wore a white t-shirt.

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After a wonderful day exploring the New Forest, petting ponies, and being stalked by hungry donkeys, I headed back into Lyndhurst as the sun was setting.

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Stay tuned as I post about my trip over the next two weeks. I miss it already, is it time to go back?!

~S

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