Holland’s Wood is a New forest run camping and caravan site situated not far from Brockenhurst and Lyndhurst. We stayed here during the May half term for 3 nights in 2017. The site itself is nicely surrounded by the New Forest with no boundary fences which is unique to the forestry run sites. You can wander off into the forest area or surrounding fields with no restrictions. The wild animals, Shetland ponies, cows and beautiful horses run wild a few feet from the site, and in some cases wandering into the site.
The site facilities are very good for such a popular site. They have three main toilet and shower blocks with ample facilities in each. This is a large site and when we stayed they had 600 bookings. With this many people on site we still had very good use of the toilets and showers without having to queue. Also they were regularly checked and kept clean. There is no electric hook up so we were relying on our vans 12v system. This held up very well since fitting some solar panels to the motorhome. Dogs are also welcome and must be kept on a lead due to the wild animals.
There are no designated pitches, when you arrive you are greeted by a very friendly service crew and then left to find a place to pitch up. This can be very good during non busy times, but when fully booked you can find it hard to get a pitch without feeling like you are climbing over others. This is mainly because people naturally spread out and I feel they over book for the space they have. Probably sticking within fire regulations will allow a lot of pitches but this does not mean it is practical. Another small annoyance with so many people in one location, the noise can get quiet loud. When we stayed there was a dog barking all day from 5 in the morning till past 11 at night and the wardens where not too bothered with dealing with this, even though we spoke to them about it. A number of people complained and nothing was done. Being a popular location and large complex you do expect a lot of noise and bustle so if you are looking for a nice quiet weekend in the forest you might want to look elsewhere, but if you are a family with young children then this site is ideal for a host of reasons.
As already stated with the boundary open to the forest kids can explore and play within the forest, climbing trees, hiding out and building shelters. What more does a young child want, seeing the wild animals and playing rounders or football in the adjacent field, they will soon pick up friends to play with. Within a 5 min walk outside the gate to the left is a stream where a lot of people go for a picnic, this is another great location for the kids to play. It is quiet, safe to paddle and splash around in the stream. You might find the local cows nearby who like to walk into this stream to have a drink and cool down. If you do have dogs you are advised to keep them on a lead when the wild animals are around as they can get hurt by the animals or cause injury to the animals themselves.
If you fancy a walk and a bite to eat then you will be spoilt for choice. On the first night we arrived we walked from the site to Brockenhurst which is about 20 min away. On the way you will pass the Huntsman which is a nice pub serving food. We did not eat here as we wanted to explore all the area. This pub has a good outside garden and a very nice restaurant area. Dogs are welcome outside but I am not sure about indoors as we did not ask. We then walked on to the town following the main road and stopped at the Snakecatcher. This again serves food and has a very nice outdoor garden. Dogs are again welcome indoors and in the garden. We had one pint here and then crossed over the road to the Forest Arms, another dog friendly pub where we decided to stop for some food. This pub has a court yard seating area outside by the road. It’s a popular pub and on a sunny day it’s very nice to sit out and watch the day pass by. We had some excellent food here, the staff where very friendly and professional.
The next day we decided to do a 7 mile round walk incorporating 4 pubs and just bypassing Lyndhurst town. You can follow this walk with the link below. You exit the site at the top corner walking into the forest and across a field following the main road till you find the kissing gate which brings you up to the main road. Cross this road and you will come to the entrance to New Park Manor where they sometimes hold country shows. You need to go through this entrance gate then turn right before going into the grounds boundary fence. Follow the Viewranger trail keeping the fence on your left until you come across one of the many bike trails. Here you turn right and follow the track until you come to a road. Turn left here and follow this around till you come to the Oak Inn. This was our first stop, a dog friendly pub serving the local Ringwood ale. The garden outside was very nice and the food being served look very good. The staff where very friendly and the area was beautiful. All the pubs on this walk are dog friendly allowing them indoors and outside.
We left this pub after a nice pint and turned right following the road up to the main A35. If you look across this road you should see an entrance gate into the forest. Cross over and go through this gate into the forest. This is an extremely busy road so be careful when crossing. We walked through the forest using the Viewranger on our tablet to get to The New Forest Inn. This is a nice pub within the forest boundary. We stopped off for another pint and a chat with the locals before heading off turning right up the road and following the road by foot path till you come back to the A35, cross over again and you will be at The Swan Inn, this is a large pub with a garden. It looks very nice and clean inside and was serving food all day. Again we did not stay for food as we intended to eat at the last pub. After a pint we headed off down the A35 to our final stop The Crown Stirrup. At the time this was newly renovated by the new owners and what a great job they have done. The garden is excellent, a wire fence to the rear allowing you to see into the forest whilst enjoying your pint. There is a small play area, some rabbits and an outdoor skittles lane for the kids to play. We had some excellent food here and the staff are very friendly. We were to come back here the next day as they had a country and western day with live music and a hog roast. Another nice thing about this site it has a rear gate taking you into the forest. From here you can stroll off to the right following the road down by forest, walk all the way back to the site. This is about 50 min walk and so makes a great place to visit for an evening meal if you don’t want to drive.