Spring Flowers in the New Forest

Spring Flowers are fabulous this year in the New Forest

Bluebells at Pondhead Inclosure New Forest


April and May are the months for the spring flowers - and right now in the New Forest they are everywhere.

Hard on the heels of the golden daffodils the beautiful bluebells are now at their best in the more shaded and woodland areas. (Top tip for bluebells: take a walk in Royden Woods near Setley, which lies between Brockenhurst and Lymington.  Or, visit Pondhead Inclosure near Lyndhurst, where this photograph was taken.)

For all garden lovers visiting the forest or simply taking some time to relax over the late Easter and the early May bank holiday weekends the spring flowers have presented a wide variety of treats for eyes and noses!

Everybody knows or at least knows of Exbury Gardens and the best season there is upon us too with the rhododendron and azalea displays about to be stunning.


But you’d like to wander amongst wild spring flowers and experience some respite from the hubbub of daily life, it’s time to discover Furzey Gardens near Minstead.

Furzey Gardens for a magical spring garden experience

Furzey Gardens in Spring

Folk talk about famed Furzey Gardens in almost reverential tones. Geographically it’s close to the A31 not far from Cadnam but you won’t find it starting from there because it’s a secret hideaway tucked away in the heart of the forest only reached via a myriad of little lanes. And it’s worth the effort to find it.

Start from the A337 linking Cadnam and Lyndhurst and head for Minstead, then you’ll need to navigate along narrow lanes to the north west of the village. There are some signs but you’ll need to watch carefully. (SatNavs don’t conjure up the same sense of anticipation, but the postcode is SO43 7FT.)

As its leaflet proclaims Furzey Gardens is a “haven of peace and tranquility” in the heart of the New Forest: 10 acres of beautiful woodland gardens, including a 16th Century forest cottage, thatching and bug barn, children’s play area, plant sales and gift and coffee shop.

Starting from the tea rooms, gift shop and adjacent plant sales and following the free guide you can wander at will down little pathways and through the woods and ponds to quiet glades, passing familiar shrubs as well as rare plants from around the world. If you visit during April the rhododendrons and azaleas will be dazzling with colour.

The Fairies at Furzey Gardens
Fairy twins at Furzey Gardens

These twins belong to a family who were visiting the Forest for a whistlestop weekend from London - they’d done their homework to get under the skin of the magic of Furzey Gardens!

There are lots of little carved “fairy doors” hidden amongst the gardens. For parents it’s perfect – their little ones play hide and seek and hunt for the doors whilst the adults can take their time enjoying and appreciating the gardens close up as well as the views over fields and forest to the south and west. For these little girls it was a dream day of fairy wishes come true!

The Minstead Trust - rewarding work for adults with learning disabilities

Furzey Gardens is a social enterprise, which relies on voluntary donations to support its extensive work with adults with learning disabilities – and seeing these people clearly enjoying their work amongst the plants sets a wonderful tone of fellowship and harmony from the moment you enter the gardens. Donations to the Gardens support the social enterprise and contribute to the wider work of Minstead Trust and its vision for greater independence and fulfilled lives for people with learning disabilities.


The Cottage at Woodlands, not far from Furzey Gardens

A magical holiday cottage in the heart of the New Forest

If you’re looking for a self catering cottage in the New Forest, New Forest Holiday Lets would like to bring to your attention The Cottage at Bartley! It will capture your heart in similar vein to nearby Furzey Gardens! Discover it here...The Cottage at Bartley




Wild flowers at Spinners, near Lymington

Meanwhile if you’re touring in the Beaulieu, Brockenhurst and Lymington area of the New Forest, another hidden gem of a garden awaits your spring visit.

With woodland walks, a bog garden, pond and small arboretum, Spinners is a stunning woodland garden to visit, with a collection of rare and unusual plants built up over the last fifty years and still evolving. It is small and privately owned, and quite simply, a garden for the plant lover. The herbaceous borders are a treat and there’s a “visitor's cabin” serving tea and coffee, and plants available to buy.

Opening for the season on Saturday 8 April, Spinners is then open through April, May and June 10 am – 5 pm with a small entry fee, free for children under 16 and RHS individual members.


Not forgetting Exbury Gardens in spring...

Azaleas spring flowers in the New Forest...where the azaleas and rhododendrons will shortly be at their most majestic.

Exbury Gardens is the largest public garden of the New Forest, especially famed for its azaleas and rhododendrons which its creator Lionel de Rothschild so loved. These are just coming to their splendid best around now and their season will be at its height over Easter and through April.

Here’s a link to a gallery of images of spring flowers at Exbury Gardens from previous years, together with an article about Azaleas at Exbury.

At New Forest Holiday Lets we just love spring flowers which is why we've written this article, and hope you enjoy your spring garden visits!  Meanwhile we have a selection of rather special holiday cottages and properties in lovely locations throughout the New Forest so if you or somebody you know is looking for somewhere to stay in the New Forest this spring or summer or indeed autumn, do give us a call on 01590 622449 or contact us via our online booking form. 

More articles for reference:

Gardens to visit in Hampshire

Heathland plants in the New Forest
Bluebells and woodland plants in the New Forest 






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