Good morning New Forest!
Living in Bournemouth (South coast of the UK) brings the benefit of having great riding destinations no matter if you head East or West. Having not much time doesn't mean riding around the block - just 4 spare hours are enough to jump on a train and enjoy the wonders of the New Forest, one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England.
I planned my route the night before, starting and finishing at the Brockenhurst train station. Just a little over 30 km on a cold Sunday morning with enough time for a snack and coffee, and of course, plenty of stops along the way to take pictures. There's no shortage of magnificent views, typically featuring wild ponies wandering around the entire New Forest and often visiting the villages too.
Gravel! So much gravel!
The best thing about New Forest are the gravel trails. No wonder why so many cyclists call this place England’s best gravel. It's a good idea to plan your trip ahead, as it's easy to get lost and end up cycling in circles. I used Bikepacking.com route as the base for my route, and it was perfect for what I wanted. The only thing I didn't think through was a short on-road section on the outskirts of Lyndhurst, where I had to slowly cycle on the pavement as there's a one way road. Next time however, I'll go with the flow and stop in one of the Lyndhurst's cafes, perhaps the famous Wood Cyclery.