Saturday, 29 August 2009

Ringwood and Lymington - two lovely Forest towns

I am still trying to get our holiday written up on here, so you will have to be patient. One of the nice things was we could be leisurely. We could drive the back way in to Ringwood across the moor and then along the little back lanes, park up for free (using my friend's free parking ticket which locals ca buy for a small fee) and then just stroll around the shops.

The Forest moorland near Castle Hill, an Iron Age hill fort and a rarity for the Forest.

Ringwood is a lovely town and it made me feel at home to hear the soft Hampshire accent again. Lovely people, unpretentious country folk, happy and friendly. There is a choice of Sainsburys and Waitrose, some excellent Charity shops and a wonderful fabric and sewing shop where I could have easily spent a small fortune! I was good and just bought some material in the sale for the hexagon patchwork quilt I'm making, and a length of beautiful shot silk effect Chinese patterned material for a throw for middle daughter's bed for Christmas. I have been thinking ahead this year . . .

A quiet corner of Ringwood.

In the 11th century, Ringwood was known as "Rincevede" - the ford (wade or vede) over the river (rine). Indeed, the River Avon runs nearby and was an important crossing place. At the time of the Domesday Book, both a church and a mill here were mentioned and in 1226 a Charter was granted by Henry III allowing a weekly market here (Wednesday is market day). James, Duke of Monmouth, was alleged to have stayed at Monmouth House, near the Market Place, following the Battle of Sedgemoor. Visit here for further details.

In one of the little precincts (and I kick myself for not photographing it) was a stunning bronze statue of a New Forest mare and foal. It is by Priscilla Hann and I have taken the liberty of borrowing the photograph from her website. That's what I call ART - there is such movement and vibrancy in the figures.

We also drove across the Forest to Lymington. Last time I went there middle daughter was about 4 years old and let go of my hand on a busy market day and we LOST HER! The panic I felt then still echoed through me as we walked down the High Street . . . Now she is 20 she is more difficult to lose!

As you can see, storm clouds were threatening! This is the quaint little street leading down to the Quay.

And around the corner at the bottom. Lots of little shops selling clothes and what-have-you.

Down on the quay the storm cloud was even more threatening. We sat for a while though, and listened to the breeze jingling the rigging of the yachts and looked across the river and out towards the Isle of Wight.

Then it was back up to the car, with the wind starting to rise as the weather front chased us. We were caught in heavy rain just 100 yards from the car and steamed gently after that! As you can see, it is such a pretty town and well worth a visit.

Its history dates from Saxon times and the name was originally believed to be limen tun - "tun" is a Saxon word for farm or hamlet, and "limen" a Celtic word for elm or marshy river. It was first records in 689 AD and by the time of the Domesday Book in 1086 it was recorded as Lentune. A charter giving Lymington the right to hold a market was granted by the Lord of the Manor, William de Redvers, around 1200, and there was also an Annual fair which had become a twice-yearly event by 1315. The town has long been a busy port and from the Middle Ages until the 19th century it was important for the export of salt which was manufactured locally from seawater which was evaporated in large copper pans. Merchants in Salisbury also used Lymington as their outlet for exports of wool (much to the annoyance of nearby Southampton). A more detailed history fo the town may be found here.


  1. Great photos ... Wow ...those dark clouds are impressive.

  2. Beautiful photos and a lovely, interesting history of the town which makes me want to visit.
    Shame you were caught in the rain but I guess a little rain never hurt anyone!

  3. Learning so much about various towns in the UK----came to England 4 yrs ago to visit my son who was at Cambridge--did a whirlwind tour of London and out to Stonehenge--loved the small towns and gardens--a beautiful country--
    -my grandfather was from England so we were all eager to visit

  4. Hi folks. Lymington is really such a happy thriving little town with a lovely air to it and much character, and the same can be said of Ringwood too.

    Pat - I hope you got to visit Cambridge too as it has the most sublime architecture. If you visit again you will have to get to Avebury - a circle of standing stones so vast it has a village in it! A very special place on the dge of Salisbury Plain.

    Ann - the rain meant that we had a Car Picnic with hunks of crusty bread and cheese.

    Angie - I love taking atmospheric pictures. Seeing these transports me straight back to that day.

  5. Lovely pictures. I love Lymington :)


  6. Love those equine statues, wouldn't you love those on your lawn! Kath x

  7. Nice to see a glimpse of one of the new ferry boats