Traditionally it’s that time of year when nature’s bounty is gathered in and grateful New Foresters give thanks at the annual Harvest Festivals, which are taking places at churches and schools during late September and October.

Our ancient churches welcome visitors to these services but don’t leave it there because if you’re a foodie, now really is the best time to visit the New Forest. Especially if you’re looking to kick-start that healthy eating programme or eat more naturally.

Why don’t you try out some of our locally grown Harvest produce. Head down to Dan Tanner’s Pick Your Own, where you can choose from Potatoes, Squash, Blackberries, Garlic & much more… and as it’s nearly Halloween, you can pick up a delicious Pumpkin whilst you’re there!

We have 140 miles of walking tracks for you to enjoy which – if you’re lucky – will lead you to our roaming pigs at Pannage, helpfully eating up all the acorns so they don’t poison the ponies.  If it’s raining, don’t worry – check out the harvest-themed decorations at Beaulieu’s Palace House.

And don’t forget to stop off at New Forest Cider in Burley, where they’ll be pressing this season’s crop, as well as selling the varieties they’ve already bottled.

Harvest is the season for wine making, too, so take time out to taste the fabulous offerings at Setley Ridge vineyard near Brockenhurst – real forest wine made with grapes grown in the New Forest.

If you want the full forest foodie experience, ensure you lunch at one of our hotels or restaurants – look out for seasonal specialities, especially game. If you want to try some clean-eating, the Spring Green menus at Careys Manor Hotels’s The Zen Garden are an inspiring introduction.

Finally, for a real taste of everything the forest has to offer this harvest, don’t forget the weekly Saturday markets at Lymington and the Hampshire Farmers Market on October 23 at The Furlong in Ringwood.

*thenewforest.co.uk