Spring is my favourite time of year in the New Forest. Autumn may indeed be awash with colour. The majestic purple heathers and golden leafed hues, set fire to the senses. The forest is like a burning beacon of colour, ignited to mark the end of a glorious summer. But if you want to feel really alive, spring in the Forest is where the party’s at. April showers make way for the big spring break. May Day is Mother nature’s flagship party. One monumental organic rave.
Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s Party!”
~ Robin Williams
Before ‘twerking’ we had our old school May Day celebrations. Popular crowd pleasers include the crowning of the May Queen, the Maypole and of course a bit of hardcore Morris dancing. Our pagan heritage is even older than that of the ‘Nova Foresta’; Dating back to our Anglo-Saxon great-great-great-grandparents who liked to celebrate this fertile period too. May, ‘the month of three millings’, as it was so called because at this time of year, the cattle were milked three times a day. Holy cow, before we were conquered by the Normans, we were really milking it!
Mother’s milk really needs to start flowing in May. This is the month when the newly popped pony foals start their jaunty dance on their impossibly thin legs. If you want to experience the joy of life, watch a young foal.
Perhaps ‘spring’ is in fact named after them learning to leap and bounce? Testing out their new legs with an adrenaline inducing and heart-racing turn of speed. Spring has sprung for the older ponies too. They start to lose their ‘winter woolies’, their coats gleaming and fresh. Their new summer collection ready for the heat of summer.
I think more than anything the jubilation of spring is the joy of being alive. The triumph of surviving the winter. The pony’s had a particularly harsh autumn and winter last year. Not so much the weather which was actually pretty mild albeit pretty wet. But the bumper crop of beech mast and acorns killed many of the poor animals.
So, it’s time to be grateful and make a little ‘whoopee!’. If you want to celebrate spring and May Day in the New Forest, here are some suggestions:
May Day Bank Holiday in the New Forest
- Saturday 3rd May – Downton Cuckoo Fair
- Sunday 4th May – Hampshire Country Fair
- May Day – Visit Beaulieu on the 5th of May and be part of a Guinness World Record Attempt for the ‘Longest Line of Toy Cars’. Children who donate 2 or more toy cars on the 5 May will receive half price entry. All the donated cars will be used to raise money for Naomi House & Jacksplace after the event.
Stop press: Unfortunately the New Forest Spring Fair at New Park has just been cancelled due to the wet ground conditions.
Find more New Forest events.