A new children’s book, inspired by the New Forest’s iconic ponies, makes for an original way to explore the national park.
New Forest resident Carole Smith came up with the idea for Have You Seen The New Forest Unicorn? during the Covid pandemic lockdowns.
Her eldest granddaughter, Chloe, loved standing at the window watching the ponies go by, so with this in mind Carole started to write a story that she could share over FaceTime.
She used the quirky characteristics of the ponies and horses she has grown to know and love over decades of living in the forest, to develop her six main equine characters, each with their own personality.
Now published, and beautifully illustrated by local artist Alexandra Wilson, the book is already proving popular with young and older readers alike since its release earlier this year.
It tells the story of six young New Forest ponies who go on an adventure to find the fabled New Forest Unicorn.
Drummer, Merlin, Peewee, Riley, Willow and Juliet follow a route that takes in some of the most beautiful parts of the forest – and the accompanying trail allows readers to follow in their hoofprints to the locations mentioned in the book.
Visit Wootton Bridge – and check for Trolls under the bridge before enjoying a walk through mixed woodlands of Wootton Copse and Brownhill inclosures.
Or follow the ponies to Bolderwood Deer Sanctuary which offers a range of different waymarked walks based on distance as well as a deer viewing platform and picnic spots.
After all those walking adventures, the trail also takes in the Greenwood Tree Cafe in Lyndhurst where you can drop in for a Unicorn Milkshake or you can head to burley for some Unicorn Fudge in Burley.
An enchanting bedtime story, Have You Seen The New Forest Unicorn? instils a love for the New Forest, its places and animals in the youngest of readers and walkers.
Have You Seen The New Forest Unicorn? is available to buy in shops and tourist attractions in the New Forest, as well as online and in all good bookshops including Amazon. It is also available as an e-book.