The red route was introduced as a pilot scheme during the school summer-holiday and ran for six weeks. Two open-top buses took visitors around Burley, Ringwood, Fordingbridge and Lyndhurst.
The Tours helped visitors learn more about the Forest with a fascinating audio commentary, encouraged them to visit local businesses and reduced traffic by encouraging people out of their cars.
David Harrison, Lead Member for Transport at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This pilot Tour has been a phenomenal success. More than 14,000 people have taken the Tour in just six weeks.
‘The feedback has been extremely positive and we are working hard to ensure that the red route will become a regular fixture in the north and west of the Forest during the summer months.’
The new hop-on hop-off New Forest Tour route has been made possible by a partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Wilts & Dorset bus company and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre.
Brett Turner, Operations Director at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, said: ‘Sandy Balls is very pleased to have been a partner in this summer’s successful New Forest Tour. Not only have our guests and local residents enjoyed the benefits of this new sustainable access to the Forest but so has the local business community with reports of increased trading along the route.’
It is estimated that over 147,000 private car miles were saved by the New Forest Tour this year and that its customers generated a contribution of nearly £500,000 to the local economy.
Notes to Editors:
Protect - Enjoy - Prosper
The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:
Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.
We also have a duty to:
Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.
The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.
Visit http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.
Karen Evans-McDaid, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
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The New Forest National Park lies mainly in south-west Hampshire; it is famous for its stunning landscapes,wildlife,coastline & picturesque villages. It is the eighth national park in England and the first in the south-east to be created for nearly 50yrs.