Go wild in the country. Want a Forest adventure? Heather Cottage is ideal for families with kids who
are independent spirits and yearn for the freedom to climb trees, get muddy knees, make dens, discover
hidey-holes, follow tracks and enjoy Swallows and Amazon style adventures… All within a shout of
your holiday bolthole.
For right, slap, bang, opposite the cottage, through the garden gate and across an unfenced lane,
stretches the New Forest National Park – a wonderful wooded wonderland in all its lush, leafy,
wildness. There’s a stand of awesome, gnarly, ancient oaks to clamber up, secluded ferny copses and
sun-dappled glades to explore. The location is perfect for family getaways, allowing impromptu
games of rounders, footie and frisbee-throwing on grassland manicured by grazing ponies.
And there is the fabulous restaurant at The Pig Hotel, just 7 minutes walk along the lane. Happy days!
Heather Cottage works as a bolt-hole for extended and multigenerational family groups or a couple
of families holidaying together.
This charming 1930s period property is colour-washed duck egg blue
under a tiled roof with dormer windows, arched porch, stained glass window panes, old-fashioned
pull doorbell and interior doors of country planking with ironwork handles.
Inside the ambience is fresh, bright and relaxed in keeping with the well-travelled owners’ style (he
makes prosthetic legs for British Paralympians; she plays viola for the Academy of Ancient Music).
Along with their children (aged between 10 and 12), the house has been tried and tested as a family-
The sitting room is cosy with deep, squashy sofas, wooden boards, open fire in an exposed brick
fireplace (for autumn and winter stays), Smart TV, bifold doors onto the terrace and gardens, and
even a well-tuned upright piano which guests are welcome to play.
There is a spacious farmhouse style kitchen/dining/family room including painted cupboards,
butler’s sink, range cooker and old-fashioned airer. With windows overlooking open Forest at the
front and French windows onto a terrace at the back, this room allows parents to keep an eye on
children from a comfortable distance. In addition, centre stage, is a big old dining table seating eight
to 10 people – large enough for everyone to eat together. The family room has a Smart TV and
further doors onto the terrace.
Styling is chic, yet quirky combining Victorian and Edwardian pieces with retro gingham and calming
neutrals. One bedroom is decorated in coastal blues and stripes, another in textured greys, while yet
another, under sloping eaves, features Cath Kidston’s classic spotty designs.
Altogether there are five flexible bedrooms, sleeping nine at most. We suggest the best fit is four to
six adults and the rest are children.
Bedrooms include two doubles upstairs, one with en suite shower room, a double and single room downstairs (this bed is the top part of a bunk), a further shepherds-hut styled room with sofa bed (sleeping one) on the ground floor, plus mini kitchen area and ladder to a snug in the eaves with king-sized mattress.
Bifold doors from the sitting room and French windows from the family room both open onto a new
decked terrace that runs the length of the back of the house with al fresco dining area and relaxed
seating area of wicker armchairs and sofa, topped by plump cushions, and funky bean bags for
The back garden view is into the pony paddocks and woodland. It gets masses of summer sun making
it ideal for sunbathing. Fun for little ones is provided by a trampoline and mini-swing and slide. The house is south-facing, getting sun all day long, so it is super-hot in the summer, and gorgeous
sunsets bathe the cottage in a golden glow in the evening. A chiminea stove can be lit to take the
chill off evenings outside. Finish off your day by toasting marshmallows over a fire.
Here are our FIVE top things to do locally:
● Forest fun! Play hide and seek in the Forest, escape with a book and find a quiet corner, and
watch wildlife. Foals are born May to June, so there are plenty to spot come summer.
● Bike it! There are superb bicycle trails from the cottage in all directions. Bikes come with the
house (four adult mountain bikes and four children’s mountain bikes). If you need to hire more
equipment and extras (such as child seats and dog trailers) or need cycling advice – try
Cyclexperience in Brockenhurst. Our guests get 10% off, too!
● Just beachy! Sandy ‘Brockenhurst Beach’ on the river near Balmer Lawn Hotel is a short cycle away.
This idyllic spot, popular with locals, is a shallow stream ford. It’s perfect and leafy and for toddlers wanting a splash and a paddle.
● Giddy Up! Brockenhurst Riding Stables is a few doors away and their ponies graze the field behind
the house (so horse lovers can feed their equine friends while still in jim-jams). Or there is Warren
Farm Stables, a short walk away in the direction of The Pig; the riding from here is lovely.