About Us

New Forest Escapes is a small and locally-owned company. We love the New Forest and enjoy sharing this love with everyone who comes and stays.
We believe in exceptional customer service, approachable, friendly staff and we have a strong commitment to the local communities and economy in the area

Our mission is:

To inspire moments of happiness in everything we do and to make things as simple and easy for everyone we communicate with.
In 2011, with a 6 month old baby, I started with one holiday cottage. After 3 years friends kept asking me to help out. Now we have over 20 houses and are looking for more. There are also a few more people involved than just me. 

Here’s a glimpse into our thinking:

What we like:
Breakfast on the beach, Swallows and Amazons adventures, toasting marshmallows over the fire by the shore, the lived-in look, English eccentric style, exploring, country tracks, creativity and fun, Scrabble on the jetty, story-tellers spinning tales in forest glades, scrummy picnics…
What we don’t like:
Beige and boring, characterless identikit rooms, thin mattresses, shower mould, no free condiments, having to lay your own fire, not being able to find the matches, scrabbling around trying to find information on where to go and what to do…
  • Who is our customer and how do we help them?

    Since 2012 we have helped over 2000 groups holiday in the New Forest. We’ve had the normal: family breaks, 70th birthdays, weddings… And we’ve had the unusual: pet geese, divorce parties and film shoots. There have been a few particularly special groups whose VIP was terminally ill and came to celebrate their last family get-together. Quite a humbling and amazing experience to help with.
  • Going that extra bit…

    We know how important and tricky it is to get ‘the magic bits’ into a break. To help we’ve worked up some ‘experience ideas’ for inspiration. We know which pub serves the more bizarre brews. The restaurant with the freshest fish. The perfect spot for your morning yoga and forest bathing. Everyone, whatever age, will love making memories together. Read more in our blog here. 
  • Rachel Parsons – Founder and Chief Dogsbody

    Rachel is the 3rd generation in her family who has worked with guests in the tourism industry. Her grandmother ran a self-catering business for years. Her mum does Bed and Breakfast. Rachel made a lot of tea for guests when she was a kid….

    Three days after secondary school finished, Rachel moved to Australia to work for an adventure tourism company hosting guests in remote bush camps and farming sheep and cattle. She ended up as a travel writer for an eclectic travel brand that many pennies dropped.  She says, “the most successful businesses were those with a thoughtful set up, the sharing of their knowedge, the interesting, rather than predictable style.

    In 2011 Rachel started Ploughmans Cottage, and ran it for 4 years before setting up New Forest Escapes

    She now works part time for New Forest Escapes and also home educates her seven year old daughter. This allows her to explore the New Forest and indulge in her love affair with trees, horses and bicycles and to develop the company brand, creative, work on the sales-side and generally steer the tiller. 


  • Jane Wilkinson – Managing Director of Everyday Happiness.

    Jane came to us to support in website marketing, swapped to accounts, took on the business admin and then the team management. Her deep love of numbers and Microsoft Excel is perfect for the business! She is absolutely central to the running of the business and her calm and smiley attitude makes her a perfect ‘Director of Everyday Happiness’. 

    Jane has worked in the leisure and tourism industry for 15 years. Her career has extended far and wide to give her a really in depth knowledge of this industry, always focusing on product, marketing and customer service whether at a luxury boutique tour operator, the SEALIFE centres or P&O Cruises; As well as working on luxury boats abroad. She loves to holiday and has travelled far and wide. 

    She moved to the New Forest area ten years ago and headed straight to the beach and activities on the water – her first love. She only really discovered the forest after reading Rachel’s blogs and recommendations about what to do locally.

    Read more about what Jane recommends locally here. 

    Jane is also mum to two lovely girls and runs the show at our Cliff House.



  • Sarah Wilson – Our Queen of Office Operations

    Sarah grew up in the New Forest and rode ponies here for her childhood fun.

    She couldn’t keep away as an adult and has returned to be a local again. Sarah works for us part time in the office, focusing on enquiries, bookings and office admin.

    She has a 4 year old boy and lives in Lymington. When not working she commonly found testing out new walks and coffee shops – ask her about the where to eat and the best coffee locations! You can be sure that the information you get will be up to date and well tested.

    Read more about what Sarah recommends here. 

  • Jan Caldwell – Property Manager

    Superwoman Jan is based in Lymington. She has worked with us for 6 years. She knows  the area like the back of her hand and is an excellent person to ask for local info’. Learn more about Jan’s favourite bits of the New Forest here. 

    Her main role is as a Property Manager. From 2019 onwards she is increasingly taking on the training and support of the other Property Managers for NFE and the cleaning teams.

    She is superb at juggling jobs and buzzes around looking after her houses and guests. Jan is a major tennis fan and when not helping us, you’ll find her on a court. 


  • Dinah Farrell – Property Manager

    Dinah works with us as a Property Manager. She ‘mothers’ 2 houses near Lymington. Formerly an NHS practice manager, she has a fine attention to detail. We’re very glad to have her on the team to support our owners and guests. Dinah is a massive dog fan and has 2 hairy little dachshund friends who are a big part of her life.


  • Kate Porteous – Juggler of Social Media, Knower of Whats on

    Kate grew up in Pembrokeshire where most weekends were spent boating on the coast. After a brief spell working in Paris and Germany, she migrated to London where she had a blast working in marketing and sampling posh restaurants.

    She missed the sea and when she saw a job opportunity on the Isle of Wight with Liz Earle Skincare – she escaped the city. Taking up residence in Lymington, she met her sailing fanatic husband and spent the next 10 years marketing pots and pans and then luxury yachts. Having managed the social media for both Le Creuset and Oyster Yachts as part of her roles there, she became somewhat of a social media geek and still can’t get enough of it to this day.

    She loves nothing more than getting out on the Solent and/or going for a good stomp through the forest with her sons who are 8 and 5. Where’s best to picnic with kids? Where can you get the best views to see the Fastnet or Round the Island Race? Where is best to see the bluebells in May? Which New Forest pubs have the best kids play areas (and the tastiest food and wine)? Fine dining in the New Forest? Ask Kate. Or follow us on Facebook and Instagram 😉