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Jane Austen's Hampshire

Excursions to the New Forest

While living in Southampton, the Austen family and their visiting relatives used to go on boat trips to the New Forest, famous for its wild ponies and beautiful scenery.

Here they travelled up the Beaulieu River, past Buckler's Hard and its shipbuilding yards to Beaulieu Abbey.

Both Buckler's Hard and Beaulieu Abbey are open to the public, the latter as part of The National Motor Museum.

These waterside outings amid the breezy, salty background of Southampton and the New Forest have a flavour of the outdoor scenes at Portsmouth in Mansfield Park and at Lyme in Persuasion. The only thing Fanny Price appreciated in Portsmouth was, on a bright March day

"the effects of the shadows pursuing each other on the ships at Spithead and the island beyond, with the ever varying hues of the sea, now at high water, dancing in its glee and dashing against the ramparts ..." from Mansfield Park

 

New Forest ponies

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