The Bisterne Dragon
The Bisterne Dragon legend takes place primarily in Bisterne, but also features Burley and Lyndhurst, and is one of the area's most famous pieces of folklore. The local tradition is that a dragon had his den at Burley Beacon, about 3 miles (4.8 km) east of Bisterne, at Burley. One version of the tale is that the creature flew every morning to Bisterne, where it would be supplied with milk. To kill the dragon, a valiant knight (usually named Berkeley) built a hide, and with two dogs lay in wait. The creature came as usual one morning for its milk, and when the hut door was opened the dogs attacked it. The knight took the dragon by surprise, and the dogs died in the affray.
Another version of the tale says that the dragon slayer only succeeded by covering his armour with glass. A popular telling of the story has it that the fight raged throughout the forest, with the dragon finally dying outside the village of Lyndhurst, his corpse turning into a hill (now known as Boltons Bench). Though the knight had defeated the dragon, he had been mentally broken by the battle, and after 30 days and 30 nights he went back to Boltons Bench to die alone atop it, his yew-wood bow falling on the ground beside his body and eventually sprouting into the yew tree which can still be seen today.
The first mention of Lyndhurst was in the Domesday Book of 1086 under the name 'Linhest'. The Court of Verderers sits in the Queen's House in Lyndhurst. (Verderers are forestry officials in England who deal with common land in certain former royal hunting areas which are the property of the Crown.)
The nearest city is Southampton, about 9 miles (14 km) to the north-east.
The village is the meeting point of the A35, which runs NE to SW between Southampton and Bournemouth, and the A337 which runs north to south between Cadnam on the M27, and Lymington, a ferry port for the Isle of Wight on the south coast.
Lyndhurst does not have a railway station, but it is served by Ashurst New Forest station, 3 miles (5 km) away. It is also 4 miles (6 km) from Brockenhurst and under 4 miles from Beaulieu Road station. These stations are on the South Western Main Line to London and Weymouth, serving Bournemouth and Southampton.
Bus services operated by Bluestar run frequently from Southampton and Lymington. There are also two daily National Express coach departures from London Victoria.
To deal with the large volume of traffic through the village, there is a one-way system. This in effect turns the major roads of the village into a traffic circle. In summer the traffic through the village increases hugely because of the tourists. This can create queues into the village from all directions.
- The Queen's House. The most important building in Lyndhurst is the Queen's House, which has also in the past been called the King's House, for the name changes according to the gender of the monarch. It is the principal building owned by the Crown in the New Forest, and contains the Verderers' Hall, home of the ancient Verderers' Court. The Queen's House is also the local headquarters of the Forestry Commission. The current structure largely dates from the 17th century, during the reigns of Charles I and Charles II. The building is a rambling two-storey structure in brick. The prisoners' dock, tables and chairs of considerable age are preserved in the hall.
- 2 Bolton's Bench. Hill with a viewpoint to look over the surrounding countryside.
- 3 Knightwood Oak (2.5 miles southwest of Lyndhurst, there is a carpark nearby.). The Knightwood Oak is a pedunculate oak and the largest, and perhaps most famous, oak tree in the New Forest, in southern England. It is also known as the Queen of the Forest. It is over 500 years old and has a girth of 7.38 metres (24.2 ft). The tree is still growing. It was pollarded when about 200 years old and is thought to have been last pollarded in the mid 19th century.
- 4 Portuguese Fireplace (on the road between Bolderwood and Emery Down). The Portuguese Fireplace is a war memorial in the New Forest National Park. It is near to Millyford Bridge and is used as a Waymark. Because it was also operated by the Canadian Forestry Corps, it is also referred to locally as the Canadian Fireplace.
- The Church of St. Michael and All Angels was built in the 1860s, and contains a fresco by Lord Leighton and stained-glass windows by Charles Kempe, William Morris, Edward Burne-Jones and others; Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, is buried there.
- 5 Glasshayes House (the former Lyndhurst Park Hotel). The only surviving example of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's architectural experimentation. Local folklore records it as the site of a dragon-slaying (see "Bisterne Dragon" above), and as being haunted by the ghost of Richard Fitzgeorge de Stacpoole, 1st Duc de Stacpoole. As of 2020, it is not open to the public. A proposed redevelopment of the site would save the historic portion of the building.
- 1 Bolderwood, Hampshire. Bolderwood is an area of the New Forest in Hampshire. Bolderwood hosts a deer sanctuary with a public deer observation platform. As a result, the public car park at Bolderwood is the most visited in the New Forest. From here the Bolderwood Arboretum Ornamental Drive links to the A35 passing close to the Knightwood Oak, one of the largest trees in the New Forest.
- The New Forest Tour, an open-top bus tour run in the summer, starts and finishes in Lyndhurst.
- 1 The Mailmans Arms, 71 High Street. Greene King pub with 3 real ales, meals (mains around £13) and Sunday roasts.
- The Old Stables (turn off the high street immediately to the left at the zebra crossing, next door to the primary school), ☏ . Check-in: M/F, check-out: M/F. Converted Victorian stable block, now a large holiday cottage sleeping up to 30 people. Large living spaces, 30-seat dining table, plenty of room and no bunk beds. Conversion has retained some original stable features.
- 1 Lime Wood, Beaulieu Road, Lyndhurst SO43 7FZ, ☏ . Upscale place in made-over Georgian lodge, great comfort and dining. B&B double from £350.
- 2 Spot in the Woods (formerly Terra Vina), 174 Woodlands Rd, Netley Marsh SO40 7GL, ☏ . Pleasant small hotel and cafe in the New Forest. B&B double £100.
|Routes through Lyndhurst|
|Bournemouth ← Burley ←||W E||→ for → Southampton|