Take to the skies in the South Downs
England's newest National Park has lots of activities on land and along the coast, but did you know that the South Downs National Park also offers a whole host of activities you take part in, up in the skies?
Paddle boarding is commonly associated as a holiday activity abroad, but with our guide, you can find out how to paddle board right here in the UK, in the New Forest National Park.
Many a visitor has approached Hurst Castle by walking to it along the famous shingle spit that thrusts out dramatically into the Solent. But now there’s a completely different way to arrive at and explore this ancient Tudor and Napoleonic fortress…on the water.
Until Saturday October 29 2016, The New Forest Paddle Sport Company are running special paddleboard and kayaking tours which allow visitors to approach the castle from a different angle - along the Keyhaven River.
Adventurers on the Castle Experience tour will spend two hours leisurely paddling or kayaking to Hurst Castle along the beautiful river, with its abundant bird life and salt marshes. Once there, they will be able to explore the ancient building which was built by Henry VII to defend the western reaches of the Solent from invasion by France.
The castle was used briefly to imprison King Charles I before he was taken to his execution in London and was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s, when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the highlights of any tour are the huge, 38-ton guns installed during this time. During World War II Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights and visitors can see a new D-Day exhibition explaining the castle’s role during this dramatic time, as well as enjoying breath-taking views of the Solent and the Needles.
The paddle tour visitors’ experience also includes lunch or afternoon tea and a return trip by ferry. Adults pay just £35, children (under 18’s must be accompanied by a parent or guardian) pay £25 and all tours are for a minimum of two or maximum of six people.
For more information, visit The New Forest Paddle Sport Company