New Forest camping in the rain

In a spirit of optimism last February I booked a May half-term school holiday camping trip to the New Forest and even persuaded friends (first time campers, also non-drivers) to come along too. We'd had so much rain during the winter I reckoned that surely we'd have a dry, sunny spring. Of course I was wrong and after one of the coldest wettest months of May in living memory (and with night times still chilly) we packed tents and too many bags, and set off to catch the train to Ashurst in New Forest.

We lasted only three days (and two nights) of the planned four, fearing deepening puddles around our tents would soon see us swimming in the middle of the pitch. The damp air brought plentiful midges (and bites) at night, but we had wonderful times during the day nevertheless. 

We took walks through the lush green forest with leaves fluorescent shades of green under rapidly changing cloudy skies; had free roaming ponies visit our tent; listened to owls hooting in the middle of the night and heard an amazing dawn chorus. At our wettest we took refuge in nearby family-friendly pubs – the huge New Forest pub was just a short wet walk (paddle?) across the field outside our campsite and The Happy Cheese five minutes further away.

I'd love to go camping in the forest again (my daughter loved it apart from the midges) but will perhaps wait for warmer sunnier weather next time...