‘Uncover the secrets of our Bombay Sapphire gin on the site of a former paper mill in the Hampshire countryside. Learn about the rare production processes used to make our world-famous gin and discover the sustainable measures and ecology of the conservation area that we call our home.’
Had a road trip down to Lavestoke in Hampshire for a gin tasting experience the other day. Set on the site of an old paper mill (it used to manufacture all our paper money before it went over to a mainly plastic content) the location was historic.It stood beside the River Test; a chalk river bustling with flora and fauna.
We learnt about the gin making process and had a few gin cocktails throughout the tour. There were two beautiful green houses showcasing the botanicals used in the gin making; one housing tropical plants and one Mediterranean. Both were welcome for a quick warm up on a chilly autumn morning.
Pricey at £70 for two tickets but worth it for the beautiful setting and informative tour.
There are lots of waymarked walks and trails on the Forest, all starting at different car parks. Routes are circular. We started with the Wilverley Wander walk, from one of several carparks in that area. The trail winds through diverse and working woodland and was about 4.5K over gravel paths.
Next stop was the Heritage Centre, where we learnt about the Forest, it’s management and history.
Time for another walk and this was a short 0.25 mile stroll to the Knightwood Oak- one of the most famous trees in the New Forest, believed to have been planted before 1600.
There was also the much younger (1979) Queen’s Oak…
Last stop of the day- it is December and the light was fading- was the Blackwater Arboretum Trail 0.75 km, past tree species from around the world.
It was a wet, cold December day, but we discovered a winter Forest. A Forest resting. Hibernation and decay was the theme, brown and grey the predominant colours. Nevertheless beautiful in a different way- rugged and raw. We had a great day!