An Allbirds Achievable Adventure - 2 Days in The New Forest
A paid partnership with Allbirds.
Last weekend we teamed up with sustainable sneaker gurus Allbirds for a two day Achievable adventure. Equipped with a pair of Tree Runners each we felt it made perfect sense to head to the New Forest in Hampshire to try the trainers in their natural habitat.
The New Forest National Park is one of the UK’s 15 National Parks and is made up of 566km squared of strangely beautiful wild heathland and ancient forests. Depending on where you set off from it is only an hour and a half from London, making it the perfect entry level destination for anyone looking for a weekend adventure.
The Tree Runners:
Partnering with Allbirds for this adventure was an easy choice for us. Their approach to sustainability grabbed our attention late last year when a mate was waxing lyrical about a podcast focusing on the San Fran brand. From their factories and shipping methods to their packaging (90% recyclable) Allbirds focus on making ‘better things in a better way’ with less waste and pollution throughout their entire production process. Not a bad set of principles to build company on don’t you think? And that’s before we’ve even mention the materials… oh the materials! The Tree Runner’s upper are made from Eucalyptus tree fibre that not only looks slick but is the single most comfortable shoe we have ever tried on and their laces are made from recycled plastic bottles.
With all our Achievable Adventures we aim to fit them around 9-5 life and so left London at 7pm. It is important to note however that at this time you will hit traffic as the weekly London mass exodus is in full swing, if you can’t bare the idea of this we recommend getting up really early morning Saturday and cruising down on nice empty roads.
Leaving from West London and factoring in a crucial service station snack stop we reached our destination of Beaulieu in 1 hour 45, which meant we were in time to watch the sunset over the village lake - dreamy start!
Note: If you do not have access to a car there are good train links from Clapham Junction that will get you to the New Forest area in around an hour.
Friday night we ate at Monty’s Inn in the heart of Beaulieu village - tasty food, reasonably priced - make sure you call ahead to book as gets busy at the weekends.
A wild walk across the heathland to start the day. There are not many places in the UK that share the same aesthetic as the New Forest - miles of flat heathland alongside tall forests with indigenous horses, ponies and cows roaming free across landscape. The feeling of freedom that comes from being surrounded by untamed nature hits you with immediate effect and sets walks across the rugged New Forest apart from other parts of the UK. What’s more the park’s size means that a slight deviation from the ‘obvious’ walkways results in you finding yourself almost entirely alone very quickly with only the wild for company.
For us this was the perfect start to the day, clearing our heads and blasting the hectic hustle of London out of our systems with immediate effect - we were in adventure mode!
The Eastend Arms - good pub grub, reasonably priced.
After lunch we headed to Calshot Velodrome. Not a conventional stop on a New Forest itinerary but well worth the visit in our opinion. Calshot is the oldest velodrome in Britain and there is something very hypnotic about watching people whizz round and round the track. Even if people aren’t cycling when you’re there the structure itself is pretty impressive. The centre also includes a climbing wall and dry ski slop for those who fancy honing their skills.
Just around the corner is Calshot beach which is lined with lots of colourful beach huts. Great for an afternoon stroll or even a good spot for a bbq if you’re lucky with the weather.
Flame grilled on an open fire.
Dinner was not just about eating it was an event! We cooked it on a very basic but brilliant £25 wood BBQ we bought at Homebase - cooking this way in the long summer evenings has quickly become one of our favourite activities, it allows us to enjoy every last drop of evening light whilst also indulging our inner Bear Grylls.
Our tip is to take your time over the process, buy a bottle of wine, find a sunny spot and turn it into an activity. The process of gathering the wood, the challenge of building a fire and skill of successfully cooking a feast on it is extremely satisfying and makes sitting down to enjoy the food all the more rewarding.
We marinated some fresh cod and cooked it alongside fresh local asparagus, tomatoes and sweetcorn. The wood fire gives the whole meal a deliciously deep smoked flavour and washed down with some wine is a cheap and extremely cheerful combo.
Beach time. The New Forest runs all the way along a stretch of England’s south coast and therefore boasts a variety of easy to get to stone beaches. First we popped down to Eastend Beach, a small pebble beach near Beaulieu where the low tide reveals a intricate network of tidal islands that can be explored by kayak. The beach has beautiful views of the Isle of White and it’s curved nature means it is sheltered from the wind. This is a lovely little spot, if you’re in the area and have time we would highly recommend a quick 20 minute stroll along it and if you’re feeling brave maybe even a quick dip!
We next moved on to Hurst beach at Milford-on-Sea. A much bigger affair then Eastend, Hurst spit is a mile long shingle bank that leads to Hurst Castle. The mid 16thC castle was one of the Solents key defences, sitting on the narrowest divide between mainland Uk and The Isle of White, it is intriguingly positioned. The walk to the Castle is pretty unique, on the one side you have very clear views of the neighbouring white island with it’s famous Needles and on the other a view across the vast Keyhaven mudflats. The pebble beach makes this walk a slow one so make sure you leave enough time, however if you don’t fancy the return leg you can hop on a ferry boat back from the castle, saving time and or weary legs!
Buckler’s Hard - waterfront food with views on the small harbour. Great little spot with decent enough food. Ideal pint territory. Pudding consisted of a road side stop at a strawberry seller’s stand. Early summer is the best time to buy fresh local strawberries and the stands can be found at road sides in the area.
After lunch we had an hour or so before we needed to leave back to London to avoid the mad rush. We had loved walking through the forest so much on the Saturday that we decided we wanted to head back, get a little lost and meet some of the local wildlife. There are over 3000 horses and ponies roaming free across New Forest and so walking through the we often had close encounters with some very bold horses.
The Achievable Adventure in numbers:
15 miles walked
3 Forests navigated
2 flame grilled BBQ feasts
3 new horse friends
4kg of local strawberries consumed
2 beaches explored
4 very comfortable feet