A local’s guide to Ringwood

PUBLISHED: 00:00 22 June 2020

A programme of events in the Furlong centre’s open courtyard includes craft markets

A programme of events in the Furlong centre’s open courtyard includes craft markets

Photograph supplied by The Furlong centre

Don’t be deceived, this small market town is big on individuality and distinctly different, even quirky; Emma Caulton finds out more from the locals.

St Peter & St Pauls dominates Ringwoods Market PlaceSt Peter & St Pauls dominates Ringwoods Market Place

This seemingly traditional market town, on the western edge of the New Forest and the eastern bank of the River Avon, seems to attract the entrepreneurial.

There was Peter Austin who established Ringwood Brewery back in 1978, kick-starting Britain’s modern micro-brewery industry. More recently Calm Amongst the Chaos opened – a design studio converted from an old butcher’s shop, creating individual, relaxed Japanese-influenced clothing. Then there’s BH24 artisan sourdough bakery, opened by a London-trained baker returning to his roots. The latest is Love to b creating a local skincare revolution.

Julie Astley Weston, founder, Love to b

Love to b natural skincare began ten years ago when Julie, looking for a treatment for her daughter Bea’s eczema, started studying natural remedies. She realised that neither the cosmetic industry nor conventional medicine could help and that plant-based products rather than synthetic chemicals were the answer. After devising a simple natural skincare regime for her daughter, the improvement in Bea’s skin was almost immediately evident. This encouraged Julie to create a range of nurturing high performance skincare packed full of the finest plant-based ingredients, moisturising oils, cocoa and shea butters, vitamin rich fruit extracts and powerful blends of essential oils. Handmade in Ringwood, all products are sustainably packaged. After being approached by The Furlong’s managers who were looking for upbeat local businesses, Love to b successfully opened in The Furlong on 1 November 2019.

Julie’s local life

“Ringwood is very, very special. I would say that support and power of local is just huge in Ringwood. We’ve so much gratitude for the Ringwood community because they’ve seriously got behind Love to b as a family-run business. The locals are very loyal and supportive of local trade.”

Something special:

“A new community group has been set up on social media called ringwoodlocal.net run by Jim Stride [see below]. It’s being done from the roots up and building huge momentum with a lot of information about Ringwood. Everyone

is involved.”

Recommended business: 

“Artema: Yuval Salomi runs an upbeat, goal-centred accountancy business. He says,

‘I’m not just here to do your accounts, but to make your

business bigger, better, stronger’.”

Café: “Café Velo, for coffee, ride-outs, bike tours and bike maintenance, is highly thought of – they’ve got a very good following of cyclists who cycle throughout Hampshire.”

Jim Stride, managing director, PJS Solutions

Jim Stride originally moved to the Ringwood area in 1978 and now lives here with his wife, Claire, and two daughters. He runs his national business, PJS Solutions (which builds fire-rated acoustic partitions) from local premises and is passionate about all things Ringwood. He joined Ringwood and District Round Table in 1996, has been race director of Ringwood’s British Pedal Car Grand Prix, and has been involved in many community projects. These have included the Ringwood Loyalty Discount Scheme, and stepping in to arrange for Father Christmas to be flown in by helicopter, thrilling hundreds of children, when the Ringwood Chamber of Commerce couldn’t run a festive visit. Jim also runs ringwoodlocal.net, set up in response to the impact of lockdown on local businesses, to encourage locals and businesses to source services and products locally. It is a community-based project welcoming input from all for the greater good of Ringwood and district.

Jim’s local life

“Ringwood has an amazing community and hosts many events.”

A secret: “After the Battle of Sedgemoor in 1685, the Duke of Monmouth was arrested and held in a house in West Street, now named Monmouth House.”

Something quirky: “The British Pedal Car Grand Prix! The first took place in 1987 and it now attracts entrants from across the country and thousands of spectators. The race is a two-hour endurance race around the closed-off streets of Ringwood. The pedal cars are displayed in The Furlong for the morning with the race starting at 3pm. The emphasis is on having fun. The pedal cars vary greatly – some are aerodynamic competitive cars while others are built to amuse the crowds. Each car has a team of up to four pedallers who can change over as many times as they like, which makes pit lane viewing interesting!” The next event is scheduled for 11 July 2021.

Favourite pub: “The London Tavern. A pub is all about its landlords and staff, who attract great regular customers who develop a lovely atmosphere. The London Tavern has this off to a T! It should be up for pub of the entire UK; amazing food, live bands, brilliant quiz nights. My second home!”

Café: “Aroma. This happy, friendly café is like a community hub.”

Restaurant: “There are many great restaurants in Ringwood, but my go-to choice is the Curry Garden. I’ve been so many times I know the owners and staff and you get some fantastic recommendations for your menu choice.”

Shop: “Lamberts of Ringwood is more than 200 years old – a gunsmiths with a fantastic selection of country clothing and accessories.”

Evening out: “Koh Thai Tapas – always busy with lively atmosphere, attentive staff and great food.”

Local walk: “The New Forest – anywhere from Moyles Court towards Linwood. By pubs: go past The Alice Lisle and head up towards The Red Shoot. Anywhere around there is brilliant. If you feel more adventurous head on to High Corner Inn; you are now in dream land.”

Fitness classes: “Anytime Fitness: a friendly place with no judging and amazing facilities.”

Barber: “Lords hairdressing – I’ve been visiting since the age of 12.”

Local event: “Ringwood Carnival has to be the top event with two parades afternoon and evening. I always marshall for both; I see the parade pass four times!”

Day out: “Look round the Liberty Owl Raptor and Reptile Centre followed by lunch at one of Ringwood’s brilliant restaurants, for example Lovitaly. Then pop along to Ringwood Brewery for a tour and a browse of their shop. Finally, a walk beside the Avon Causeway.”

Charlie Reed, marketing manager, The Furlong

Charlie has worked for The Furlong since 2006. This year the shopping centre celebrates 29 years as a retail destination with its mix of top names, from Aga to Whistles, independents and cafés set around a pretty open courtyard which often hosts live music, craft markets and family and community events. The Furlong opened in what was previously the old cattle market with anchor store Waitrose in August 1991. Some of the original stores remain today, including Grants Estate Agents, Furlong Furniture and Toys of Ringwood. Despite bricks-and-mortar retail’s ongoing struggle, the centre continues to be successful, with its individual character, relaxed shopping experience and sense of a connected community, often referred to as the ‘Furlong Family’.

Charlie’s local life

“Ringwood is a charming, thriving market town with easy access to the natural treasures of the New Forest.”

Something special: “The life-size mare and foal sculpture in the centre of The Furlong, created by Priscilla Hann, represents Ringwood’s links with the New Forest.”

Favourite pub: “The Star Inn: it looks like a quintessential cosy English pub with log fires, but serves the most delicious and authentic Thai food!”

Café: “Boston Tea Party; for their good coffee and strong ethical stance.”

Shop: “Love to b – family run, handmade and ethically produced skincare, soap and more.”

Best evening out: “Framptons: great cocktails and live music evenings.”

Walk: “The Castleman Trail as it’s great for runners. “

Local gym: “David Lloyd – great instructors and an inclusive running club.”

Barber or hair salon: “Alan’s the Barbers – excellent, reasonably priced drop-in barber shop.”

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