What’s on offer in the village of Sway
- Credit: Archant
On the fringes of the New Forest National Park, the village of Sway has a bustling community and an annual carnival that attracts visitors from across the Forest, as Claire Pitcher discovered
Making the headlines
The village is best known for Sway Tower, which hit the local headlines in July last year. Known as Peterson’s Folly, built in the 17th century by the eccentric Judge Peterson, the 66m tall tower is built entirely of concrete. It went up for sale for over £2million. The marketing details boasted of its indoor pool, rooms spread out over 14 floors and a roof terrace with panoramic views across the forest.
To take home
Just a short drive down the B3055 is Danestream Farm Shop. Owned by Paul Brolan for the last 10 years he stocks everything from locally reared meat to Young’s Honey and cakes and bread are all freshly baked in the in-store bakery. There are even delicious cheeses from Lyburn. Go online to www.danestreamfarmshop.co.uk.
Grabbing a bite
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Sway Deli and Coffee Shop can be found on Middle Road in the village. There’s a lovely outside seating area for the summer months. On the menu are delicious breakfasts, burgers, crab sandwiches and Purbeck ice cream. Or you could just sample their tasty cakes and coffee. Afterwards take a look around the deli for local produce. The Silver Hind on Station Road sits at number one on Trip Advisor as the best restaurant in the village. On the menu you can find slow braised pork belly, fish ‘n’ chips and Moroccan spiced vegetable terrine among other delights. Book a table on 01590 683900. The Hare and Hounds (01590 682404) and The Plough Inn (01425 610185) also rate well with four out of five stars.
Woodturner Graham Turner moved to Sway in 2004 and worked as a business analyst for five years until he was made redundant. He took this as an opportunity to change direction and began working part time in Sway selling woodburners. “Then, in 2010, I brought a lathe and Joined Christchurch Wood Turning Society. I’d always been interested in wood and woodturning but working full time with a lot of work travel all over Europe and the USA never gave me the spare time to get started.
“Then in 2009 my wife brought me a chainsaw and we converted the house to run on wood, so started putting interesting bits of wood aside in the shed. This collection and knowledge of wood has expanded over the years, so I have a few tons of wood seasoning for woodturning and another pile to keep the house warm.
“For the first few years turning was purely a hobby but I did do a few local craft fairs selling pieces I had made. In early 2013 I started teaching a few friends and some new members of Christchurch Wood Turning Society. The turning point was in 2014 as Axminister Tools had pulled out of sponsorship of a furniture making competition run by the New Forest Trust at the New Forest Show. The Trust invited the society to fill the hole left by Axminster tools and asked us to exhibit. I organised this and promoted the society as well as teaching wood turning – there was lots of interest.”
In 2015 Graham stopped working at New Forest Wood Burning Centre and focused on woodturning full time: “I enjoy teaching and meeting different people. All ages can learn to turn, I have taught people from eight to over 80.”
“Sway is a very active, lived-in village with lots of clubs and societies for all age groups,” Graham says. “It’s also famous for its unusual concrete tower which is 66m tall. It’s believed to be the first example of a tall concrete structure in the UK.
“It’s wonderful living close to the New Forest which is great for walking, cycling, camping and other activities. There’s nothing nicer than being among the trees, ponies, cattle, deer and at times pigs. I love getting out into the Forest on my bike on a Sunday morning. I’ve also become a Sway Parish Councillor and trustee of the village hall. It’s good to put something back into society.”
Dates for your diary
Sway holds a great Open Gardens event every two years, with the next one planned in June. The Open Gardens often raise over £10,000 for Oakhaven Hospice near Lymington.
The New Forest Marathon passes through the village too, so go along to watch on September 10 or sign up at www.newforestmarathon.co.uk.
Last but not least, there is Sway Carnival week from June 30 to July 9. See the website at www.swayvillage.co.uk/carnival.
Did you know?
The popular children’s novel ‘The Children of the New Forest’ is set in the countryside surrounding Sway. It was published in 1847 and written by Frederick Marryat. Set in the time of the English Civil War, the story follows the lives of the four Beverley children who are orphaned during the war and hide from the Roundheads in the New Forest where they learn to live off the land. The BBC has adapted the novel four times for television in 1955, 1964, 1977 and 1998.