TRAVEL: The joy of camping, cycling in Hampshire, England

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The Needles are a well-known rock formation on the Isle of Wight, located in the United Kingdom. Many travelers gather to see the beautiful blue-green waters and white-faced cliffs. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Of all the places to visit in the United Kingdom, few areas can top the cliffs and beaches of England.

Roundhill Campsite, located in the county of Hampshire, includes more than just great access to the nearby beach and fantastic camping spots. You’ll also find wild ponies that love to eat your breakfast.

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A local wild pony decides that a fellow camper's breakfast was its own. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)|

My sister Paige, her husband Ryan and I all began our weekend adventure at Roundhill Campsite on Friday night, and around 10 a.m. the next day, we started off on our bicycles to the historical village of Buckler’s Hard.

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Due to the old buildings and dirt roads, Buckler's Hard provides travelers with a sense of walking into the past. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Buckler’s Hard is a local attraction, not only for tourists but also for families to get away and see the historical buildings. It also features a river tour to see some of the Beaulieu River.

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A woman and her dog read a sign in Buckler's Hard. The village was created due to its perfect location for shipbuilding on the Beaulieu River. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Buckler’s Hard was once named Montagu Town after the man who built it, the second Duke of Montagu. It was intended to be a town for building ships so England could trade with the West Indies, according to the town museum.

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A man stands outside the entrance to the small museum explaining the history of Buckler's Hard. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The town was known for the ships it built with the abundant timber provided by the forrest surrounding the docks, creatively named the New Forest.

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A view of Buckler's Hard from a boat on the Beaulieu River. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Buckler’s Hard built many notable Navy vessels for the British Navy in the early 18th century. Some of the vessels they made include the HMS Euryalus, HMS Swiftsure and the HMS Agamemnon.

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Buckler's Hard has many old buildings for tourists to see and explore. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The town’s river tours provide a vista of the docks from the river, and there’s also a bar and café where visitors can relax near the banks.

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The Yachtsman's Bar is located near the Beaulieu River in Buckler's Hard. Tourists can grab a bite to eat and a pint to drink. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The river was terrific after seven miles of cycling to get to Buckler’s Hard because the breeze was coming off of the brine water up on top of the boat. We also saw the Isle of Wight from a distance.

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Buckler's Hard provides river tours on the Beaulieu River. Historically named Montagu Town after the second Duke of Montagu, the village was created due to its perfect location for shipbuilding on the Beaulieu River. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

Seeing the village from the river was beautiful. I had a view of the historic shipbuilding docks as well as where they used to cast the newly built ships into the river.

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A model of an old ship can be seen through the window of this brick building in Buckler's Hard. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

After Buckler’s Hard, we decided to travel to the Isle of Wight after viewing it from the Beaulieu River. It was a quick ferry ride over to the island where we found a restaurant named Off the Rails, located on an old train line that ran through the area.

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A flock of ducks gather around a waitress at Off the Rails as she tosses crumbs to the eager "customers." (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

After Off the Rails, we cycled to the famous chalk cliffs of the Needles.

On the way there, we ran into some cattle along the side of the road; they were eating away at the lush ditches provided by the island.

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Many places in the United Kingdom allow livestock to roam as long as they return home during the night. This pair of cattle chose a lush ditch to munch on as we rode by on our bicycles. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

We then reached the famous Needles, one of England’s most iconic rock formations. It was every bit as beautiful as I imagined it to be.

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The Needles are a well-known rock formation on the Isle of Wight, located in the United Kingdom. Many travelers gather to see the beautiful blue-green waters and white-faced cliffs. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The vista speaks for itself, but along this beautiful bay, the Needles Park provides a lift down to the beach for visitors.

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The Needles Park provides a ski lift down to the beach where tourists can reach the water. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

There is also a stairway down to the beach, which of course is the route I chose to take even though I had just cycled five miles uphill.

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There are many ways to get down to sea level at the Needles, including a dirt path. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

After the Needles, we returned to our campsite for the night. I slept quite soundly after 35 miles of cycling; you could say I was exhausted.

The next morning, we awoke again to wild ponies and donkeys quietly passing through looking for tasty breakfast leftovers. Luckily, we escaped their hungry mouths.

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A wild pony stands attentively near a collection of tents and parked cars at Roundhill Campsite. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)
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At Roundhill Campsite, it is common to see wild ponies, donkeys and cattle roaming throughout. (Olivia Bergmeier | Collegian Media Group)

The weekend concluded with a train ride back to Gravesend, where my sister lives near London. Overall, the trip through Hampshire was lovely and relaxing due to the natural simplicity of camping and cycling wherever we wanted to go.

I write this as I sit in Estonia, where my next adventure — 10 days of backpacking through Estonia, Finland and Sweden — is just beginning.

Olivia Bergmeier is a sophomore in journalism and mass communications. The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.

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