Tag New Forest

Exbury Gardens

Exbury Gardens

Despite some light rain dampening proceedings, a total of ten Austin Healeys assembled at the Kimbridge Barn, just north of Romsey, on Wednesday 25th May for the first “Reasonable Weather Weekday” of the year.
After a chance to catch up with friends, some of whom we hadn’t seen since 2019, over tea or coffee and, for most, a slice of cake, we all departed for a drive of around 35 miles, with our final destination being Exbury Gardens & Steam Railway.
Our route took us via the villages of Awbridge and West Wellow into the eastern New Forest and the village of Bramshaw. We then continued south via Cadnam, passing The Woodlands Lodge Hotel (a regular meeting place for the New Forest Centre) before reaching the village of Ashurst. From here, we continued through the New Forest to Beaulieu. This section of the route saw more light rain, but several cars pressed on without putting their tops up, clearly undeterred by typical English summer weather!
From Beaulieu, the route continued through the village of Blackfield down to Lepe Beach, where we were able to look across The Solent to the Isle of Wight. From there we continued on to Exbury, where most of the cars arrived in a convoy that was led by Brian Loades. It seemed that everybody was happy to trust that Brian’s local knowledge of the route would get them to Exbury without the need to follow the route instructions that they had been given!
Clearly the weather had deterred many others from venturing out to the gardens as the car park was much emptier than expected. We all parked up together in the car park and headed into the gardens for a spot of lunch and a stroll around the gardens, which are always a mass of glorious colours at this
time of year with the rhododendrons and azaleas in bloom.

‘Drive It Day’ Austin Healey Style

‘Drive It Day’ Austin Healey Style

It seems no time at all since we had the national Drive It Day 2021 operating within the ‘COVID
Rule of 6’ and limited to only three cars.
So on Sunday April 24th 2022 it was a treat to see the Healeys appear in style for the NFAHC run.
We did wonder if our club members confidence had returned enough to come along and join in. But
in full sunshine, mostly with the roof down, the Healey engines could be heard roaring from the
distance as they turned up for start. It was good to see familiar faces and new members having a
good natter over morning coffee and a generous silver platter of pastries provided by Le Chateau at
Eighteen cars were parked in a very orderly, disciplined fashion considering no marshalling took
place! There were 16 Healeys, including Healey 3000s, 100s and a smart red Sprite.
In addition we had an interesting Panther belonging to John and Sue Morrissey. They had hoped
that their Healey would be ready to drive that day, but sadly for them it wasn’t. On the other hand,
new members Andy and Carol Smith had their fingers crossed that their newly acquired Healey
would be ready, and to their delight it was! Oh and of course…. long standing members Pete and
Alison brought their E-Type and had to put up with the normal banter, such as suggestions that it
should be parked up the road on Haydon Tyres Forecourt. (They take all the flack in good spirit!).
The route of the day was distributed and the run got underway. Les was without a navigator in his
Sprite and had cleverly used Google Maps to plot the route on his phone. Francis and Yvonne
Bugler decided not to risk doing the run as their 100 had got stuck in 4th gear during their journey
from home. So Francis became Kevin Bennett’s navigator, and Yvonne and Andrea took advantage
of the sun and stayed behind in the garden until lunchtime!

Sporting a Drive It Day Plate
Sporting a Drive It Day Plate

The route passed through Romsey into Wiltshire, through Whiteparish, Whaddon, Downton,
Landford, Bramshaw and back to Cadnam. It took about an hour and a half along a variety of A
roads, B roads and a few dodgy, narrow lanes, where avoiding potholes on the left edge of the
tarmac demanded a bit of skilful driving to protect those vulnerable exhausts! There was the chance
to enjoy quiet, country lanes as well as places where you could put your foot down and give the
engine chance to show its potential. We were pleased to hear members say that they enjoyed the
views along the way, and some said that they had not driven along a few of the roads before and
thereby enjoyed the experience.

Natter over Sunday lunch
Natter over Sunday lunch

Everyone made it back to Le Chateau without incident and managed to avoid the pigs, donkeys,
cows and New Forest ponies that frequent our local roads. Thirty two of us sat down to a lovely
roast meal with fresh vegetables, followed either by an excellent apple crumble with custard, or a
good variety of ice creams. Our thanks go to the chef and staff for looking after us so well.
We hope that many of you reading this enjoyed a successful Drive It Day event. It felt so good
being free on the road again after all the restrictions of the last two years.
And yes, you’ll be pleased to know that, despite the jammed gear box, the Healey managed to get
back home using only its 4th gear and no doubt will be soon nursed back to full fitness for more

New Forest Centre Barbeque 2015

New Forest Centre Barbeque 2015


For various reasons the New Forest Centre BBQ and Concours was held at Anderwood later than usual this year. However, we were again blessed with good weather on the day, despite periods of heavy rain before and after. 18 cars arrived, including 4 Frogeye and 2 “square” Sprites, 2 100, 4 100/6, 5 3000 and a Jensen Healey. Also a modern 4×4 and a rag-top arrived.

About 40 people attended, from as far afield as Blandford, Verwood, Winchester, Alresford and Fareham, including our esteemed editor who had recovered from a recent “1885” party for his 85th, and his grand-daughter’s 18th, birthdays.



A planned drive of 23 miles had been arranged for late morning, with observation questions along the route. My tulip diagram had one junction showing two exits ( ! ), but this did not cause most crews any problem, although there was plenty of “helpful advice” afterwards!

This event was won by Elizabeth Coomber and Robin, together with the black labrador “Millie” wearing her “Mutt-Muffs” in the back of the 3000 Mk3 Phase 1, scoring 86%. They were closely followed by Jim and Rowena Palmer, David Tofts and Jo, and Francis and Yvonne Bugler.

BBQ3By 1 pm the barbeque was hot, and was rapidly covered with sausages, steaks and fish.

The area became quiet for a while as everyone had their lunch, mainly taking to the shade, but the noise soon increased when Jim Finch distributed papers for the “Members Choice Concours” and everyone inspected the cars.

This was followed by tea and cakes, of which 7 were made by lady members. As usual, they were much appreciated and very BBQ5little was left over.

We then went through the results of the Observation Drive and Concours, of which the winners were; Sprite – Keith and Pauline Hall; 100 – David and Sheila Green (new members); 6 Cyl Roadster – Alan and Pauline Bromfield; 3000 Convertible – Elizabeth Coomber (these at left and right in picture of three); Jensen Healey – Jim and Rowena Palmer.

As you will have noticed, it was very much Elizabeth’s day. By 4 30, attendees were making their way home after enjoying a fine day in a quiet part of the New Forest.

White Dove Collectors Transport Show

White Dove Collectors Transport Show

The New Forest Centre supported the show this year, which was in aid of the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice, which supports cancer patients in many ways.

Phyllis Tuckwell (www.pth.org.uk) is the only Hospice Care service for adult patients, and their families, affected by cancer or other serious progressive illnesses (such as heart, lung or neurological diseases). All of West Surrey and part of North East Hampshire covering 550,000 residents, both at the Hospice, at the Beacon Centre and in the community are catered for.

wd2This was the 10th Year of the show, and around 400 vehicles/bikes came along to what was a superb day both in weather and atmosphere.

The New Forest Centre had been allocated a good space at the top of the field next to a large tree, which gave us some welcome shade from the very hot afternoon sun. We were situated next to ‘Bill Rawles Classic Cars’ stand, who was the main sponsor of the show. Our display of 7 cars was a good spread of the Austin Healey models, and received a lot of interest from the crowds.

wd3Entries for the show were divided into 13 classes for cars and 12 for motor bikes. Apparently it started as a bike show, and grew over the years. There were many stalls displayed around the field selling a variety of items – we also had a tombola and a ‘ring the bell’ among the many other attractions. As always with these events there were many food and drink stalls and of course cake stalls, so plenty of opportunities to indulge. Music was provided by a tribute ‘Elvis’ act which seemed to prove popular.

Most of the Healey club had taken a picnic and we were able to enjoy this either in the sun or in the shade of our ‘personal’ tree. Membership forms and old Rev-Counters were on offer, and we passed out a few through the day.

wd4Unbeknown to Jan & I, the judges had been round and placed a ‘2nd in Class 17 Pre 1960 Sports Car’ class on our BN1. This created a fair bit of leg pulling, but all in good humour. At 4pm we duly collected our plaque and lapel badge, and packed up to leave with the others.

Out of interest I checked out the winner of the class and discovered it was a ‘Riley Special’, and boy was it special. The owner Jim Rose, had built it himself being a car builder by trade.

He showed me a photographic record of the build, and advised that he had built cars for F1 Ron Dennis, and also owned a Ferrari in the USA where he spent a lot of his time.

I had no trouble bowing to the quality of the Riley, and it was a great pleasure to meet and shake the hand of the man who had built it.

Find the show at:-

Make your own high intensity rear flasher lamps

Make your own high intensity rear flasher lamps


Use the standard reflectors for the body and rim.

For the amber lens I used 16099 Amber lens from http://www.vehicle-wiring-products.eu/VWP-onlinestore/lighting/round.php  I turned them down on the lathe to fit the rim.

The light units are ordinary 12v MR11 domestic halogen down lighters (they are 20 watt so flash rate is about right) which you can get for less than £1.

Healey_flashers2010_0212(015)It is also necessary to bypass the Stop / flasher relay and run a new wire to the rear. Connect a new cable to both of the existing stop elements of the stop/tail lights; remove green and purple cable from terminal 5 on the brake / flasher relay under the bonnet and connect to the new cable. Connect the cable removed from the original stop elements of the stop/tail lights and connect to the new flashers. Provide earth connections to new lights.


You will need to fit other reflectors under the bumper.

Whilst I was at it I also carried out a halogen headlight conversion using headlights with built in side lights which meant I could replace the front side light bulb holders with a single 21w bulb holder fitted with an amber colour bulb inside the clear lens. Vehicle Wiring Products also do the headlights.