Our Bench - New Forest Accessible Accommodation

Coronavirus Update

Due to the unpresidented situation in the UK - we wanted to clarify our situation and explain how we are working. We are currently following Goverment Guidelines in the UK we are still open (these guidelines were last updated in May 2020, see screen shot below) - as long as our guests full into the criteria below.  We receive information only by listening to the Government briefings and through following the guidelines they publish and therefore need to highlight that we are responding as quickly as we can to a changing situation and may be unable to answer all your questions.

We are hoping there will be an update and that we will be able to be fully open to everyone from July - as that is when the hospitality industry should open but we are awaiting more guidance. We will update this page with any details we recieve.

The current guidelines can be found here for our guests. https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus.  

We encourage you to get in touch if you need to cancel your booking, by cancelling your booking - we will be unable to return your deposit, as we do have essential costs we have to cover (credit card fees, web site fees, standing charges for services etc) but we will be happy to offer you a discount off a future holiday once the situation has resolved.

We have paid our deposit and the balance is now due

We know just how important it is to have something to look forward too, but we do not know when the restrictions will be lifted. We are offering you two options at this stage:

  1. The opportunity at this stage to cancel your booking as your circumstances may mean that you are unable to travel, we will keep your deposit as this is non returnable and will help us ensure we can cover some of our running costs, but we would be delighted to offer you a discount off a future booking, some of our guests have conditions which mean they are "sheltering" but we know others that this restriction does not apply.
  2. The opportunity to delay your balance payment until the guidance restrictions change, or your booking has past (which ever is sooner). Full payment will be due prior to your arrival, and within 12 hours of any new opening guidance. The  cottage will be available for your stay. If in the meantime we are contacted by someone wanting the same dates, then we will contact you and expect confirmation and payment that you would like to continue with the booking within 12 hours. 
We have fully paid for our holiday

If you have fully paid with us after  March 23rd 2020 when the Goverment Guidelines for business were implemented then you have paid the balance at your own risk. We will ensure the cottage is ready for your arrival at any point during your booked period. We are assuming you are meeting the guidelines above and are within the cateogries that we are allowed to be open for. We will return any cleaning deposit after the booked period.

  • If you cancel with more than 8 weeks notice (for your fully paid holiday) and your booking has not already been moved then we will refund you less your deposit.

If you have fully paid before March 23rd 2020 - then please contact us as soon as possible. If there is more than 8 weeks till the start of your holiday then the opportunity at this stage is to:

  1. To postpone your booking  to later in 2020. We feel it is really important to have something to look forward to, any increase in balance wll be payable but holiday must be taken by the end of 2020.
  2. To cancel your holiday, (if is has not already been moved) - we will keep your deposit as this is non returnable and will help us ensure we can cover some of our running costs, but we would be delighted to offer you a discount off a future booking,

If there is less than 8 weeks till your holiday starts we will assume that your stay is within the requirements specified by the Government.

Our booking is through a 3rd party

We have booked through a 3rd party agent - we have to deal with that company direct and the terms they have set. At this stage we are struggling to get any clarification from some of these agents whom have placed their staff on leave. We are trying to communicate directly with them.  Our terms are with them, and we assume they will be notifying us of their booking decisions.  

Last Updated March 2020

New Bookings

You are able to book contact free through our website. We are currently are only taking direct bookings only - if you are a 3rd party agent please contact us vis email.
Please note our terms and conditions have been updated.


When you arrive

We have always offered a keylock entry - so it is essential now that you make sure you have your key code, we have added hand gel nearby ready for you to use. Please let us know when you have arrived, and we will still pop by and say hello - but we will be respecting social distancing - we will wear masks on request (for some we know this is a barrier to communication) and we will happily answer any questions about your stay. 

During your stay

During you stay if you show any sign of infection whilst staying with us, you must return home as soon as possible and notify us of the potential risk - as you could be putting other guests and ourselves at risk.

If any guidelines change during your stay, and we become aware of them, then we will be contacting you and may request you leave early depending on the information received. We appreciate your understanding and co-operation at this unprecedent time.

In all properties we have included extra soap and clearning supplies. There is a basic first aid kit.  

If you are staying in Little Bench or Bench Cottage please be aware of social distancing when using your front door, the shared laundry area and garden.  There are lots of reminders around the cottages and as you enter along with hand gel available for any visitors.

When you depart

We ask now that you send us a text on departure - letting us know that you have vacated the property, we will ask that you turn the heating down, and open all the windows that are not visible from the road, then lock up as normal and leave your key in the key safe. This is to ensure the property is aired fully before the next set of guests, and to help reduce any risks to ourselves.  

We ask that you wipe down all surfaces on departure to reduce the risks for ourselves, in addition to our standard terms where we have always requested you leave the cottage as you would like to find it.

If you become ill or anyone if your party does with suspected Covid-19 within 14 days of your departure, it is your duty of care to let us know, as soon as possible.  

Cleaning between guests.

Guest's whom have stayed with us before will know that the cottages have always been cleaned ready for your arrival. We have always cleaned the cottages thoroughly, ready for the next guests arrival.  This has always included comprehensively cleaning of kitchens and bathrooms, wiping all cupboards, vacuming and floor washing as well as cleaning and tidying any shared spaces. .We are waiting Government guideance on any specifics - but now more that ever it is helpful for us if we have your estimated arrival time - we state after 3pm, but if you are arriving later or delaying for a day, please let us know as we can ensure the property is aired for longer.

We have added extra cleaning equipment - we now have specialist a carpet cleaner and a steam cleaner - so that we can ensure that the soft furnishings can be cleaned too.

Due to the additional work - lawns may not be mowed and gardening maintained on changever days so we may be doing this during your stay, but we will be maintaining social distancing as we work.

Is the New Forest Open

The New Forest is following the same guidelines as the rest of the England - I will be continuely updating this section so please refresh it for the latest details.

  • The New Forest National Park Car Parks are open. For the latest information as it can change: New Forest Car Parks
  • The Coastal Car Parks are open - contactless payment only. You need to download the Ringo app.
  • Public toilets - All NFDC and Forestry England public toilets will remain closed to support the aim of reducing the spread of the disease.
Unique Covid-19 Services and Eating Out - Details subject to change.

During the current situation a number of new opportunities and visits have appeared online to enable you to enjoy the New Forest and your stay at Our Bench differently - most of these link to facebook pages, and the information is subject to change.

  • Pennington - in our local village the Tesco Metro and Post Office is open, the chemist is open and the fish and chip is open - cash only, order and wait for your meal. At Foxpond the chinese, indian and fish and chip shops are open, Dominos pizza also delivery.   
  • Lymington - there are lots of shops closed and the market is not currently running - the same restrictions apply as the rest of the county. The local shops can accommodate most of our day to day needs. 
  • Waitrose in Lymington offer a click and collection shop - a great way to purchase your food, and have it ready for collection when you get here.
  • #DineInDeluxe - a local catering company will come and cook a 3 course meal on your driveway, service is with social distancing measures and they do the washing up - price from £45 a head, advance booking required.
  • Forest Tandoori - collection only - indian takeaway.
  • Naked Pantry - reduced packaging grocery store - delivers to Pennington on Fridays - min order £25
  • W Bellows Fruit and Veg - delivers to Pennington on a Saturday. 
  • Pennington Pharmacy - local chemist within walking distance
  • St Marks Church - new church service broadcast every Sunday on their You Tube Channel.
  • Fish and Chips in the Square - open as usual - cash.
  • Berrys Bakery - Cakes, Traybakes, scones - order over the phone and local collection
  • Lemana Coffee and Kitchen - home delivery service  - essential and cooked meals
  • The Laughing Chef - check out their facebook page - they deliver Sushi to the door, very popular, homemade Sushi, advance booking is required and limited delivery days.
  • South Lawn Hotel - Drive through burger bar - we have never had a drive through in the New Forest, this is on the way to Milford on Sea so you can drive through and then take your takeway to the seafront at Milford to eat with a view.
  • Rosie Lea at Brockenhurst is a tea room and bakery and they are now offering a weekend takeaway menu - ideal for picnics with quiche, sandqhichs, cream teas etc.
  • And more businesses are being added to this list on  Lymington.com - please support our New Forest businesses during your stay.
  • Lymington's shops open up from the 15th June - as per the Governement Guidelines.
Attractions and places to visit
  • Highcliffe Beach and the Cliffhanger - the Cliffhanger Cafe at Highcliffe a lovely accessible walk on the cliff top or down to the sea and then their cafe is open for takeway coffee, ice cream and freshly made pizza - a fantastic treat for lunch.
  • Lepe Country Park and other Hampshire Country Parks are now open - the toilets are open too - including the accessible loo's.
  • New Forest Adventure Golf - opening details on their web site - currently open for family groups only and must be prebooked.
  • Bucklers Hard - open spaces are now open, enjoy the quiet street, views of Beaulieu River and ice cream - toilets available.
  • Sculpture by the Lakes - these delightful gardens are due to reopen on the 3rd of June - with a takeaway cafe and seating spread out around their gardens.

Last Updated: 27th May 2020