The New Forest
who live here will tell you that The New Forest is a lively, working landscape with many secrets to discover. The only way
to reveal The New Forest’s hidden gems and truly appreciate the sights, sounds and smells of the forest is to get out
there and explore. Try to escape from the confines of the car and head out on foot, bicycle or on horseback to get a more
intimate feel of the forest, its coast and villages.
The New Forest
is a genuine walker's paradise with many circular and linear routes. There are many picnic and toilet facilities, all
of which are carefully sited to allow visitors safe and easy access to a variety of forest landscapes. All year round there
are guided walks where local experts will tell you about the history, geology, wildlife and folklore beneath your feet. You
explore the forest on a ranger-led New Forest event. The New Forest is a fantastic place for cycling with miles
and miles of traffic free tracks leading you right into the heart of the forest with few hills to worry about
The forest is a living
and working place where ponies and cattle freely graze the land and help to keep the patchwork of different habitats intact.
Deeper in the forest, wild deer browse beneath canopies of mighty oak and beech – natural scenes unchanged by the modern
The open heaths of The New Forest are ideal basking grounds for
adders and grass snakes, and the many pools dotted around the area make ideal conditions for frogs, toads and lizards. All
of these can be seen at The New Forest Reptile Centre, which also offers woodland trails.
There are dozens of events throughout the year to help you get close to nature – from Dawn Chorus
Walks to Deer Watches.
Try exploring the forest at different times of
year and at different times of day. The forest is most atmospheric at dusk – you also stand the best chance of seeing
deer, bats and nightjars
History & Culture:
There can be few other places in England where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged.
In 1079 when William The Conqueror named the area his ‘new hunting forest’, little could he imagine that nearly
1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ would still retain its mystery and romance.
The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness
heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners – literally the judges, stockmen
and land users of the forest.
As well as the ancient systems of managing
the forest, man has left his mark on The New Forest in many other ways. Learn about the forest's history and archaeology
at our many museums and Heritage Centres. From stately homes such as Beaulieu to the Roman Villa at Rockbourne, The New Forest
has it all.
You can visit historic villages such as Buckler's Hard,
where ships for Nelson's fleet were built, using the mighty oaks from the forest. Another example of how man has harnessed
nature is at Britain's only surviving tidal mill, Eling Tide Mill.