New Forest National Park

New Forest National Park

National Park · England, United Kingdom


The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in the heavily populated south east of England. It covers southwest Hampshire and extends into southeast Wiltshire and towards east Dorset. The name also refers to the New Forest National Park which has similar boundaries.

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NEW FOREST DAYTRIP — WHY IT'S GREAT: Don’t be fooled by the “new” in the name: William the Conqueror created the woodlands to hunt after his successful invasion in the 11th century. A thousand or so years later, it’s a nature retreat, with more than 5,000 wild ponies roaming freely around the national park, making it a memorable place to go on a hike.
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Contrary to its name, the New Forest is actually not very new at all. Created as William the Conqueror’s hunting ground and featured in the Domesday Book, the New Forest is one of the largest remaining patches of pasture land, heathland and forest in southern England. Covering some 300 square miles – it stretches from the Solent all the way up to Salisbury – it’s a beguiling, wild tapestry of woodland, heath and shoreline.
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The New Forest is surprisingly old: William the Conqueror named it when he used to hunt deer and wild pigs here nearly 1,000 years ago. Confusingly, this picturesque corner of southern England isn’t completely covered in woodland either – it also has acres of purple-flecked heathland and miles of pebbly, marshy coast. The terrain is gentle, and you’re guaranteed a sighting of its free-roaming ponies and horses.
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The New Forest – made up of heathland, woodland, bogs, farmland and coastline – is neither new, nor totally forest. Don’t be surprised to see ponies, cattle or donkeys stroll casually into the road. They roam free in the Forest, let loose by commoners, who are local landowners with the right to allow their livestock to graze in the national park.
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