Farm in mist. Credit Richard Branch

The conservation of the New Forest, its cultural heritage and wildlife, depends to a very large extent on sympathetic land management by farmers and landowners.

Since the time of the earliest prehistoric forest settlements, agriculture has been the basis of the rural economy and way of life on the more fertile land surrounding the heathland, valley mires and pasture woodlands, locally known as the open forest.

Much of the fertile area was enclosed as private farmland at the time the Royal forest was formed, and many of the fields still show typical medieval boundary patterns.

The farming economy remains the major land use in the National Park, and has retained close links with the central open forest which is used by commoners to graze their stock.

If you manage land in and around the New Forest and Avon Valley there is a free, independent advice service for you called the Land Advice Service.

  1. Farmland (you are here)
  2. Farming facts


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