Fascinating history

History of the New Forest

The New Forest has a long and proud history that dates back almost 1,000 years.  It takes its name from the latin nova foresta, which translates literally as ‘new hunting ground’, although hunting had been going on in the area long before this time.

Since its creation by King William the Conqueror in 1079 for the pursuit of the ‘beasts of the chase’ – red, roe and fallow deer and wild pig – many historical events and influences have shaped the landscape and cultural heritage of the New Forest.



Pony in the early morning

Medieval forest

Find out about Forest Law under William the Conqueror and how his son died in the New Forest.

Diver exploring the fenna

Coastal heritage

Discover our coastal heritage from wrecks to shipbuilding and the salt industry.

Troops at Brockenhurst

New Forest at war

Learn about the vital role the New Forest played in the war effort.


New Forest National Park Authority Fascinating history feed

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