The unique New Forest
The New Forest has a long and proud history that dates back almost 1,000 years.
Since its creation by William the Conqueror in 1079 for the pursuit of the ‘beasts of the chase’ (wild deer and pigs) many historical events have shaped the Forest’s landscape, cultural heritage and sense of identity.
The role of the commoners who turn out animals to graze the open Forest has been central to this ongoing process.
Today the New Forest National Park has a wonderful mosaic of internationally recognised habitats
including lowland wet and dry heaths, mires and bogs, ancient pasture woodland, coniferous plantations, acid grasslands, mixed farmland and a wide range of coastal habitats.
This combination of natural environments is unmatched in western Europe.
The landscape is beautiful, tranquil, rare and fragile: shaped by people, by history and by the animals that still graze it today.
The New Forest also attracts many people, both local and from further afield, to enjoy outdoor recreation, especially walking, cycling, horse riding and camping.