Photo By Peter Watts
New Forest (Crockford Clump in New Forest)

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New Forest - New Forest visitor guide showing a virtual tour of 'New Forest' linked to an interactive map with local and travel information. 360° panoramas from Hampshire.

The New Forest is a very popular travel destination in south England, covering nearly 140,000 acres of ancient woodland, heather-covered heath, wide lawns, boggy mires, gentle farmland, coastal saltmarsh and mudflats and numerous villages in Hampshire and Wiltshire. The New Forest is the largest remaining area of lowland heath in Europe

Thousands of visitors come to the New Forest every year, either on day trips or to stay in one of the various camp sites, hotels, hostels, bed and breakfast (B&B) places scattered throughout the forest and the villages. Popular activities include horse riding, walking, cycling, fishing and camping. Nearby are various beaches along the south coast. During the summer months, the New Forest is at risk of fire.

New Forest - History

The New Forest is not particularly new, being set aside by William the Conqueror more than 900 years ago for hunting. The area was occupied long before that and scattered throughout the New Forest are around 250 round barrows (like the Moyles Court Bowl Barrow), 150 scheduled ancient monuments and other sites.

Prior to William, the forest was known as 'Great Ytene Forest' after the Jutes Anglo Saxons who lived here. It is first mentioned as 'Nova Foresta' (New Forest) in the 1086 Doomsday Book. In William's time, hunting in the New Forest was a popular pass time, but not without casualties. Two of William's sons died here, Prince Richard in 1081 and King William II (William Rufus) in 1100. The death of Rufus is marked by the Rufus Stone.

By the 17th century the 'commoners' had various grazing rights, and in the 18th century the New Forest became an important source of timber used for shipbuilding, used by various yards like Bucklers Hard. Commoners rights for grazing are still in force today.

In 1971 the New Forest was declared a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). It became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999 and a National Park in 2005.

New Forest - Attractions

The New Forest is full of wildlife and beautiful scenery, making it a popular destination for day visitors and longer stays throughout the year. Every season brings to life new aspects of the forest, landscape and wildlife. Among the popular attractions and places are:
  • New Forest Ponies - wandering freely throughout the New Forest, unafraid of people and often found standing in the middle of the roads.
  • Rufus Stone - marking the death by an arrow on a hunting trip in 1100.
  • Knightwood Oak - one of the oldest and larges trees in the New Forest.
  • Moyles Court with a Ford, large sand pit, Bowl Barrow and walking paths onto heathland.
  • Sir Walter Tyrell Inn - named after Walter Tyrell who shot King Rufus.
  • Bucklers Hard - old, naval ship building yard on the Beaulieu River.
  • Beaulieu - picturesque village famous for the Beaulieu National Motor Museum, Palace House and grounds and the partially ruined Beaulieu Abbey.
  • Lyndhurst - town at the heart of the New Forest with Church of St Michael and All Angels where Alice Liddell, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll's 'Alice' is buried.
  • Walking, Horse Riding and Cycling - the New Forest contains countless paths and car parks providing extensive opportunities for various outdoor pursuits.
  • Coastline - the New Forest coast is 26 miles long, much of it walkable.
  • Wildlife - the New Forest many important habitats for birds, reptiles and all kinds of other animals. All three British snakes are found here and 5 different species of deer.

New Forest - Towns and Villages

Within the New Forest area are several ancient, picturesque towns and villages. Most of these contain some B&B and hotels and almost all contain tourist shops, bars, restaurants and cafes. After a walk around the forest, sit and enjoy a traditional cream tea, or warming meal round a traditional pub fire.

The villages include:

  • Lyndhurst - which claims to be the 'capital' of the New Forest and has the main Tourist Information Office.
  • Beaulieu - popular for the car museum.
  • Lymington - with a harbour, marina and old town.
  • Other Villages - Abbotswell, Hythe, Totton, Blissford, Burley, Brockenhurst, Fordingbridge, Frogham, Hyde, Stuckton, Ringwood and New Milton

To the west of the New Forest are Bournemouth and Christchurch, and to the east lies Southampton.


The New Forest Centre
SO43 7NY
Phone: 023 8028 3444


Car: The main roads through the New Forest are the A31, A35 and A337. Lyndhurst, at the heart of the New Forest is about 25miles from Bournemouth, 10 miles from Southampton and 90miles from London.
Train: Ashurst (on the eastern edge), Brockenhurst (near the center), Beaulieu Road Rail Station, Sway Rail Station (near the western edge).

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