The New Forest: Facts and Information

Here are some facts about the New Forest.

  • The New Forest is an area of undeveloped woodland and pasture in southern England.

  • It covers an area of about 560 square km in the counties of Hampshire and Wiltshire.
  • The area became one of England’s 10 National Parks in 2005. It attracts about 15 million visitors each year, who enjoy cycling, walking, horse riding and bird watching.
  • The Norman King William I (William the Conqueror) created the area as a hunting preserve during the 11th century. The forest was mentioned in the Domesday Book, the 11th century survey of England and Wales.
  • It is classed as common land today, meaning that ordinary people can use it for grazing their animals. About 6,500 animals owned by commoners, roam the forest freely.

New Forest

  • In 1703, about 4,000 oak trees in the New Forest were lost during the Great Storm. The same storm also killed over 10,000 people in England, and sunk dozens of ships.
  • A popular New Forest attraction is the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu. The collection of 250 historic cars includes vehicles from the James Bond films and the TV show Top Gear.
  • The New Forest is home to over 4,000 ponies, which have right of way over cars and are a symbol of the forest. Horses’ bones dating back to 500,000 BC have been found nearby.
  • Other wildlife in the New Forest includes deer, goats, pigs, squirrels and snakes. It is home to several rare species of insect, as well as the only cicada species native to the UK.
  • Most of the New Forest is low lying heath and grassland. The highest point is at 129 metres, near the village of Nomansland on the Hampshire and Wiltshire border.
  • Within the New Forest are over 250 round barrows, or ancient burial chambers. One of these barrows is the only known example from the 7th century BC Hallstatt culture in Britain.

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