New Forest

this area, the Forestry Commission maintains over 100 miles of waymarked gravel cycle tracks as well as waymarked trails from car parks to explore on foot.

The Quay - Lymington

The New Forest is neither new nor strictly speaking a forest. In fact its name comes from a time when the area was first designated as a royal hunting ground in 1079. It derives from the Latin ‘nova foresta’, which literally translates as ‘new hunting ground’. Indeed, the ‘nova foresta’ was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086.

William the Conqueror set aside the Forest for hunting more than 900 years ago and centuries of grazing by deer, ponies and cattle have since shaped the landscape; although William would probably still recognise much of the Forest today.

The New Forest is famous for its unique mixture of ancient woodland, heather-covered heath, wide lawns, boggy mires, gentle farmland, picturesque villages and coastal saltmarsh, lagoons and mudflats. Geology, soils and human management have all contributed to the distinctive habitats, which encompass some of the most unique, protected landscapes in the south of Britain. Importantly, the New Forest became a National Park in 2005 and this put it in the premier league of wildlife conservation and protection.

With the largest remaining area of lowland heath in Europe, the New Forest is one of the last places in the region to offer a sense of wildness and tranquillity.

It is a wonderful area to explore on foot, by bike or on horseback. It is especially rich in wildlife and you can enjoy a host of sights that make a visit particularly special – from ancient oaks, fungi and pigs in the autumn, to deer, reptiles, birds of prey and, of course, the famous New Forest pony roaming free.

It is this beautiful natural tapestry which the Forestry Commission works so hard to maintain and preserve. As the UK’s largest land manager, and the biggest provider of outdoor recreation, the Forestry Commission’s role is to ensure the sustainable management of woodland whilst enriching people’s quality of life and their environment. Therefore, a delicate balance is sought between the working forest (timber production), habitat and wildlife management and opportunities for recreation provision.

Just under half of the land area within the New Forest National Park boundary is owned by the Crown and managed by the Forestry Commission. Within

Seasonal interest is provided by the Daffodil Meadow and Rock Garden in early spring, the ‘full bloom’ of April and May, exotic Sundial Garden and glorious herbaceous borders in summer and brilliant autumn colour from maples, dogwoods and nerines.

You can enjoy a special 20 minute journey on Exbury’s superb 12¼” gauge Steam Railway through part of the Gardens, great fun for all the family, or take a buggy trip to see the colour. When you find yourself in need of refreshment, then an excellent range of hot and cold food is available in the beautifully refurbished Mr. Eddy’s Restaurant and Tearooms. There are also picnic areas, and dogs are welcome on a short lead.

The New Forest is, undoubtedly, a unique and enchanting region that offers visitors a rich and varied choice of things to do and see. Its timeless quality can be captured with the sight of a deer browsing in a sunlit leafy glade or the varied colours that can only be obtained from broadleaf trees, every season bringing its own delights.

There is also an information unit based at Bolderwood car park (on a seasonal basis) where rangers are on hand to answer your questions and tell you more about the unique character of the New Forest. Alternatively, you can visit the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, home to the New Forest Museum and

Visitor Information Centre.

At the south eastern edge of the Forest lies Exbury Gardens, a spectacular 200-acre woodland garden. Famous for the Rothschild Collection of rhododendrons, azaleas and camellias, the Gardens are a riot of colour in spring and peaceful and relaxing year round.

New Forest Ponies We hope you enjoy these pages: please leave for the enjoyment of others

Lyndhurst 19

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