The New Forest and the surrounding area is full of natural wildlife, where you can relax and enjoy the scenery that the New Forest has to offer.
The New Forest is the largest section of unenclosed land for pasture and forest in the entire of the UK, retaining the same beauty and historical context that attracts visitors back year after year. It has undergone many changes during its existence, including the type of plants and wildlife that have been produced there depending on our needs.
It began as a Royal Forest called the Nova Foresta, named so by William the Conqueror. He used the entire land and the villages and settlements amongst it for his hunting trips. He would stay and accommodate his guests within the villages and by day they would travel the forest, hunting mainly deer.
Many Archaeologists have excavated and analysed the land and have revealed around 150 scheduled ancient monuments, however the acidity of the soil, which used to be a problem for those trying to cultivate the land, does not treat bone gently and as such, it has not survived to tell us more about the past.
The landscape is impressive, not just for its size, but the variety of wildlife and plant-life that grow and thrive around the areas. There are many types of rare creatures that can be found here due to the eco-diversity of the land.
In the wet heaths experts have found several new and interesting plants that would otherwise not survive in the UK. In fact, the New Forest kept the last remaining red squirrels alive well into the 1970’s, when the Grey squirrels took over.
There are many additional attractions hidden amongst the vast amount of land you can discover, including the reptile centre, the wildlife park and the museum and visitor centre.
The New Forest has a long history of worldwide and critical acclaim. From the early seventies, the New Forest was declared a site of Special Scientific Interest due to its bio-diversity and eco-systems that were untouched and have remained so for centuries.
It became an official Heritage Area with protection in 1985. UNESCO took note and in 1999 declared it fully part of their list of Heritage Sites. In 2005 the UK honoured it with the title of National Park, although at the same time over 90% of the New Forest was still owned by the crown.
Whether you like nature, plants or animals there is something for everyone in the New Forest. Always making new discoveries and providing a peaceful and beautiful area to walk around in, the New Forest has been maintained as found and is yours to enjoy by foot, bicycle or even on horseback.