History of New Forest

The new forest was created by William I (William the Conqueror) in 1079 as a royal hunting ground. His son William II was killed near Minstead amid rumours of an assassination and King Charles II hid in the forest before fleeing to France. The strong oaks were used later to build the warships of Henry VIII fleet, and the open areas were used as airfields during the second world war.

Local Traditions

The New Forest has a healthy collection of laws and traditions dating back nearly a thousand years. Commoners and Verderers decide matters such as grazing rights and prevent poaching at the historic Court of Sweyne Mote. Fortunately their duty to prevent tresspass on the Forest has been relaxed, and the majority of the Forest is now accessible to visitors.

Travelling To New Forest

London is under two hours away by car. The New Forest is also readily accessible from all directions by road and public transport with many direct train and coach services.

Also nearby are international airports at Southampton and Bournemouth, and cross-Channel ferry ports at Portsmouth and Poole.