As you step foot into the magical new forest, feeling the crunch of the leaves and bark beneath your feet, it is impossible not to look up in awe at the intricate branches entwined within each other. This spellbinding place dates back to the Palaeolithic period, a prehistoric period of human history and is now a very popular attraction for locals and visitors from all around the world.
Up the winding narrow pathways, deep beyond the trees and in to the neck of the forest, New Forest Ponies, Deer and various other woodland creatures roam this enchanted forest which covers approximately 571 km².
Approximately 8000 years ago, new forest clearance began, animals settled into the forest and people too. This continued over the course of the years with the forest becoming more popular, with animals and humans making it their home.
The forest offers breath-taking landscapes and heathlands and was once a royal hunting ground which was created by ‘William the Conqueror’ during the time that Winchester was the capital of England, over 1000 years ago.
5 facts you didn’t know about the New Forest:
- The oldest tree in the new forest is a yew tree and is over 1000 years old, located in Brockenhurst.
- There are over 2,500 different types of mushroom that grow in the forest.
- The New Forest is home to some rare and important plants and animals including the wild gladious, the Dartford warbler, the southern blue damselfly and the sand lizard.
- The tallest tree is 178ft (55m high) a giant sequoia on the Rhinefield drive.
- The New forest is home to lots of fascinating organisms. This type of moss, Sphagnum, can hold large quantities of water inside their cells, including dead cells. Sphagnum moss has also been used for centuries as a dressing for wounds, including through World War I as well as providing hydration.
This particular Oak tree is about 400 years old. As trees get older they get more interesting and helpful to the forest, providing homes for birds and other animals. The older the tree, the more valuable. Oak trees take 200 years to grow fully before they enter a mature phase between 400-500 years old and then beyond that is their degenerate phase.
It’s easy to fall in love with the labyrinthine New Forest and Craig, one of the New Forest rangers would know.
Take a walk with Craig, or any of the other New forest rangers, explore the beauty and experience this bewitching place for yourself.
To find the best routes for walking, click here for the New Forest National Park website or book a walk with one of the experienced rangers!
With miles and miles of walking to enjoy, make the most of it by enjoying an overnight stay. Click here for our Last Minute Breaks and return to the sanctuary of our leisure facilities to relax your muscles.