New Forest History
There can be few other places in England where the ancient landscape has remained so unchanged. In 1079 when William The Conqueror named the area his ‘new hunting forest', little could he imagine that nearly 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta' would still retain its mystery and romance.
The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters and Commoners - literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest.
As well as the ancient systems of managing the forest, man has left his mark on The New Forest in many other ways. Learn about the forest's history and archaeology at our many museums and Heritage Centres. From stately homes such as Beaulieu to the Roman Villa at Rockbourne, The New Forest has it all.
You can visit historic villages such as Buckler's Hard, where ships for Nelson's fleet were built, using the mighty oaks from the forest. Another example of how man has harnessed nature is at Britain's only surviving tidal mill, Eling Tide Mill.
There are many hidden treasures for you to discover if you know where to look. Alice Liddell, Lewis Carroll's inspiration for Alice In Wonderland, is buried in the churchyard in Lyndhurst.
The ideal place to start your visit is The New Forest Museum & Visitor Centre in Lyndhurst with its exhibition depicting the history and heritage of the forest.