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tree in the new forest
if you go down to the woods today

The New Forest's Ancient Woodlands

In 1079 William The Conqueror came to The New Forest and named the area his ‘new hunting forest’ – 1000 years later his ‘Nova Foresta’ still retains the same mystery and romance that enticed him.

The New Forest is one of the few places in England where the ancient landscape has remained relatively unchanged by modern day society. You will still find a mass of beautiful woodlands, heathlands and even the practice of commoning is still very much an aspect of New Forest life.

The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths, is still in place today. With the supporting efforts of the Verderers, Agisters and Commoners, literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest this system has been upheld.

The New Forest trees provide some of the greatest history of all, with the ancient trees having stood the test of time throughout the ages. You can find a variety of different tree species throughout the forest such as mighty redwoods, oaks, beech, yew, holly and many more. You can see the mighty Knightwood Oak which is also known as the ‘Queen of the forest’ and is over 500 years old. The tree can be found about 2.4 miles WSW of Lyndhurst on the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive and is a beautiful sight to see throughout the year. Bolderwood Ornamental Drive is also home to the Bolderwood deer sanctuary, the beautiful trees and wildlife that can be found here make for perfect photo opportunities.

The beautiful ancient forest is home to a wealth of different animals, with its thick dense woodlands, and expansive heathlands making it the perfect habitat to a variety of animals. Within the forest you can find ponies, deer, cattle, pigs, woodland animals and many more.

Visit the historic village of Buckler's Hard, where ships for Nelson's fleet were built from the mighty ancient oaks from the forest.

There are many hidden treasures for you to discover. To find out more about the history of the New Forest and the ancient woodland, the ideal place to start your visit is The New Forest Museum & Visitor Centre.