With such scenic beauty, it’s no wonder why so many authors have chosen to base their work around The New Forest. Here, we take a look at some of the literature that has been based upon the New Forest, as well as our literary connections…
Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, best-known for his Sherlock Holmes novels, is buried in All Saints’ Church in Minstead, within The New Forest. Before he died, he bought a second home here, in the village of Minstead to use as a place of relaxation. He used The New Forest as a base for his book ‘The White Company’, staying at the Montagu Arms Hotel in Beaulieu as his base for researching it.
Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland - Alice Pleasance Liddell
Alice Pleasance Liddell (1852 – 1934) was the little girl who inspired Lewis Carroll’s ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ and ‘Through the Looking Glass’. Alice was four years old when the author, whose real name was Charles Dodgson, became a close family friend. His fantastic stories were made up to entertain young Alice and her sisters on a boat outing and formed the basis for Alice’s Adventures Under Ground, the first draft of the Alice stories, which went on to become the most popular children’s books in England.
Alice’s connection with the New Forest began in 1880 after she married wealthy Reginald Hargreaves, who had inherited the Cuffnells country estate, near Lyndhurst.
Her grave can be found in the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels, Lyndhurst.
Frederick Marryat - Children of the New Forest
The children’s novel, ‘Children of the New Forest’ by Frederick Marryat was first published in 1847 and was based on following the fortunes of four children during the English Civil War and the Commonwealth.
‘Children of the New Forest’ was to be Marryat’s last novel published during his lifetime and he would sometimes travel to Hampshire to stay at his brother George's country house, Chewton Glen (now the Chewton Glen Hotel) to gather material for his book.
Dennis Wheatley - The Devil Rides Out
Adventure novelist, Dennis Wheatley was best-known for his book ‘The Devil Rides Out’. He moved into Grove Place in Lymington in 1945 and only left in 1968.
Nevil Shute - Requiem for a Wren
Nevil Shute based parts of his wartime adventure story ‘Requiem for a Wren’ on his time that he was lodged at Exbury House during WW2. The novel was first published in 1955.
Matthew Arlidge - Eeny Meeny
Crime story ‘Eeny Meeny’ was Arlidge’s debut novel, published in 2014. The New Forest features in this novel and several of Arlidge’s later novels too.
Edward Rutherfurd - The Forest
Historic novelist, Edward Rutherfurd has written novels on many different places around the World. In 2000, ‘The Forest’ was published which is inspired by the forest’s mysterious side as well as its history.
Want to know more about the New Forest’s literary connections?
If you want to learn more about Wheatley and other literary connections in The New Forest then look out for one of the Pens and Personalities Tours run in Lymington.