New Forest Overview

New Forest National Park, located in the southern region of England, encompasses a unique and historically rich landscape that blends ancient woodlands, heathlands, and grassy plains across its terrain. Established as a national park in 2005, it covers an area of approximately 566 square kilometers (about 219 square miles). This remarkable park, which stretches across parts of Hampshire and Wiltshire, is known for its distinctive natural beauty, diverse habitats, and the free-roaming ponies that have become synonymous with the area.

The New Forest is a living and working landscape with a history that dates back to the Norman Conquest of England. Originally proclaimed a royal forest by William the Conqueror in the 11th century for the pursuit of deer hunting, today’s New Forest is a haven for wildlife and a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Its varied landscapes offer a mosaic of habitats that support a rich diversity of flora and fauna, including several rare and endangered species.

Visitors to the New Forest National Park can explore an extensive network of trails suitable for walking, cycling, and horseback riding. The park’s ancient woodlands, dotted with mighty oak and beech trees, provide a tranquil setting for nature walks, while the open heathlands and wetlands are perfect for birdwatching and spotting the park’s famous ponies, deer, and cattle.

The New Forest also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with charming villages, historic houses, and traditional country pubs scattered throughout the area. The park’s communities are deeply connected to the forest, maintaining centuries-old practices and customs that contribute to the conservation of this unique landscape.

New Forest National Park offers a blend of natural beauty, wildlife, and cultural history, making it a captivating destination for visitors seeking to immerse themselves in the tranquility of the English countryside. Its protection as a national park ensures the preservation of its landscapes and heritage for future generations to enjoy.

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Park Map
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New Forest National Park Pictures

New Forest National Park Trails

Tall Trees Trail

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 1.5 miles (2.4 km) loop, minimal elevation gain

Description: The Tall Trees Trail is a peaceful walk through the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

Hikers can marvel at some of the tallest and oldest trees in the New Forest, including majestic Douglas firs and redwoods.

The trail is flat and well-maintained, suitable for families and accessible to wheelchairs and strollers.

Lyndhurst Parish Walk

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 8.5 miles (13.7 km), minimal elevation gain

Description: This loop trail takes you around Lyndhurst, known as the ‘Capital of the New Forest.’ The route offers a mixture of woodland, heathland, and parkland, with plenty of opportunities to spot wild ponies, deer, and other wildlife.

It’s a great way to experience the variety of landscapes the New Forest has to offer.

Burley Village Circular Walk

Rating: Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 6 miles (9.7 km) loop, minimal elevation gain

Description: Starting from the quaint village of Burley, this circular trail explores the ancient woodlands and open heaths near the village.

It’s popular for its stunning landscapes, wildlife, and a chance to delve into the area’s witchcraft history.

The path includes some gentle inclines and is well-marked.

Brockenhurst to Rhinefield Walk

Rating: Easy to Moderate

Distance and Elevation Gain: 4.5 miles (7.2 km) one way, minimal elevation gain

Description: This pleasant walk connects Brockenhurst, one of the largest villages in the New Forest, with the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

The route passes through open heaths, dense woodlands, and by the Blackwater Arboretum, offering stunning views and a tranquil atmosphere.

The trail is straightforward, with some undulating sections.

Beaulieu to Buckler’s Hard Walk

Rating: Easy

Distance and Elevation Gain: 2 miles (3.2 km) one way, minimal elevation gain

Description: This trail follows the Beaulieu River from the picturesque village of Beaulieu down to the historic shipbuilding hamlet of Buckler’s Hard.

Along the way, walkers can enjoy serene views over the river, spot a variety of birds, and explore the maritime history of the area.

The path is flat and suitable for walkers of all ages and abilities.

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  • New Forest National Park, Protecting Together, Shaping Tomorrow,, retrieved April 2024.
  • New Forest National Park, Discover the Beautiful New Forest National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • he New Forest, New Forest National Park,, retrieved April 2024.
  • Visit Hampshire, New Forest,, retrieved April 2024.