Activities & Days Out in the New Forest

A Luxury Relais and Chateaux Hotel in England UK

Explore The New Forest

A National Park and Royal Hunting Playground since 1079. Over 900,000 acres of picturesque forest to explore...

Chewton Glen is a luxury venue set on the edge of the New Forest National Park. The forest area was set aside by William The Conqueror over nine centuries ago when he named it his 'New' hunting forest.

The New Forest ancient woodlands and wilderness heaths remain largely intact, earning the area national and international status; entering parts of the Forest today is like taking a step back in time - the atmosphere and landscape are unique and traditions exist here which have not changed since medieval times.

In the Forest there is a living and working community where ponies and cattle have the right of way as they freely graze the land. Each of the famous ponies is owned by a commoner and must be marked with an individual brand before left to wander. A 'commoner' has rights of 'common' attached to a property or plot of land he or she owns. The New Forest is dotted with attractive and spacious villages, Lyndhurst being the acknowledged centre.

Visit the Official New Forest Tourism Website >>

A particular good way to see the New Forest is to drive through Brockenhurst to the ornamental drive leading to Rhinefield area. There are plenty of places to park and take a leisurely stroll on well-marked paths.

View our video showing some of the activities available in the New Forest...

A bit of history about the New Forest...

The New Forest has a long and proud history, a strong foundation for the National Park. One of the most significant events was designation by William the Conqueror as a royal forest and hunting ground. This has had considerable impact ever since.

The system of common rights developed from medieval times and was formalised in the mid-16th century. Although many of these rights are no longer practiced, the rights of pasture (for ponies and cattle) and pannage (the foraging of pigs) are still very important and protected by the New Forest Court of Verderers. There are between four and five hundred active commoners living in and around the Forest today.

In 1923, the Forestry Commission was made responsible for the management of the Crown Lands in the New Forest. These cover 27,000 hectares, 47% of the National Park.

The New Forest Heritage Area was identified in 1985 and special planning policies were adopted to protect it. Five years later, in 1990, the New Forest Committee was established with the primary purpose of promoting and co-ordinating measures to ensure the conservation of the New Forest Heritage Area.

In October 1999, the Countryside Agency began work to designate the New Forest as a National Park by identifying a boundary and preparing advice to government on the arrangements needed to set up a National Park Authority to manage the area and take into account the special circumstances within the Forest. A public inquiry took place in 2002 - 2003. The designation was confirmed on 1 March 2005. The New Forest National Park Authority was established on 1 April 2005 with limited powers and full statutory functions from 1 April 2006.

Key dates:
1079 - New Forest designated as a royal forest by William the Conqueror
1877 - Court of Verderers re-established
1923 - Forestry Commission made responsible for management of Crown Lands
1990 - New Forest Committee established
1992 - New Forest Heritage Area established
2002 - Designation Order for a New Forest National Park published under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949
2005 - New Forest confirmed as a National Park

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