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What is the New Forest?
The New Forest is a former royal hunting area in the south of England. It was created in 1079 by William I (known as William the Conqueror) as a hunting area, principally of deer.
It is a unique area of historical, ecological and agricultural significance, and retains many of the rural practices conceded by the Crown in historical times to local people. Principal of these is the pasturing of ponies, cattle, pigs and donkeys in the open Forest by local inhabitants known as commoners. The New Forest has also been an important source of timber for the Crown.
It is an outstanding recreational area for walking and riding. It is now designated as a National Park.
On this website:
This website offers an overview of the historical basis of the New Forest, its current management, and the rights granted to commoners. It links to many monochrome and colour photographs illustrating the heaths, bogs, Ancient & Ornamental woodlands, and its most well-known inhabitants, the New Forest ponies.
The principal sections are:
For those interested in New Forest history: Drivers' map of 1814 is available for download. In 1789, a Royal Commission published a report on the New Forest, and this was accompanied by the first detailed map of the Forest. The scale was four inches to one mile. The map was based on surveys undertaken in 1786/87 by Thomas Richardson, William King, Abraham Driver and William Driver. It is commonly known as "Drivers' map". The second edition published in 1814 can be downloaded in sections - go to the Historic maps pages.
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Use of images and text
You may reproduce any image or text for a non-commercial purpose to promote awareness of the New Forest. Please acknowledge this website. For commercial use, email Graham Cooper.
An exception: Anthony Pasmore's "New Forest Notes" may not be reproduced without his permission.
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