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Tuesday, 7 February 2012

New Forest - Beautiful and Majestic

Most of us have our own description of the New Forest, mine happens to be, "beautiful and majestic".  I am so fortunate to virtually live just a stones throw from the forest area.

This massive tract of land covers approximately 150 square miles housing a superb charm of nature, history, pretty villages, delightful pubs and hotels and excellent places of interest to visit.

First and foremost, the forest is a menagerie of wild animals large and small. Because of their popularity the first mention has to be the New Forest ponies. They look so appealing but as we locals are aware they are wild creatures and can be dangerous, try telling that to our visitors, they are warned but still continue to feed them. We residents wouldn't be without them, we are very proud of these animals.

The donkeys are a delight, any food in sight and they'll follow you everywhere.

What is it with me and cattle, I love them. They congregate in the middle of the forest roads, holding up the traffic, they seem to look at me sitting patiently waiting for them to move and I swear they're almost saying "now hang on I was here first ".

We also have pigs roaming around but I have to admit I haven't seen many.

Deer, now you are talking. Very shy beautiful creatures, you need to be a little adventurous - on with the walking shoes and try your hand at stalking very quietly not to frighten them, bit like an African safari. You even might be fortunate to see a red deer stag, ever alert guarding his hinds.

There's always a possibility of seeing these lovely animals at night while driving through the forest, we have many times. Please drive slowly be aware as they can suddenly appear from nowhere.

There are so many animals I could go on for ever, badgers, foxes, rabbits and a beautiful bird population.

Each season in the New Forest seems like a picture gallery. Spring starts with spots of colour. Summer now well and truly in full bloom with scenes of people relaxing, children running freely or paddling in little streams. Now comes autumn with rich mellow browns, soft yellows, reds and here and there splashes of holly with plump red berries.

Come the dreaded Winter, the forest is transformed into a Fairyland. Disneyland eat your heart out.

History of the forest is both interesting and colourful and such a lot of it. We like to tell our guests our very special and popular account explaining the Rufus Stone where on August 2nd.1100 William Rufus hunting with his younger brother Henry, friend Fitzhamon and Walter Tyrrel when at some point it seems William and Walter alone together,  Walter accidentally shot William with an arrow.

Now William was the favourite son of William the Conqueror and had succeeded his father. He was king, but not a popular one - he was hated throughout the land. Tyrrel fled to Normandy, wise man. The point is, was it an accident? William was detested probably that was when rumours started spreading. It was a case of, excuse the pun, did he fall or was he pushed. Note for amateur detectives, on with the deerstalkers out with the magnifying glasses see if you can solve one of Britain's greatest mysteries.

If you are genuinely interested in the New Forest,  have a wander around your local library or go on-line. There must be lots of stories going around our area to do with the forest. Put pen to paper send them in. The Editor of this Blog is waiting.

Guest Post: Many thanks to Ruth Lodge a local New Forest resident. I hope you have enjoyed this post and please do make a Comment below. Share your thoughts on the New Forest with Ruth.


The New Forest by Matthew Conway
Featuring a mixture of history, folklore and stories of interest, this book explores the culture and wildlife of the New Forest. From it deer, which for centuries were hunted exclusively by the Kings of England, to the thousands of trees that were the cornerstone of the English Navy, this fascinating volume illustrates how flora and fauna are interwoven with the forest's heritage, and pays special attention to its wildlife.  As well as providing a backdrop of history, this affectionate look at the forest will inspire readers to explore the area themselves. Read more...

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