New for Old in the Forest

The name is as recent as 1079 when King William requisitioned this most ancient common land as a royal hunting ground. And today the New Forest is a Natural Park of open sandy heathland interspersed with boggy wetland, as well as deciduous and coniferous woodland. Still living here are a number of geriatric oak trees, 300 to 400 years old.

Before ‘forestation’, this area was managed by locals who utilised the wood, and fenced off areas for their animals. Such common grazing rights are still in place today, although commoners’ claims to the land were lost to royal acquisition.

Coppicing, grazing, and felling of decaying trees both then and now keeps the woodland light and airy enough for diverse flora and fauna to flourish.

With seductive forest pathways pulling in all directions and the gems of the forest floor distracting attention, it is not difficult to lose one’s way amongst the hundreds of acres. And of course what many visitors come in search of is one of Britain’s wildlife gems – New Forest ponies – native to the British Isles with an ancestry of 2000 years.New Forest ponies There are several thousand of them here though locating them is not as obvious as their numbers suggest. Still, its worth the find.

1. ‘Forest’ was used to describe an area of land that had been ‘afforested’ (purchased under law) and designated as land to be used for royal privileges, ie hunting. The name, New Forest, is a direct translation from the Norman Nova Foresta. New Forest National Park

Am joining in with Michelle’s Nature Notes #309 – stop over @ramblingwoods to see  wildlife from around the globe

18 thoughts on “New for Old in the Forest

  1. That wood sorrel photo is just exquisite, Laura. And a dung beetle. And such a fine specimen. I didn’t know we had English ones. Gorgeous post all round.

  2. Hello nice to see you in Nature Notes!!!! Lovely place to visit. There is something so magical about old trees.. I wonder what they have seen and what they could tell us. I just wish we didn’t cut any down..Love the flowers and the ponies… Thank you for linking in.. Michelle

    1. I like it when woods are managed so they do not become too dense, diseased and lifeless but our woodlands are always under threat from being cut down to make room for more houses, railways etc 😡

  3. I love the romanticism of royal hunting grounds, as they bring to mind Robin Hood! 🙂 Forests do need to be managed, but for the right reasons. Cutting them down to make more buildings is exactly the wrong reason! But it sounds like what you’ve described is for the good of the forest.

      1. Yes, and I remember how he would trespass and hunt on the “royal hunting grounds” which always agitated the king’s men because they could never catch him!

  4. Even though I live in the forest, I can’t get enough of these kind of scenes! Love the trunk of that first tree:)

    1. the white lichen suggested age! woodlands are my fave environment – such a contrast with London o_O

  5. A lovely post and I picked it from Nature Notes listings as I was there myself recently! Will probably do a post on my visit on my Travel Tales blog.

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