As you roll over a cattle grid into the New Forest you will almost immediately enter a more peaceful state of being. The combination of fresh air, lavish landscapes and wildly roaming cattle, donkeys and of course New Forest Ponies is a tremendous tonic for the senses.
The area now known as the New Forest was originally set aside as a Royal Hunting Preserve by William the Conqueror in 1079. The New Forest today is largely unspoilt and still retains some unique ancient laws which allow "Commoners" to graze cattle, donkeys, pigs and of course the New Forest Pony freely in the forest.
The name New Forest doesn't accurately describe the landscape. Much of the New Forest is heathland, created by bronze age deforestation. There is a lot of woodland in the New Forest, the two largest trees in the forest can be found at Rhinefield Ornamental Drive. These Californian imports are Giant Redwoods aka Sequia stretch up to a lofty height of 56m. They are not the oldest trees in the forest though, nearby is the Knightwood Oak which is over 500 years old.
Today the New Forest can be enjoyed on foot and bicycle. Gentle forest shaded strolls, family friendly bike routes and more adventurous walks as well as road cycling make the New Forest a great place to explore.
For a natural breath of fresh air get out and about in the "lungs of the south", the New Forest National Park.