New Forest National Park
Walking near Rhinefield Drive
The New Forest
The New Forest National Park is an area of exceptional natural beauty situated mainly in Hampshire but also extends north into Wiltshire. Covering 218 square miles, its boundaries are formed by the Wiltshire chalk downs to the north, the Solent to the south, the waterside communities to the east and the Avon Valley to the west.
The New Forest was made a national park in 2005 to conserve and enhance the amazing areas of outstanding natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage.
Created in 1079 as a hunting area for William the Conqueror, it is now home to around 4,000 ponies, cattle and deer who roam freely amongst the ancient woodland, wide lawns and picturesque villages such as Burley and Brockenhurst.
Discovering the New Forest
With 146 miles of marked trails it is a great place to discover on foot, by bike or on horseback. It is a rich in wildlife such as butterflies, dragonflies and birds, as well as being a host to the UK's largest breeding population of the rare Dartford Warbler.
The New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst provides a great starting place to explore the park with plenty of information and displays about the park to plan your route. During the summer take the open top tour bus around the New Forest at your leisure as you can hop on and off at different points with just one ticket. There is even space for bikes on the bus to make discovering as much as the New Forest as you can, even easier. The tour bus also stops off at Brockenhurst train station so there is no need to bring a car at all.
Lepe Country Park is a coastal country park within the New Forest where there are stunning views across the Solent to the Isle of Wight. Hear the full story of Lepe's role in the D-Day preparations, along with descriptions of the features you can see and first hand accounts from veterans. You can pick up an audio player or download it from the New Forest National Park website.