New Forest National Park is located in the southernmost part of central England. The national park encompasses an area of 219 square miles (566 sq km). It is a great escape for London locals as well as visitors passing through the city.
The protected area is incredibly special to England because it represents the largest contiguous tract of natural pasture, heath, and forest in the southern part of the country. Access is fairly easy making it one of the most popular national parks in the country.
Of the 219 square miles (566 sq km) of protected land, the broadleaved woodland accounts for the largest portion taking up 56 square miles (146 sq km). The remaining diversified area can be accounted for in this breakdown:
- Heath and grassland 46 square miles (118 sq km)
- Wet heath 13 square miles (33 sq km)
- Tree plantations 32 square miles (84 sq km)
This protected lowland habitat features alder carr, bogs, wet and dry heaths, marsh, and woodlands. It is such a diverse ecosystem and great habitats for the variety of deer that roam the fields and forests.
Avon Water, Beaulieu River, and Lymington River are three rivers flowing to the south with Dockens Water, Latchmore Brook, and Linford Brook flowing to the west. The area is not mountainous but there are terrain elevation changes with the highest point occurring at Pipers Wait at 423 feet (129 m) above sea level.
Popular wildlife is attributed mostly to the deer which includes Fallow deer, roe deer, red deer, sika deer, and muntjac. Other common species include the grey squirrel, European polecat, European otter, and the American mink.
New Forest National Park provides visitors with the densest and most continual forested area in southern England. Hiking is the best way to experience what the park has to offer. The stellar wilderness is the highlight of the park with wide-open skies and tremendous panoramic views.
New Forest National Park Trails
New Forest National Park provides hikers with forested trails as well as broad open fields and hills with panoramic views of the terrain.
Abbots Well and Fritham
This is a full-day outing covering a distance of 9 miles (14.5 km). It is an easy walk that spends most of the time in the high heathland with large panoramic views. The loop trail starts at Abbots Well and then treks up to Hampton Ridge.
Bolton’s Bench and Lyndhurst
This is a 7-mile (11.2 km) easy to moderate that travels along the edge of Lyndhurst. Highlights include Matley Wood, Beaulieu River, Busketts and Furzy Lawn Enclosures, Yew Tree Hill, and more.
This is an easy 2.5-mile (4 km) that meanders through a forested area that features over-hanging boughs mixed in with oaks and conifers. Woodson Hills Enclosure is a highlight.
This 2.5-mile (4 km) trail varies between easy and moderate hike that meanders through old plantations and along with conifer lined trails.
Beaulieu Heath and Hatchet Pond
This 2.5 mile (4 km) trail is an easy trail with Hatchet Pond serving as the highlight.
New Forest Highlights
- The most continuous forested area in southern England
- Combination of cultural heritage, and nature
- All Trails, Best Trails in New Forest National Park, https://www.alltrails.com/parks/england/hampshire/new-forest-national-park, retrieved June 2020.
- New Forest National Park, Protecting Together, Shaping Tomorrow, https://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/, retrieved October 2019.
- New Forest National Park, Discover the Beautiful New Forest National Park, https://www.new-forest-national-park.com/, retrieved October 2019.
- The New Forest, New Forest National Park, https://www.thenewforest.co.uk/, retrieved October 2019.
- Visit Hampshire, New Forest, https://www.visit-hampshire.co.uk/explore/areas-to-visit/new-forest, retrieved October 2019.