The wild ponies of an ancient New Forest

The New Forest is a beautiful part of the country which sits right in the centre of the southern coastline of England. After a recent visit there, we took a few snaps for you to enjoy and hopefully get a flavour of what to expect from the peace and tranquility that a New Forest visit brings.


As it's name suggests, the New Forest is a beautiful stretch of forest, pastureland and heathland that covers 571 square Km in England's South East corner. A National Park, it is a largely undiscovered region apart from by the people who are fortunate enough to live in or close to it.


Despite it's name, the forest is actually all that remains of an ancient woodland which once covered vast areas of southern Britain. Much of it was cultivated during the bronze age and iron age and as a result the area has around 150 scheduled ancient monuments. The name the 'New Forest' was given to the area by royal decree in 1079 by William I. It was used for deer hunting and the creating of the 'new' royal forest was at the expense of the people who were previously living there.


To this day the forest is a fantastic habitat for wild animals and the forest contains Britain's only wild ponies which are easy to spot even if you only take a short drive through the forest. These beautiful unkempt creatures roam, frolic and live freely here under the protection of the National Park Authority.


As well as ponies the region is full of donkeys, cattle and deeper in the forest wild deer which all roam freely in this wonderful habitat. It's slightly unnerving to see such large creatures roaming freely and not something we are used to in the UK but as you can see in this image, the cows really do just sit, graze and wander wherever the day may lead them.


A major attraction in the Forest is the delightful Buckler's Hard. The easy access to so much wood made the Beaulieu River an ideal location for ship building and Buckler's Hard did just that - famously building the fleet for Lord Nelson's Battle of Trafalgar. The village here which played home to the ship builders has barely changed since the 18th Century and you can step inside the houses for a genuine piece of history.

bucklers hard

As well as being just a lovely, relaxing and enjoyable place to visit, this preserved town gives you a real taste of life as a ship builder in the 18th Century. From here you can take a wonderful river cruise and learn about the role the area played in wars across the ages as far as WWII or visit the Maritime Museum which provides fascinating insight into the history of particular ships that were made here.

bucklers hard

Inside the houses each building or room has been carefully preserved or constructed to highlight different areas of life in Buckler's Hard.


The Forest is a wonderful place for a short visit or a few days. Endless forest trails are prefect for walking, cycling or pony trekking and there are centres to hire what you need. A tour bus travels around the numerous museums and attractions in the area and this is a great way to see the forest if you don't have a car.


There are lots of great places to eat and enjoy the forest but we found that packing a nice picnic and sitting in the forest and watching the young wild ponies run and play was just such an enjoyable experience. The miles of flat heathland here also provides a great place to cycle, to stop and take in the views and to simply breath in the fresh, clean air.


All in all the New Forest is highly recommended for visitors to the South East of England. If you have a car it's worth taking the time to drive through the area and stop off to enjoy it even if you don't have time for the Beaulieu Motor Museum or the New Forest Centre.

For more detailed information on the New Forest see the New Forest page.


By Ruth Lancey

Date: 2017-11-28 13:17:38