William the Conqueror planted The New Forest to satisfy his passion for stag hunting. His son, William II (Rufus), was shot dead whilst hunting one day, it was believed that he may have been assassinated. Woods of oak and chestnut (many ancient and magnificent still) and other deciduous trees, still sweep magnificently over the sandy soil with moorland between and pretty and interesting villages hidden in clearings. Deer and much other wildlife live in the forest, and wild ponies can be seen ambling throughout the area (take care when driving). The woodland glades of the forest are perfect for rambling, riding and picnicking. Lyndhurst is the forest's main centre; Cadnam and Minstead are among many pretty villages. The forest extends to the Beaulieu River estuary and Lymington on the coast with its ferry to the Isle of Wight.
Lymington is a pretty little town of steep old streets and Georgian shops, restaurants, pubs and houses. The Lymington river estuary brims with yachts and other pleasure boats. Ferries run from its harbour to the Isle of Wight. Immediately inland begins the New Forest. The major resorts of Christchurch, Bournemouth and Poole host good sandy beaches, boating facilities and numerous entertainments within 10 – 20 miles. The beautiful wooded Beaulieu River estuary with its abbey ruins, Palace House, National Motor Museum and restored 18th cent. shipbuilding village (ships for Nelson), is about 6 miles away, the exceptional Exbury Gardens are not much further. Sea/estuary/salt marsh bird watching at Keyhaven and Needs Ore Point are both within 6 miles.