New Forest

New Forest, England, Photo Tour

The New Forest is an area of southern England which includes the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and old-growth forest in the heavily-populated south east of England. The contiguous New Forest habitat covers south west Hampshire and some of south Wiltshire and east Dorset. As a National Park the New Forest is mainly in Hampshire, but also covering some of Wiltshire. Additionally the New Forest local government district is a subdivision of Hampshire which covers most of the forest, and some nearby areas.

The highest point in the New Forest is Piper’s Wait, just west of Bramshaw. Its summit is at over four hundred feet.

As well as providing a visually remarkable and historic landscape, the ecological value of the New Forest is particularly great because of the relatively large areas of lowland habitats, lost elsewhere, which have survived. The area contains several kinds of important lowland habitat including valley bogs, wet heaths, dry heaths and deciduous woodland. The area contains a profusion of rare wildlife, including the New Forest cicada, the only cicada native to Great Britain. The wet heaths are important for rare plants, such as marsh gentian Gentiana pneumonanthe and marsh clubmoss Lycopodiella inundata. Several species of sundew may be found in the Forest, and the area is also the habitat of many unusual insect species, including the Southern damselfly, and the great crested newt breeds in many locations.

Three species of snake inhabit the Forest. The adder is the most common being found on open heath and grassland. The grass snake prefers the damper environment of the valley mires. The rare smooth snake can be found on sandy hillsides with heather and gorse.

A program to reintroduce the sand lizard started in 1989.

Numerous deer live in the Forest but are usually rather shy and tend to stay out of sight when people are around. Fallow deer are the most common followed by red deer. There are also smaller populations of sika deer and Muntjac.

The New Forest is designated as an EU Special Area of Conservation

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