Beaulieu Abbey

History of the New Forest

The New Forest has a long and proud history, a strong foundation for the National Park.

1079 New Forest designated as a royal forest and hunting ground by William the Conqueror.
16th century The system of common rights developed from medieval times was formalised in the mid 16th century. Although many of these rights are no longer practised, the rights of pasture (for ponies and cattle) and pannage (the foraging of pigs) are still very important and protected by the New Forest Court of Verderers. There are between 400 and 500 active commoners living in and around the Forest today.
1877 Court of Verderers re-established.
1923 Forestry Commission made responsible for management of Crown Lands in the New Forest.  These cover 27,000 hectacres, 47% of the National Park.
1985 The New Forest Heritage Area was identified and special planning policies were adopted to protect it.
1990 New Forest Committee established with the primary purpose of promoting and co-ordinating measures to ensure the conservation of the New Forest Heritage area.
1992 New Forest Heritage area established.
1999 In October the Countryside Agency began work to designate the New Forest as a National Park by identifying a boundary and preparing advice to government on the arrangements needed to set up a National Park Authority to manage the area and take into account the special circumstances within the Forest.
2002 Designation Order for a New Forest National Park published under the National Parks and Access to the Countryside Act 1949.
2002/2003 A public inquiry took place.
2005 The New Forest was confirmed as a National Park on 1 March 2005.
2005 The New Forest National Park Authority was established with limited powers on 1 April 2005 and full statutory functions from April 1 2006.
1 April 2006 The New Forest National Park Authority took up its full duties.
living - working