New Forest woodland has an ancient past with an intriguing story to tell. As well as wonderful trees to discover you'll also see amazing fungi, like this one, if you visit in October.
Wherever you go you'll encounter a magnificent specimen! Just use one of the little car parks and head off in any direction. One of my favourite areas of extensive deciduous woodland is along the Ornamental Drive from Bolderwood to the A35 junction.
Across the road, as you head towards Brockenhurst you then go into totally different woods where the giant Redwoods are either side of your drive.
For a short walk around many different species of trees you can also visit the Blackwater Arbouretum. Car park and toilets (and ice creams in summer months) here.
This tree could house a small family! Imagine its girth when it was alive - what sights has it seen over the years? If you want to look at it you will need to visit the Rufus Stone site - it's across the road, just behind the car park.
So many trees in the New Forest have a fascinating past to tell. New Forest woodland was vital to a successful outcome of World War Two . Today the New Forest ponies are kept safe from acorns from these magnificent oaks by foraging pigs - what a history?
Much of the New Forest is made up of deciduous woodland. This is what gives the forest its magnificent autumn splendour. You can see the contrast colours of 2 difference years autumn colours in my photos.
Much of the woodland is made up of oak, beech and elm, if Dutch Elm Disease has left any trees standing! Trees today are virtually undisturbed and are probably in the safest period of their lives, as part of the New Forest National Park. I'm often amazed as I drive through the forest after a particularly vicious storm how many of the huge trees have fallen overnight.
It's when they are down you can see that they weren't as healthy as they looked when upright - I've often been very glad I wasn't passing by when they fell!
They are left to rot and slowly disappear back into the forest floor. Their environmental impact is huge as the whole process provides food, shelter and regrowth to many dependent species - starting with the ponies who will clear them of their leaves and smaller branches in just a couple of hours. life goes on.
Over the centuries they have been subject to the whims of monarchs who have wanted their fantastic timber for shipbuilding.
They've also been felled for better hunting by the same monarchs in some areas. This would have lead to some ill feeling between the Forest Commoners and the Crown. The Commoners were trying to survive and live on the Forest.
New Forest woodland provided the timber for 3 of Nelsons ships which took part in the Battle of Trafalgar.You can find out just part of their history and the impact they had on Nelson by looking at the history of Bucklers Hard Village
There are oak trees throughout the New Forest woodland areas. This Oak is the most famous tree in the forest. It is called the Knightwood Oak
This ancient tree has a girth of 7.4m . You can see it either by driving through the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive. You will see a car park on your right, just before you reach the A35 coming out from Lyndhurst. Cross the road from the car park and you'll see the signs and fenced off area where the Knightwood oak stands.
You can come down from Lyndhurst on the A35 and turn right at the sign for the Bolderwood Ornamental Drive. Turn left immediately you come over the cattle grid.
In the Knightwood Oak car park you will find a marked trail to the site, you just have to cross the road and follow the signs. You can find out more about the Knightwood Oak here, and also see two trees "kissing" - the technical term is inosculation but I prefer the more romantic description - don't you?
The Forestry Commission also have info on this magnificent tree.
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