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History

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The New Forest was set aside as a royal hunting ground by William the Conqueror in 1079. The sense of an historic landscape is palpable, not just in landmarks such as the Rufus Stone, the Portuguese Fireplace and the Canadian Memorial but through the pony grazing and commoning culture that continue to this day. There is also a strong wartime heritage in the New Forest which is especially visible on the coast at places such as Lepe and Buckler’s Hard.

War stories - five military reminders
1. Bomb craters near Godshill - some of which may have been the result of testing for the Dambusters' bouncing-bomb
2. Military camps - the house at Exbury became HMS Mastodon, for example
3. A spy training school at Beaulieu
4. Mulberry Harbours for D-Day built at Lepe - parts of the concrete and metal works remain
5. Airfields - more than a dozen in the New Forest including Beaulieu Heath (now used for flying model aircraft), Stoney Cross (now the Ocknell campsite) and Hurn (now Bournemouth International Airport)
15 photos to find in the Forest

As a visitor to this website - hello, thank you - you will be interested in the New Forest or photographs or photographs of the New Forest, or all three.

If you want to take some pictures of your own, here are my top tips for subjects, locations and times.

1. Knobbly-kneed, wobbly-legged foals - photos with the 'aah' factor in the late spring and summer.

2. Autumn colour - 'leaf-peeping UK' any time from September to December with orange, yellow, scarlet, bronze and toffee-brown leaves and bracken in the ancient and ornamental woodland.

3. Views of the iconic Needles and the Isle of Wight from many places on the New Forest coastline.

4. Deer - you have a better-than-average chance of spotting these shy creatures in the New Forest, especially if you get up early.

5. Bolton's Bench - a landmark clump of yew trees on top of a small hill in Lyndhurst which provides a focal point from many angles in any weather conditions, often with ponies or cattle in the foreground.

6. Fungi - the Forest has 2,700 species (allegedly) so try to seek out interesting shapes, colours and compositions.

7. Events - the Beaulieu Road pony sales, farmers' markets, the Lymington bathtub race, for example.

8. Beaulieu - the village or the historic house or the picturesque river.

9. Donkeys - less common than the better-known ponies so you may need to look longer and harder to find them, but worth it because they are friendlier and even more photogenic.

10. Heather-covered expanses of rolling heathland - in the high summer the pinks and purples of bell heather, cross-leaved heath and ling carpet the landscape.

11. Visitors - walkers, cyclists or horseriders make a useful feature in photographs of the New Forest.

12. The coast - lighthouses, saltmarshes, boats, wading birds, sunrises and sunsets.

13. Damselflies and dragonflies - electric blue, honey-yellow, postbox-red: look closely to find these eye-catching insects near rivers and ponds in the boggy parts of the Forest in the summer.

14. Misty mornings - capture the magic of morning mist rolling across the heath or shafts of sunlight piercing the tangled woodland.

15. Thatched cottages - chocolate-box, yes, but most people like chocolate.