The New Forest is an area of Southern England which includes one of the largest remaining tracts of unenclosed pasture land, heathland and forest in Southern England. The area was formally designated a National Park on 1 March 2005. A National Park Authority for the New Forest was established on 1 April 2005 and assumed its full statutory powers on 1 April 2006. The Forestry Commission retain their powers to manage the Crown land within the Park. The Verderers under the New Forest Acts also retain their responsibilities, and the park authority is expected to co-operate with these bodies, the local authorities, English Nature and other interested parties. The designated area of the National Park covers 566 km2 (219 sq mi) and includes many existing SSSIs. It has a population of about 38,000 (it excludes most of the 170,256 people who live in the New Forest local government district). As well as most of the New Forest District of Hampshire it takes in the South Hampshire Coast Area of Outstanding natural Beauty a small corner of Test Valley district around the village of Canada and part of Wiltshire south-east of Redlynch.
It can be easily reached by car from Chippenham within 90min.
Photo by kind permission of www.hobbiesphotographic.co.uk