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Best campsites in the New Forest National Park

Here are our expert-recommended campsites and attractions in and around the New Forest National Park

Articles > Camping in the National Parks of England, Scotland and Wales > Best campsites in the New Forest National Park

The New Forest is a mixture of forest and heathland covering an area of around 150 square miles in Southern England. In contrast to many of the UK's other National Parks, the New Forest is relatively low-lying with the highest point being only 129m above sea level. The park covers much of southeast Wiltshire and southwest Hampshire. It is the only forest to be described in detail in the Doomsday Book and was proclaimed as a royal forest by William the Conqueror. Most of the forest is owned by the Crown Estate and has been managed by the Forestry Commission since the 1920s.

The New Forest has a rich history going back to the time of William the Conquerer. In more recent times Canadian and Portuguese foresters lived in the area during the first World War; evidence of this can be found near Millyford where the remains of a Portuguese fireplace can be found, a poignant memorial to the efforts of the woodsmen who supplied wood from the forest during the conflict.

The village of Lyndhurst is often busy, particularly in the holiday season, but if you can find somewhere to park, head for the churchyard of St Michael and All Angels when you can visit the grave of Alice Liddell. There is much speculation about Alice's life, including rumours of a relationship with Queen Victoria's youngest son, Prince Leopold. We know that she was married at Westminster Abbey to Reginald Hargreaves, who played cricket for both Hampshire and England. But she is also the inspiration for the character Alice in Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Top New Forest National Park Attractions

A New Forest Pony
A New Forest Pony

Much of the National Park is common pasture and commoners have the right to graze ponies, horses and cattle throughout the year along with pigs from September to November. The date of the annual 'Pannage' or turning out of the pigs depends on the weather and when acorns begin to fall from the trees. The date is set by the Verderers, a group of unpaid volunteers who represent the commoners' rights and who hold many of the same powers as those held by a magistrate. The pannage, or 'common of mast' as it is sometimes known locally, is important for the woodland's ecology and animal welfare. The pigs eat vast amounts of acorns which could cause stomach problems for the other livestock.

The forest has several larger villages, including Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Ashurst, Beaulieu and Lymington; all become busy in the high season. Many of the region's main tourist attractions are centred around the villages, with the British National Motor Museum, along with Buckler's Hard being amongst the attractions of Beaulieu.  Lymington is popular with the sailing fraternity and hosts a number of regattas throughout the year.

Amongst the more unusual attractions in the park is the Rufus Stone. Wiliam Rufus was the third son of William the Conquerer and became King of England in 1087. In 1100 he died in a "hunting accident" when French nobleman Walter Tyrell is said to have fired an arrow that missed its mark, bounced off a tree and fatally wounded the King. This was unusual as Walter was usually a particularly good bowman. Williams's younger brother, Henry wasted no time in crowning himself as King Henry I and the inevitable rumours began to swirl. The stone was erected sometime in the 18th century but is nowhere near where historians agree that the incident took place, nor is it a stone any longer having been encapsulated in iron in the 1840s.

Top 20 New Forest National Park Campsites

Best campsites in The New Forest National Park

New Forest Caravan and Motorhome Club site is just 3 miles away from the pleasant village of Bransgore, you can find one the UK’s best...

Holmsley Camping in the Forest site occupies part of what was once Holmsley Airfield in WWII, one of twelve New Forest wartime airfields and Advanced...

Setthorns Camping in the Forest is a secluded, back to basics, site surrounded by woodland. Throughout you will come across paths branching off in various...

Hollands Wood is a large, spacious, 22 acre, secluded site in a natural woodland setting. It is set in the heart of the New Forest...

Roundhill Camping in the Forest site is a picturesque setting with expansive open areas, a lake and quiet secluded areas amongst ferns and trees. Its...

Denny Wood Camping in the Forest site sits in a perfectly secluded spot of the New Forest, England's largest ancient woodland. A haven for nature...

Matley Wood Camping in the Forest site is a seamless mix of forest and smaller open spaces. This secluded site offers a compellingly beautiful woodland...

An attractive site, Ashurst is on the fringe of the New Forest, set in a mixture of oak woodland and grass heathland which is open...

Ocknell Camping in the Forest site is a beautiful site, brimming with character, free-roaming New Forest ponies, history and charm. Ocknell combines tranquil spots set...

Red Shoot is set in the heart of the New Forest, on four acres of level and slightly sloping grass meadows. A simple, rural retreat...

Lytton Lawn is the touring arm of Shorefield Country Park, a nearby holiday home park and leisure centre. Set in eight acres, it provides 13...

Part of the Shorefield Group, this is a peaceful, family-friendly holiday complex featuring caravan holiday homes set on the edge of the Hurn & Avon...

Shamba is a family run, very modern park although the aim remains to create a relaxed, pleasant atmosphere. There are 150 pitches, most used for...

This mature, well maintained site is set in 40 acres of beautiful countryside on the Dorset and Hampshire border. There are 95 touring pitches, 3...

This 11-acre rural park is ideal for those seeking a quiet base but one that is within easy reach of all the main tourist attractions...

Located on the northern edge of the New Forest National Park, this site occupies 14 out of a total of 50 acres of beautiful forest...

Victoria, Martin and Family and their team of rangers offer a very warm welcome, and you can see this site is not just a family...

Harrow Wood Farm Caravan Park is a small family park, set in 80 acres of farmland in the village of Bransgore, just within the New...

Longfield Caravan Park is located on the Dorset Hampshire border between the neighbouring market towns of Christchurch and Ringwood. We are close to the local...

Gorse Farm Caravan Park site is set within level fields amongst mature shrubbery and bordered by ancient woodland, all bursting with wildlife. The site is...

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