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Day 27: Local Historian. The New Forest #64millionartists #thejanuarychallenge Photo by @kirstenjason .
A 500 square mile corner of Hampshire was appropriated in the 11th century by William the Conqueror as a Royal hunting estate and the forest is described in detail in the Domesday Book.
Over the centuries the focus has moved from conserving cover for deer to timber production.
As a result in some regions of the forest you now see large plantations of conifers instead of oaks.
The cattle and ponies roaming freely in the forest help keep the grass in check and this supports rare plant species.( though I’ve just watched a Chris Packham clip where he says the numbers of grazing animals are approaching 3 times more than the number considered essential for a healthy forest environment)
Gorse or furze as it is locally known is widespread and provides shelter and food for ponies, pollen for bees and shelter for large numbers of insects.