e Ne w For­est

Digital SLR Photography - - The Location Guide -

A fi rst time vis­i­tor to the New For­est may be sur­prised to en­counter a land­scape that con­sists of much more than sim­ply wood­land. To re­ally ap­pre­ci­ate the va­ri­ety of landscapes that make up the New For­est, it is im­por­tant to un­der­stand a lit­tle of its his­tory. Af­ter the Nor­man con­quest of Bri­tain in 1066, King Wil­liam I des­ig­nated the area as his ‘ Nova Foresta’, his New For­est. Back in those days the word for­est had a very di er­ent mean­ing to to­day, loosely trans­lated as a hunt­ing ground. The King de­clared this area for the Crown, and re­quired an un­re­stricted land­scape of trees, heath­land and open lawn in which to hunt. As a re­sult, strict laws were im­posed on the New For­est; these laws have pre­served the area over hun­dreds of years re­sult­ing in the fa­mil­iar land­scape of both wood­land and heath­land we recog­nise to­day.

The wood­land ar­eas are per­haps the most ap­peal­ing for pho­tog­ra­phers, for­tu­nately the New For­est is home to some of the fi nest old de­cid­u­ous woods in the coun­try. The in­clo­sures near the town of Lyn­d­hurst are par­tic­u­larly pho­to­genic and boast some of the old­est trees in the for­est. From Emery Down, near Lyn­d­hurst, head up the small wood­land road to­wards Bold­er­wood, and then re­turn to Lyn­d­hurst via the Bold­er­wood Ar­bore­turm Or­na­men­tal Drive. This route passes through some of the fi nest de­cid­u­ous wood­land the for­est has to o er, with car parks along the way pro­vid­ing plen­ti­ful op­por­tu­ni­ties to stop and ex­plore. The for­est is sec­tioned into a se­ries of in­clo­sures and there are wind­ing paths all over. For the more ad­ven­tur­ous head o the paths and lose your­self in the woods!

Although the chaotic na­ture of trees can make wood­land pho­tog­ra­phy no­to­ri­ously chal­leng­ing, things are a lit­tle eas­ier in the New For­est. The free roam­ing ponies, plus large pop­u­la­tions of deer, keep the for­est fl oor well grazed, pre­vent­ing clut­ter from bushes and saplings that make many wood­land scenes busy and con­fus­ing. One of the fi nest ar­eas for pho­tog­ra­phy along the or­na­men­tal drive is Mark Ash Wood. Many an­cient beech trees can be found in this wood­land, some of which have been pol­larded to cre­ate enor­mous spread­ing branches.

A lit­tle fur­ther along the road, the Knight­wood In­clo­sure is home to many of the old­est trees in the for­est, in­clud­ing its most fa­mous res­i­dent the Knight­wood Oak. This enor­mous tree, be­lieved to be be­tween 450– 600 years old, is not the eas­i­est to pho­to­graph, but many ma­ture oaks in the nearby wood­lands make ex­cel­lent sub­jects.

As you would ex­pect, the de­cid­u­ous wood­lands look their best in late au­tumn, when the trees are re­splen­dent in golden

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