The New Forest in Hampshire England exists thanks to King William 1st (William the Conqueror) who, following his punch up with King Harold at the battle of Hastings in 1066 decided he wanted to designate an area to stock with game so that he could hunt deer and boar.
Most of the area of the present day New Forest along with several other forests including Epping, Dean and Windsor were decreed to be Royal parklands in 1079 and duly written into law with harsh penalties for anyone taking the deer and boar. Several villages were relocated for the same purpose.
The name is a good example of early migration of French into the English language. Originally it was declared ‘Nova Foresta’ and is listed in the Domesday book as such. ‘Foresta’ in the French of the time meant ‘open forest ’ whereas denser woodland was, ‘parcus’. The old meanings have since become reversed in modern day English.
Its not clear why but this particular forest, became known as ‘the’ New Forest.
It has since been designated a National Park and is one of the most beautiful. After almost a thousand years, its not exactly new, but nevertheless demonstrates the long foresight of the royal family in response to the usual question ‘what have the Royals ever done for us?’
Maybe a new ‘New Forest’ or two are well overdue what with all the trees getting lost in other places?