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NEW FOREST

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Originally appearing in Volume V19, Page 478 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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NEW FOREST, one of the few woodland regions left in England covering about 93,000 acres in the south-west of Hampshire, between the Solent, Southampton Water and the river Avon. About two-thirds of it is crown property, and is preserved more or less in its natural condition as open woodland interspersed with bogs and heaths. The trees principally represented are oak and beech, with some newer plantations of Scotch fir. The trees were formerly felled for building the ships of the navy and for feeding the iron furnaces of Sussex and Hampshire. Pigs and a hardy breed of ponies find a good living in the forest; and in spite of an act in 1851 providing for their extermination or removal, a few red deer still survive. Foxes, squirrels, otters, snakes (smooth snake, grass snake and adder), butterflies (some of them peculiar to the district), and an occasional badger range the forest freely. The tract derives its name from the extensive afforestation carried through in this region by William the Conqueror in 1079; and the deaths of two of his sons within its confines—Richard killed by a stag, and William Rufus by an arrow—were regarded in their generation as a judgment of Heaven for the cruelty and injustice perpetrated by their father when appropriating the forest. Rufus's stone, near Lyndhurst, marks the supposed spot where that monarch fell. About one-fourth of the area is under cultivation by private owners and tenants. The principal village within the forest is Lyndhurst (pop. 2167 in 1901); its church contains a fresco by Lord Leighton, and here is held the .verderers' court, which since 1887 has had charge of the crown portion of the forest. On the western outskirts lies the town of Ringwood (q.v.). Brockenhurst and Beaulieu are the villages next in importance. Beaulieu, at the head of the picturesque estuary of the Beaulieu river, which debouches into the Solent, is famous for the ruins of Beaulieu Abbey, founded by King John for Cistercians. The gatehouse is restored as a residence, and the Early English refectory as a church. There are considerable remains of the cloisters, chapter house and domestic buildings. The New Forest gives name to a parliamentary division of the county. The New Forest is one of the five forests mentioned in Domesday. It was a hunting-ground of the West Saxon kings, but, as already stated, was afforested by the Conqueror, whose cruelty in the matter is probably exaggerated by the traditional account. One of the chief sources of the wealth of the forest in early times was the herds of pigs fed there. The New Forest being under the forest laws, was affected by the forest clauses to the broken, uneven character of most of the country, and the of Magna Carta and by the Forest Charter (r 217), which mitigated lengthy that thetponds and lls ke find sea.convenient There area in the numerous i d how their severity. The chief officer of this, as of other forests, was considerable streams, the Exploits, the Humber and the Gan three der. the justice in eyre who held the justice seat, the highest forest The first-named rises in the extreme S.W. angle of the island, close court and the only court of record capable of entering and to the southern extremity of the Long Range, and after a course executing judgments on offenders; the lower courts were the of zoo m. falls into the Bay of Exploits, Notre Dame Bay. It is a Swainmote and Wodemote, the former of which is still held, wide at its mouth; its channel is studded with islands, the , largest being Thwart Island, 9 m. in length. Fourteen miles from in a modified form, in the Verderers' Hall of the King's House the mouth is a succession of cascades known as Bishop's Falls, and at Lyndhurst. The circuit of the justices in eyre, or their farther inland are the picturesque Grand Falls. The Exploits deputies, continued down to 1635; they were virtually ended by drains an area of between 3000 and 4000 m., much of it fertile land, the Act for the Limitation of Forests (1640), though Charles II. and densely wooded with pine, spruce, birch and poplar. The width of this fertile belt varies at different parts of the river, but it attempted to revive them, and they were not legally abolished is estimated that some 200,000 acres might be available for agriuntil 1817. The lower officers of the forest, who held merely culture. The Humber rises 20 M. inland from Bonne Bay, and, local appointments, were the verderers, the regarders (one of after emptying itself by a circuitous course into Deer Lake, falls whose duties was that of seeing to the expeditation of " great n inta of Ids. It rains an area of 2000 ear tthelsouthernslcoast, the Gander flows throughsG ndm. sin erRLake dogs ), the foresters, the woodwards and the agisters. There into Hamilton Sound, draining an area of nearly 4000 sq. m. Be-was also a lord warden, who was usually a nobleman and performed sides these three there is the Codroy, rising in the Long Range and no judicial functions. The Deer Removal Act (1851) resulted emptying into the Gulf of St Lawrence. in the almost total extinction of the forest deer. Under the act The immense number of lakes and ponds constitutes perhaps the of r8 the forest is administered rather as a national k most striking physical feature of the island. More than a third of 77 park whole area is occupied by water. These bodies of water, large than for the growing of timber on commercial principles. and small, are found in the most various positions: in the mountain See J. R. Wise, The New Forest (4th ed., 1883), with over sixty gorges; in the depressions between the low hills; in the valleys engravings by W. J. Linton and a dozen etchings by H. Sumner; and even in the hollows on the tops of the highest eminences. The and R. D. Blackmore, Gradock Nowell (1866). largest is Grand Lake, 56 m. long, 5 in breadth, with an area of 192 sq. m. Its surface is but 50 ft. above sea-level, the bottom at
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