The New Forest is internationally recognised as one of the largest areas of heathland in Europe (18,000 hectares).
It has over 3,500 hectares of ancient and ornamental woodlands and about 1,400 hectares of valley mire, and is home to a huge diversity of wildlife.
The forest enjoys protection under the European Directives as a Natura 2000 site and is designated a Special Area of Conservation and a Special Protected Area.
Under planning law, the whole forest is a Site of Special Scientific Interest.
This large area of woods, heaths and mires has been shaped over the centuries by the grazing animals and forestry activities.
It is an oasis of 'wilderness' set amongst the surrounding conurbations.
Use the contents list on the left to find information on conservation and wildlife.