In 1887, John Bartholomew's Gazetteer of the British Isles described New Forest like this:
New Forest.-- hundred, in SW. of Hants, 83,737 ac., pop. 9444. The New Forest occupies most of the SW. corner of Hants. It is about 14 miles long N. to S., and 16 miles broad E. to W.; about one-fourth of the area consists of enclosed plantations, and the remainder of open woods, bog, and heath. ...
The absence of underwood gives a beautiful park-like appearance to the New Forest, which contains several large villages-Lyndhurst being the forest capital. Oak and beech are the principal trees, and the former have furnished a great deal of timber for the royal navy. The New Forest was created by William the Conqueror, and still forms part of the Crown demesnes.
GB Historical GIS / University of Portsmouth, History of New Forest in Hampshire | Map and description, A Vision of Britain through Time.
Date accessed: 24th March 2017
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