In 1079 when William The Conqueror named the area his ‘new hunting forest’, close to 1,000 years later his ‘New Forest’ remains as a National Park. The ancient systems established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and heaths are still in place today.
Hunting Deer required planning, good horsemanship and the ability to handle weapons. It was dangerous. King William’s second son, Richard, and third son, William, were killed whilst hunting in the New Forest as was his grandson, Richard. Hunting was seen at that time as a method of practising many of the skills required for battle.
Fallow deer are today the most commonly seen deer in the New Forest. Numbers are maintained at about 1,300 on the Crown lands. Although not a native species to the UK, they have been present since Norman times and have the longest continuous lineage of any deer species in the Forest.
This time of year the Deer keep in their herds – Stags together separate from the young female deer.