New Forest is one of the places I've longed to visit in England. I've read Edward Rutherford's The Forest, and many of Gladys Mitchell's mysteries that take place there and I wanted to see it for myself. It is "new" in the sense that William the Conqueror named it Nova Foresta in 1086. It was a Royal hunting forest and deer park. Today "commoners", those who have the right of the Commons, still run their ponies, pigs and cows in the Forest along with 5 varieties of deer.
Badbury Rings a beautiful ancient hillfort. In the back is the Beech Avenue planted in 1835 as an anniversary present to Lady Bankes by Lord Bankes. It's a mile long and was the main driveway to their manor of Kingston Lacey. Some of the trees are beginning to die from simple old age and are being replaced by the National Trust.
On the way back it began to rain and blow from the big storm that was brewing in southern England. By the time we got back to Bere Regis the weather was pretty awful and we weren't sure if we could indeed leave in the morning as we had planned.