The New Forest is a fascinating and unusual place. Here are just a few of the reasons.
1. The New Forest is not new: it was created as a royal hunting ground by William the Conqueror in 1079.

2. It is not a forest in the modern sense of being entirely tree-covered: there are large expanses of open heath, bog and grassland in addition to ancient woodland.

3. New Forest ponies, the area’s most famous residents, appear to be wild but they are all owned by people known as commoners whose properties give them historic rights to graze animals.

4. Donkeys, cattle, pigs and sheep also graze freely in the New Forest alongside the ponies.

5. The New Forest has some funny and rude-sounding place names including Sandy Balls, Anthony’s Bee Bottom and Little Stubby Hat.

6. You can make some exotic trips without leaving the New Forest: there are places called Canada, Bohemia and Normandy.

7. Sherlock Holmes author Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, nursing heroine Florence Nightingale and Alice Hargreaves, the inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, are all buried in the New Forest.

8. The New Forest has 26 miles or 42km of coastline.

9. The New Forest is home to some rare and important plants and animals including the wild gladiolus, the Dartford warbler, the southern blue damselfly and the sand lizard.

10.The New Forest is one of Britain’s newest and smallest national parks, designated in 2005.

For more facts like these, see 'The Book of New Forest Lists' in the books section.

Area - 218 square miles

Woodland - 86 square miles

Heathland and grassland - 61 square miles

Farmland - 57 square miles

Coastline - 26 miles

Public footpaths - 141 miles

Highest point - 443ft (135m) near Bramshaw

Tallest tree - 178ft (55m), a giant sequoia on the Rhinefield Drive

Population - 172,000 in the New Forest, 35,000 in the National Park area