Hiking in New Forest National Park, UK and observing free roaming horses and cows and wild deer

I started my hike at 9 am from my hotel in Brockenhurst under a steady downpour in search of elusive wild red deer at the New Forest National Park.

On the way, I met several wild horses and cows, but no deer. Dejected, I decided to return, and, at 6:30 pm., to my welcome surprise, I saw a red deer stag coming out of nowhere and quickly disappearing in the thicket. He was followed by a number of dos.

This was at New Forest National Park on September 29, 2022.

New Forest was created by William the Conqueror around 1079 for the pursuit of the ‘beasts of the chase’ – red, roe and fallow deer and wild pig. Steeped in history, it was converted into a national park on March 01, 2005, thus becoming the newest national park of the UK. It is located in Hampshire county is is a prime destination for residents of Southampton.

The hike near Brockenhurst

Here are some shots of red deer, horses, and cows from my 25 km hike near Brockenhurst. I hiked on a straight trail through grazing grounds and meadows on to a narrow winding trail along the forest area and then into the thick forest of the wildlife conservation area to see various denizens of different ecosystems.

To start with, I hiked on a trail observing horses grazing in vast grassy fields.

Then I got lost and took guidance from a park ranger who directed me to the forest where I could find red deer. On the way, I saw cows grazing and resting in a separate section of grassy field. This was the section where I found myself all alone under intimidating clouds and thought about giving up the hike.

Finally, I reached the forest, where a creek welcomed me. I was all by myself and as the trail progressed it became narrower and the forest denser.

As directed by the park ranger, I reached the Conservation Area where there was a likelihood of seeing the deer.

While hiking in various ecosystems, I observed the following residents working diligently:

Boulderwood

The next day, I did another 15 km hike at the Boulderwood Deer Sanctuary, where I saw fallow deer.

Brockenhurst

In order to explore the national park, I decided to stay in the historical village (or town from Canadian standards) of Brockenhurst. I enjoyed the village, especially the horses who were wandering freely.

where to stay

While there are many excellent quality hotels available in Brockenhurst, I stayed in the Thatched Cottage Hotel (see pictures below).

I must say that this was the best service hotel I have ever stayed in. The staff was really friendly and went out of their way to help me with several matters. The breakfast and evening tea were specially good. My room was small, but exceptionally well maintained.

Another advantage of staying in the hotel as compared to others is that it is very close to Brockenhurst Railway Station and the local market. For a visitor like me who had no car, it was easy to walk from and to the railway station and to move around for shopping, eating, and doing groceries.

final words

Until our next blog, au revoir! Be outdoorsy, embrace diversity, and support causes for the conservation of nature!

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