15 photos that will make you want to go camping in the New Forest

From New Forest ponies grazing in the fields to the beautiful beaches of the Solent coast...

Despite its name, the New Forest is neither new, nor, really, a forest. Proclaimed a 'royal forest' by William the Conqueror and featured in the Domesday Book, it is many hundreds of years old and made up not just of trees and woodland but also wide open spaces, unenclosed heathland and patches of pasture where the famous New Forest ponies graze. The result of such an expanse, peppered by woodland and criss-crossed by footpaths, is a veritable camping Mecca. It will come as no surprise to learn that we love camping in the New Forest and, over the years, we've tried to put our finger on exactly why.

What is new about the New Forest is its status as a national park. Officially designate in 2005, it is the youngest of the UK's national parks and, by the most recent count, is estimated to receive some 15 million visitors each year. Many, like us, are heading there with tents and campervans, with bikes in tow to explore the car-free cycle paths and get up close to the deer, ponies and wildlife that make the national park so famous. Its coastline, meanwhile, is perhaps one of the most under-rated stretches of seaside in the UK and, with new campsites like Lepe Beach making beach-side camping possible, is just starting to become better known. Here we've dug into our scrapbook and found some images that we think encapsulate the national park in all its glory. From woodland camping with the ponies to coastal views for a beach bench, this collection has it all. Once you've seen them, you might just want to go camping in the New Forest too!

1. New Forest ponies grazing in the national park

New Forest pony

2. Seaside views from Lepe Country Park

Lepe Beach

3. Camping with the ponies in Ashurst

Ashurst Camping

4. Ivy-clad Beaulieu village

Beaulieu

5. Footpaths across the New Forest heathland

New Forest heathland

6. Cycling on the New Forest's car-free cycle paths

New Forest car-free cycle paths

7. A watery window view in Lymington

Lymington

8. Autumn colours during October

Autumn colours

9. Toasting marshmallows over the campfire at a pop-up campsite

Campfires

10. The New Forest in a full green glory at Ashurst

green glory at Ashurst

11. Youngsters of the New Forest kind gather outside Harry's Field Campsite

Harry's Field Campsite

12. A tent lost among the natural habitat of Roundhill Campsite

Roundhill Campsite

13. Reflections in the woods of the national park

Reflections

14. More New Forest Ponies!

New Forest Ponies

15. Beaulieu Palace House, home of the National Motor Museum

Beaulieu Palace House

Browse all camping and glamping sites in The New Forest