New Forest
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Pony near Hampton Ridge
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park
For comprehensive information about the New Forest National Park

New Forest wild flowers - an introduction

New Forest wild flowers: primroses
New Forest wild flowers: primroses

Wild flowers brighten even the dullest day. Snowdrops in the midst of winter tell of better weather to come, whilst lesser celandines are one of the first signs of spring. Even late-flowering November blooms help hold at bay the prospect of shorter days and longer, colder nights. And of course, all the wild flowers in-between have their own special magic.

Amongst them in the New Forest are some real corkers. There’s the wild gladiolus, which in Britain is found nowhere else, and the tiny bog orchid is almost as rare. Then at the other end of the abundance scale are the heathers, plants that gloriously carpet the mid and late-summer heaths with extravagant colour.

These pages provide an overview of some notable New Forest wild flowers. Many are common and widespread; others take a bit of finding. Most, as will be seen, have been used in herbal medicine, a countryside art based on natural ingredients that pre-dates today’s modern pharmaceutical industry, and many would say, heals just as effectively.

Find out more about New Forest wild flowers

Getting started

Some notable New Forest wild flowers

Wild flowers of the New Forest coast - an introduction to the wild flowers of Keyhaven, Pennington, Normandy and Hurst
Bell heather - dark green foliage is beautifully offset by deeply coloured, robust, red-purple, bell-shaped blooms
Bluebells - one of the great joys of spring
Bog asphodel - cheery, bright yellow mid-summer
Bogbean - surely one of the most exotic blooms to be found in the New Forest
Bog myrtle - source of a delightfully aromatic, eucalyptus-like scent
Butcher's broom - one of the most unusual plants to be found in the New Forest
Cottongrass - the flower-heads are at their most conspicuous in late-spring
Cross-leaved heath - sometimes known as bog heather
Common dodder - a tangled mass of slender, reddy-coloured threads draped over gorse or heather
Foxglove- a plant that thrives in acid soil
Gorse - when gorse is not in bloom, kissing is out of fashion
Great sundew - like the other two related species, these plants supplement the nutrients found in acid, wetland soils by absorbing minerals from insect prey
Heather - often the dominant plant on dry heaths
Honeysuckle - a sweetly aromatic woody climber
Lesser celandine - bespangles our banks with its brilliant, glossy, golden stars
Lousewort - a partial parasite on the roots of other plants
Marsh gentian - it's always a treat to find its bright blue, trumpet-shaped flowers
Oblong-leaved sundew - like the other two related species, these plants supplement the nutrients found in acid, wetland soils by absorbing minerals from insect prey
Orchids - many have conspicuous, extravagantly shaped flowers
Primrose- one of the first flowers of spring
Round-leaved sundew - like the other two related species, these plants supplement the nutrients found in acid, wetland soils by absorbing minerals from insect prey
Wild daffodil - forerunner of the many well-known cultivated varieties
Wild gladiolus - an illustrious member of the iris family
Wood anemone - elegant, erect perennials; members of the buttercup family
Wood-sorrel - one of a number of woodland plants that bloom before the trees come into leaf
Yellow iris - perhaps the most striking plant to be found in the New Forest
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** New Forest ponies and other animals**
New Forest ponies in the road
Commoners' ponies, cattle, pigs, sheep and donkeys are a popular part of the New Forest scene, but during 2019 agisters attended 159 road traffic accidents involving these animals, a disappointing increase on the 154 accidents attended in 2018.

Outrageously, 58 animals were killed - 35 ponies, 13 cattle, 8 donkeys and 2 sheep, whilst a further 32 were injured - 3 pigs, 9 donkeys, 11 cows and 9 ponies.
** Always take care when driving **
New Forest seasonal highlights
Honeysuckle, an early harbinger of spring, shows signs of new growth.
Bird sounds - great tit calls and mistle thrush song, for example, are increasingly heard as the days lengthen and spring rapidly approaches.
Foxes breed during the early months of the year. Their presence is betrayed by barks after darkness falls.

Great grey shrikes hunt over heathland from tree-top vantage points and other perches.
Grey squirrels are often best seen in winter when deciduous trees are devoid of leaves.
Red Admirals and other butterflies that over-winter as adults may be on the wing on warm, bright days.
Roe deer
antlers continue to develop - they are cast and re-grown annually.
New Forest 'what's on' - a small
selection of local events and activities
January 2020
Friday, 10th to Sunday, 12th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Brockenhurst Players present - Cinderella and the Velvet Slipper.
Saturday, 11th to Sunday, 8th March - New Forest Heritage Centre, Lyndhurst, New Forest Camera Club Exhibition, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Saturday, 18th - Lyndhurst Community Centre, New Forest Book Fair, 10.00am - 4.00pm.
Friday, 24th - Friends of St Barbe, Lymington; Reverends, Royalty and Robberies - a talk by Sarah Newman, 7.30pm - 8.30pm.

February 2020
Saturday and Sunday, 1st and 2nd; Saturday and Sunday, 8th and 9th - Vernon Theatre, Sandy Lane, Lyndhurst - Lyndhurst Drama and Musical Society present Aladdin.
Friday, 28th - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Singer / Songwriter, John Adams, 8.00pm - 11.30pm.

For further details, view the full New Forest What's on programme.
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley
Content produced by Andrew Walmsley