Buying a property in the New Forest National Park


The New Forest has existed many centuries, being declared a Royal Forest in about 1079, following the Norman Conquest of England.  The forest was created at the expense of over 20 smaller hamlets and hence it became known as the ‘New’ forest.  Being mainly used for hunting, mostly deer that roamed freely in the forest.

The New Forest was first recorded as Nova Foresta in the Doomsday Book in about 1086 and is the only forest that the book describes in detail.

One of the attractions of living in the New Forest is that there are certain rights, known as Commoner Rights, which can provide valuable amenity to those having such rights, these are briefly outlined below.

In March 2005 the New Forest was designated a National Park and today it remains a place which is popular with both visitors and those living in or close to the Forest.


A Commoner in the New Forest are people who occupy land or property which has the benefit of one or more rights to use the Forest for a particular purpose, these rights include:

  • Common of pasture: commonable animals  which include ponies, cattle, donkeys and mules  and these can be turned out into the Open Forest;
  • Common of pasture for sheep: although some of the larger estates have this right, it is only infrequently exercised and as such may not be applicable to the majority of land/properties in the New Forest;
  • Common of mast: this gives the right to turn out pigs in the autumn to eat the acorns which may have fallen – this provides a valuable source of food for the pigs and reduces the threat to ponies and cattle from the poisonous acorns;
  • Estovers (Fuelwood): certain properties enjoy the free supply of a stipulated amount of firewood;
  • Common of marl: occupiers/owners of agricultural land can use this right to dig clay to improve their agricultural land – this right is no longer exercised and as such likely not as relevant to modern property buyers;
  • Common of turbary:  this right gives a Commoner the right to cut peat turves for their personal use.
  • Probably the most important right is the Common of Pasture.   This gives those with the benefit of this right to allocate a brand for their animals, however those who wish to exercise this right must apply to the Verderers’ Clerk who will confirm the existence of the right and allocate a brand for the animals. Once branded, they may be turned out into the Forest upon payment of a Marking Fee to the local Agister


There are a wide variety of properties available to purchase in the New Forest National Park, ranging from Listed Buildings both large and small, to more modern properties including brand new flats and houses in places like Lyndhurst and other settlements, along with bespoke new build properties in various villages and hamlets, such as Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Lymington (surrounds), Sway, Burley, Boldre, etc.

New Forest National Park Map

Castle Surveyors Limited have undertaken inspections and surveys throughout the New Forest National Park including Building Surveys and Homebuyer Reports on most types of property.  We’d be pleased to assist you in your purchase of a property within the New Forest National Park and being based ourselves just on the border of the forest and regularly walking our Labrador in the New Forest, we are confident we can provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision.



To get an initial quotation or book your survey, simply call us on 0800 246 1002, email or book online at