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Steeped in history, the New Forest once covered massive areas of south England and is still protected by laws dating back as early as 1079.It is because of these and later laws that there are now some 7,000 livestock that freely graze the New Forest land.The four orphan children of the house, Edward, Humphrey, Alice and Edith, are believed to have died in the flames.However, they are saved by Jacob Armitage, a local verderer, who hides them in his isolated cottage and disguises them as his grandchildren.Edward also encounters the sympathetic Puritan, Heatherstone, placed in charge of the Royal land in the New Forest, and rescues his daughter, Patience, in a house-fire.Edward leaves the cottage and works as a secretary for Heatherstone, but Edward maintains the pretence that he is the grandson of Jacob Armitage.The story begins in 1647 when King Charles I has been defeated in the civil war and has fled from London towards the New Forest.Parliamentary soldiers have been sent to search the forest and decide to burn Arnwood, the house of Colonel Beverley, a Cavalier officer killed at the Battle of Naseby.
The ponies have called the New Forest home for more than 2000 years and little has changed throughout the park since the days when it was out of bounds to everyone but the king who used it as a hunting ground.
Imagine 10,000ha of gorgeous heathlands, the highest concentration of ancient trees in Western Europe, rolling hills, valleys and coastlines.
New Forest camping entails a truly back to nature experience, where fences are almost non-existent and animals and the natural features of the land are offered up right next to pitches.
The Children of the New Forest was written during Marryat's years of retirement in Norfolk, and it was his last novel published during his lifetime.
Marryat would sometimes travel to Hampshire to stay at his brother George's country house, Chewton Glen (now a five star hotel), on the edge of the New Forest.