The campsite is located within the New Forest, less than ½ mile from the historic village of Beaulieu. The New Forest was designated a royal forest by William the Conqueror around 1079 mainly for the hunting of deer. As a result he evicted the inhabitants of 36 parishes, however most of the areas where uninhabited as there was poor soil in much of the forest.
Years later tragedy struck when his two sons, Prince Richard and King William II, died in separate “hunting” accidents almost 20 years apart in the New Forest. In 1100, King William II “Rufus” was struck by an arrow while hunting which proved fatal – the reputed spot is marked with a stone called Rufus Stone.
The village of Beaulieu has been accepting visitors since the 13th century when Palace House was constructed in 1204, to act as the gatehouse to Beaulieu Abbey. Palace House, a fine example of gothic architecture, has been the ancestral home of a branch of the Montagu family since 1538 when they bought it from the Crown, following the Dissolution of the Monasteries by Henry VIII.
The Abbey was of a scale and magnificence reflecting its status and importance in the Kingdom. The structure was designed in gothic style with influences of French churches of the day. The church was 102m long and had a semi-circular apse with 11 radiating chapels. South of the church stood a cloister around which were the Chapter House, refectory, kitchens, storehouses and the monks quarters. Most of the church was destroyed in the Dissolution of the Monasteries, the groundplan of the 102m can be seen in the gardens. The Domus now is a museum depicting scenes from monastic life and history of the Abbey since 1204.
In the New Forest, Common rights were confirmed by Statue in 1698 for inhabitants of the area to allow grazing of farm animals in the Forest, provided that the deer and its forage was not interfered with - a punishable offence.
In the 18th and 19th centuries, the forest was used as a source of wood for making the famous battle ships that fought against the French and Spanish fleets to gain supremacy of the seas including some of Lord Nelson's fleet in the Battle of Trafalgar. These ships were built in Buckler’s Hard, a small hamlet a few miles from the village of Beaulieu along the river. More recently, naval history involved the river being a base for many of the landing craft used for the Normandy invasion during the 2nd World War in 1944.
Today many people from diverse backgrounds live in the New Forest National Park enjoying the beautiful setting, numerous outdoor activities, cultural events and wildlife that it offers.