New Forest – The Crown’s Hunting Ground
Hosted by Hugh Bonneville
A captivating one-hour documentary shot in the heart of Southern England where a royal forest lies. Cameras capture a wild and magical place of ancient beauty that’s hardly changed since King William the Conqueror proclaimed it as his hunting grounds some 900 years ago. In this one-hour film, witness a remarkable year in the life of the forest, told through the eyes of its most iconic inhabitants: New Forest Pony spring foal, a pair of rare goshawks nesting in the ancient woods and a fallow red deer stag.
Stretching south from the famous Salisbury Plains to the shores of The Solent, which flows into the English Channel, the New Forest National Park is the largest and richest lowland wilderness in Britain, home to more ancient woods, mossy mires and rich heathlands than any other landscape in Europe. From feast to famine, New Forest – The Crown’s Hunting Ground is an extraordinary tale of how people and animals have shaped the destiny of a royal forest.
“An ancient landscape and a contemporary haven for Britain’s wildlife, The New Forest is one of the nation’s jewels,” said host Hugh Bonneville. “It is a unique and precious environment, brilliantly captured in this enthralling and thought-provoking film.”
- “This was a beautifully shot documentary charting a year in the life of the New Forest… it was a pleasure to watch…” – The Telegraph
- “The photography was exquisite in this portrait of a year in the national park.” – The Sunday Times
Filming in the New Forest during COVID
Big Wave were given special permission to film this during lockdown from the Forestry Commission England. The film was shot by James Aldred and the local camera team consisted of Matt Roseveare, Manny Hinge, Max Smith, James Blake, Alex Meacock, Chris Openshaw, Chris Watts and Aaron Cook. Specialist goshawk filming with Lloyd and Rose Buck.
New Forest Musical Score
The film has fantastic original score from David Mitcham and mixed by Andrew Wilson, Owen Peters and Nick Allan from RedSix Mix. Post production was from Wez Hibberd and online from Jon Ramsey at Film at 59.
US Broadcast title on Smithsonian and Terra Mater: The Crown’s Ancient Forest
New Forest Ponies
A cherished breed native to the New Forest, embody the region’s timeless charm and natural beauty. These hardy, sure-footed ponies roam freely amidst ancient woodlands and heathlands. With their friendly nature and robust build, they have become beloved icons of the National Park. Renowned for their adaptability and calm temperament, these ponies are often seen grazing peacefully on the heath and in the villages and towns. Visitors must not approach or touch the ponies as they are wild animals.
A symbol of the area’s rich cultural heritage, New Forest Ponies are a living testament to the harmonious relationship between humans and nature in this enchanting part of the world.
The New Forest Goshawk
A magnificent raptor species found in the ancient woodlands of the New Forest, represents the wild essence of this pristine natural habitat. With its powerful wings and keen eyesight, the Goshawk is a masterful hunter, preying on small mammals and birds in the dense forest canopies. Its presence in the New Forest ecosystem highlights the area’s biodiversity and the delicate balance of nature within its borders.
Fallow Deer have a long history in the New Forest, dating back to the time of William the Conqueror in the 11th century. William designated the area as a royal hunting ground, introducing fallow deer and other game species to ensure a steady supply of game for hunting.
Over the centuries, fallow deer populations here thrived and became an integral part of the forest ecosystem. They were managed and protected by various royal decrees and forest laws to sustain the hunting traditions of the nobility. The deer were highly prized for their meat and antlers, and their management was carefully regulated.
During the Victorian era, hunting became less of a royal prerogative, and the emphasis shifted towards conserving wildlife and preserving the natural habitat. Efforts were made to protect the fallow deer population, marking a significant shift in the forest’s management approach.
Today, fallow deer continue to roam freely, representing a living link to its historical past. They are a vital component of the forest’s biodiversity.
Red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) are the predominant species found in this region. They are known for their adaptability and are well-suited to the diverse habitats present in the New Forest, which includes woodlands, heathlands, and grassy meadows.
Foxes in the here are often observed at dawn or dusk, foraging for food, which primarily consists of small mammals, birds, insects, and berries. The New Forest provides an ideal environment for these omnivorous creatures, and they play a crucial role in maintaining the ecosystem’s balance by controlling certain small mammal populations.
While foxes are a cherished and iconic part of the Forest’s natural heritage, visitors and locals are encouraged to enjoy them from a respectful distance. Feeding or approaching wild foxes can disrupt their natural behaviour and have adverse effects on their overall health and wellbeing. As such, the New Forest emphasises responsible and sustainable wildlife viewing of all animals to ensure their well-being and the preservation of their natural habitat.
Big Wave in the New Forest
Other Big Wave films on The New Forest
New Forest: A Year In The Wild Wood – A BBC4 film with Peter Owen- Jones
New Forest Short Films – For The New Forest National Park
- Presented by:HUGH BONNEVILLE
- Produced & Directed By:SARAH CUNLIFFE
- Produced & Directed By:EMMA ROSS
- Head of Production:VANESSA TUSON
- Editor:RHIANNON BURTON
- Writer:NIGEL POPE
- Director of Photography:JAMES ALDRED
- Additional Camera:JAMES BLAKE
- Additional Camera:AARON COOK
- Additional Camera:MANUEL HINGE
- Additional Camera:ALEX MEACOCK
- Additional Camera:CHRIS OPENSHAW
- Additional Camera:MATT ROSEVEARE
- Additional Camera:MAX SMITH
- Additional Camera:CHRIS WATTS
- Camera Assistant:LUKE BROWN
- Camera Assistant:ALEX JOHNSTON
- Camera Assistant:JACKIE LEY
- Sound Recordist:TOM MUNDAY
- Animal Wrangler:LLOYD & ROSE BUCK BIRD SPECIALISTS
- Researcher:BOBBY CROSS
- Researcher:JACK HEWITT
- Music:DAVID MITCHAM
- Post Production:FILMS AT 59
- Colourist :WEZLEY HIBBERD
- Online Editor:JON RAMSEY
- Sound Post Production:RED SIX
- Re-Recording Mixer:ANDREW WILSON AMPS CAS
- Sound Editor:NICHOLAS ALLAN AMPS MPSE
- Sound Editor:OWEN PETERS AMPS MPSE
- Graphics:ROSIE MILES
- Stock Footage:NATURAL WORLD UK
- Stock Footage:POND 5
- Program Consultant:FORESTRY COMMISSION ENGLAND
- Program Consultant:ESTA MION
- Program Consultant:ANDY PAGE
- Special Thanks:COMMONERS DEFENCE ASSOCIATION
- Special Thanks:NEW FOREST NATIONAL PARK AUTHORITY
- Special Thanks:MATT DAVIS
- Special Thanks:LINDA DEVLIN
- Special Thanks:ERICA DOVEY
- Special Thanks:TIM GOLDFINCH
- Special Thanks:NIGEL HACKING
- Special Thanks:TONY HOCKLEY
- Special Thanks:SONNY & ISAAC LOVELL
- Special Thanks:MARTIN & JULIA NOBLE
- Special Thanks:JEHANNA & PHIL STRIDE
- Special Thanks:NICK STRINGER
- Special Thanks:STEVE WHITE
- Special Thanks:DANIEL WILDING
- Special Thanks:RUSSELL WYNN
- Terra Mater Executive Producer:MARTIN MÉSZÁROS
- Smithsonian Channel Executive Producer:TRIA THALMAN
- Smithsonian Channel Vice President of Post Production:KELLI HEROD
- Smithsonian Channel Vice President of Production Management:ADDIE MORAY
- Smithsonian Channel Vice President, Original Documentaries, MTV Entertainment Group:PAM AGUILAR
- Smithsonian Channel Head - SVP, News and Documentaries, MTV Entertainment Group :JAMES BLUE