Historic walks around Brockenhurst

A pretty village with lots of history

Brockenhurst has long been recorded in history. One of the earliest times was in the Domesday book of 1086 AD when it was noted as having a church and six small holdings.

The village has witnessed tremendous events through wartime and in peacetime. It has become a tourism favourite for visitors to the beautiful New Forest, for its central position and picturesque setting. Visitors can enjoy historic walks around Brockenhurst and understand its strategic position and view sites of historical interest.

The oldest New Forest church

Churches have always been at the heart of village life, and the oldest recorded church in the New Forest is that of St Nicholas’ in Brockenhurst. The site of the church a short distance from Cottage Lodge on the outskirts of the village on a small hill. Its position is significant, as it tells us that this site had an earlier origin, perhaps a pagan temple once stood here or a Romano-British church.

Oldest yew tree

The current church has Anglo-Saxon elements namely Saxon herring-bone work in the nave. Later additions extended the church in the 12th century and then added a tower in the 18th century. Situated in the church yard is an enormous yew tree. This one has been dated and at over 20 ft round is over 1000 years old and would have been here from before the times of William the conqueror.

Who’s laid to rest here?

In this peaceful spot local people remember their dearly departed. Amongst wealthy landowners with elaborate headstones and smaller more humble markings. You will also find Brusher Mills (1840-1905), the celebrated New Forest snake-catcher. He is buried in the churchyard (the ornate headstone shows Brusher outside his woodland hut, holding up a tangle of snakes).

Wartime links

Here lie the graves of more than one hundred New Zealand, Indian and other soldiers who died in Brockenhurst field hospitals during and immediately after the First World War.

An annual service, attended by a representative of the New Zealand High Commission and of the New Zealand Forces, is held on the Sunday next to Anzac Day. Their memorial is a key point to acknowledge when visiting the historical links to the war effort.

Brockenhurst was a key military base in both world wars and also a military hospital town. Here servicemen and women were trained and were also brought to be treated and recuperated here when returning from the continent.

The historical route

There are some historical walks around Brockenhurst that are quite fascinating. You can imagine life here when troops were camped and hotels and stately homes requisitioned for military hospitals. Read more

The stunning scenery and fresh air did wonders for many recovering troops and those who were unfortunate not to survive are remembered in this peaceful tranquil spot at St Nicholas’.

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