The New Forest, which lies mostly in Hampshire, southern England, but also touches on the counties of Dorset and Wiltshire, is a vast woodland that dates back nearly a thousand years. It was protected and named as a royal forest by William the Conqueror in 1080, mainly for hunting deer, but some of its heathland areas are far older.
The forest contains hundreds of barrows and ancient monuments. It has also accrued many intriguing legends.
One tale that I find fascinating connects The New Forest with the tales of King Arthur and Excalibur.
During the 1950s, a family were driving along one of the roads that cuts across The New Forest while on holiday. They passed a lake that was edged in mist. In the lake, a few metres from the shoreline, they saw a stone standing out of the water with a sword embedded in it. They drove past, but when they later tried to return, they could not find the lake again. Many people have also searched for it, but no one has ever found it since.