You are about to be transported back in time, to a land of epic battles, dragons, and creatures that spit venom out of their behinds; to a place where life has virtually been untouched for over 1,000 years, and monsters still roam. We’re setting off on an adventure, down to the floor of the ancient New Forest of England. Join us, won’t you?

We’re venturing to southern England and into this legendary time capsule to meet some of the residents that have been around for thousands of years in this edition of Saturdays Around the World!

Established in 1079, New Forest is, arguably, one of humanity’s first established conservation projects. 1 Its lands have hosted a fascinating and colorful history that brings us from Vikings to royal feuds and even recent global wars. But it isn’t this rich human history that’s drawing us to the New Forest in this article…

Image: Stag beetle

Source: Pixabay

I know what you’re thinking: if the forest is so old, why is it called the “New Forest?”

Right, well because at one point in time, this swath of land was new to a little-known man from Normandy they called William the Conqueror. And he’s the one who named it. That is, right after he and his army seized control of the area in 1066. 2

(Side note: New Forest has a seriously rich and fascinating history, from Roman pottery, Vikings, laws, arrows, wild pigs, and both World Wars, but we’re here to talk about monsters, so I’m not going to get too deep into it. The BBC did a really great job giving us the scoop in this article, though! And if you’re interested in the World Wars, they talk about it on the New Forest National Park’s website!)

King William wanted some land to hunt on, and to ensure that the hunting would be good, he set up a system of protection on the land. And in 1079, the New Forest was officially established as royal hunting grounds.

“The ancient system established by William The Conqueror to protect and manage the woodlands and wilderness heaths is still in place today through the efforts of Verderers, Agisters, and Commoners — literally the judges, stockmen and land users of the forest,” reads a passage from the New Forest National Park’s website. 3

But we’re not here to admire the livestock. No, we’re here to meet the monsters that still roam these lands…

This cleverly entertaining film by Oliver Mueller brings us on a grand adventure through an ancient forest and the world that lies just beyond our sights. So put on your battle armor—you’re about to face a few of the monsters that still roam this land today with the film, Medieval Monsters.

(Don’t worry, there’s a cameo from a pony.)

You can see more from Oliver Mueller over on his Vimeo channel or by following him on Instagram and Twitter!

Sure, the history of the New Forest is riddled with tales of conquerors and brutal battles between humans, but there’s a million-year saga happening right under our noses.

When we look closely, we can find epic wars and sieges not recorded in history books; ones that are still happening to this day. And these weapons the soldiers and knights of this insect world are using? They are way cooler than ours will ever be—they have evolution designing them!

It just goes to show, as rich of a history as we think our species has, there are millions of more stories we’ve missed throughout time. We aren’t as different from the other organisms roaming this Earth as we make ourselves out to be.

Want some examples of that? We’ve written some astounding articles about how similar we are to some animals on this planet. Check out these animals and see if you find anything familiar…

20 minutes

Orangutan Culture Feels Very… Familiar

We share 97% of our DNA with orangutans, but what we've known about their cultural customs and habits have been limited... until now.

Read More

25 minutes

You’re Probably More Like a Crow than You Thought

These birds probably live near you, but have you ever noticed just how intelligent they are? No? Well, you’re in for a treat.

Read More

17 minutes

Here’s What Killer Whales Have in Common with Your Grandmother!

Killer whales have more in common with your grandmother than you may think. It's a fascinating story and an opportunity for all of us to easily make the world a little better place today! Turns out, some wise elders of the Pacific Northwest, grandmother killer whales, are at a tipping point for their survival, but we can influence that quickly. This is an amazing story and a chance to be change-makers!

Read More

There’s so much to learn from the other travelers on this earth with us! They may hold knowledge and solutions to address our most vexing problems, if we just took the time to really look at their stories.

Really, all you need to do is see our friends in this circle to see that in action!

Stay open to new possibilities! You never know what player in the history of another creature you are.

  • Sam

“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.” —Albert Einstein 

Want to go on another adventure?

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Nature on EWC!

Notes:

  1. “Explore New Forest History & Heritage.” Visit The New Forest, 2019, www.thenewforest.co.uk/explore/new-forest-heritage. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.
  2. “BBC – Hampshire – Nature – The New Forest’s History.” Bbc.Co.Uk, 2014, www.bbc.co.uk/hampshire/content/articles/2005/03/24/newforest_history_feature.shtml. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019
  3. “Explore New Forest History & Heritage.” Visit The New Forest, 2019, www.thenewforest.co.uk/explore/new-forest-heritage. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019. 5

    By working together, these groups manage the thousands of ponies, cattle, and sheep that freely roam the land. 6Wikipedia Contributors. “Agister (New Forest).” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 3 Mar. 2019, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Agister_(New_Forest). Accessed 3 Dec. 2019.

  4. Mueller, Oliver. “Medieval Monsters.” Vimeo, 3 Sept. 2015, vimeo.com/138236113. Accessed 3 Dec. 2019..

Sam Burns

Editor in Chief

Sam is a listener, creator, collector of knick-knacks and lover of most, if not all, types of cheese.