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Tuesday, 23 February 2021

Three Bronze Age Burial Mounds revealed at Franchises Lodge New Forest

Three Bronze Age burial mounds have been revealed at a nature reserve in the New Forest.

NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul advising RSPB volunteers on the clearance of rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge. NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul advising RSPB volunteers on the clearance of rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge.

It took a team of experts and volunteers five days to uncover the mounds, known as round barrows, which were smothered by thick vegetation and trees at Franchises lodge, an RSPB woodland near Nomansland.

Round barrows were created in every part of England, mainly between 2200BC and 1100BC. Over 200 of these still survive in the New Forest today, and they can be identified as round mounds, often surrounded by a ‘ring ditch’ from which the earth for the mound was dug.

The barrows at Franchises Lodge are Scheduled Ancient Monuments and currently on Historic England’s Heritage at Risk Register because of the scrub and tree cover.

During the barrow clearance work, volunteers and RSPB staff were joined by New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul.

NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul helping clear rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge with RSPB volunteers. NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul helping clear rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge with RSPB volunteers.

Hilde said: ‘The burial mounds at Franchises Lodge are called bowl barrows, which are the most common form of Bronze Age round barrow. They would have been constructed anywhere from the Late Neolithic to the Late Bronze Age, probably covering single or multiple burials. These ones are grouped into what is called a barrow cemetery, which is not uncommon for the period.

‘Despite scrub and tree growth these barrows have survived comparatively well. They contain important archaeological evidence relating to their construction, social organisation, ritual and funerary practices, as well as overall landscape context within the New Forest. It is really important that we keep them in good shape for future generations to enjoy.’

It is hoped the clearance work will result in the barrows being removed the Heritage at Risk Register.

RSPB volunteers and NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul discussing the removal of rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge. RSPB volunteers and NPA Community Archaeologist Hilde van der Heul discussing the removal of rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge.

Franchises Lodge is a 1,000-acre woodland of deciduous and conifer trees, which was purchased by the RSPB in 2018. The NPA contributed £200,000 towards buying the land and offers ongoing support and advice.

The RSPB describes Franchises Lodge as a ‘secret forest’ that is home to a wide range of birds, invertebrates and plant life. Public access to the site is currently limited, with plans to fully open the site in the future.

Anneka Schofield, Community Volunteering Development Officer at Franchises Lodge, said: ‘The barrows were in unfavourable condition and largely or completely covered in thick rhododendron and conifer trees. We have cleared all three in line with Hilde’s advice for preserving the integrity of the barrows. Thank you to all our volunteers for their time and effort, and to Hilde for her advice.’

An RSPB volunteer clears rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge. An RSPB volunteer clears rhododendron bushes and other shrubs to help protect Bronze Age barrows at Franchises Lodge.

Learn more about the ‘secret forest’

You can hear more about Franchises Lodge by watching a virtual talk taking place during the NPA’s Awakening Festival.

The secret forest – RSPB Franchises Lodge, on 23 February, is sold out but a recording will be available on the NPA’s website after the event.

The NPA’s Awakening Festival is running throughout February, looking at the climate and nature emergencies. See our website for more virtual events www.newforestnpa.gov.uk


Wednesday, 10 February 2021

Video: Discover the New Forest National Park

The New Forest in southern England UK is a unique landscape shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free.

The New Forest National Park Authority works with others to protect this special place and to increase people's understanding and enjoyment of this world capital for wildlife. Find out more: www.newforestnpa.gov.uk


Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Choice of over 30 Campsites in the New Forest

Experience the beauty of the New Forest where nature thrives with a Camping or Glamping holiday. To help you choose a campsite which fits your individual needs, let me suggest a website that not only has a list of over 30 campsites but also offers a wealth of information and even a mobile phone App.

Camping and glamping marketplace Campsites.co.uk was launched in 2015 and has quickly become one of the UK's favourite websites (and free iPhone apps) for choosing and booking camping holidays.

Founder, Martin Smith, says "Camping isn't just about cheap holidays and the rise of glamping proves it. Disconnecting from technology and getting closer to nature is what appeals to people most, and we want to inspire our audience to get out there and explore."

The site lists 1,200 campsites across the country, with 30+ sites in the New Forest alone. Indeed, it's the site's third most popular region, behind only Cornwall and the Lake District.

Options include everything from well loved holiday parks and Camping in the Forest sites, right down to tiny off-grid glamping sites with alpacas for neighbours.

CLICK HERE for campsites in the New Forest

Monday, 7 August 2017

Help NFNPA care for the New Forest

The New Forest National Park is a great place for walking, dog walking, cycling and horse riding. When you’re enjoying healthy exercise, fresh air, beautiful surroundings and the rich wildlife, please help us to care for this very special place.


Article and photo from: New Forest NPA

Birds: To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.

Dogs: To minimise disturbance to wildlife, livestock and other people, please keep your dogs close by you and visible at all times - if necessary use a lead.  Pick up after your dog, especially around car parks, on paths and where people play or picnic, and take bagged waste home if there is no litter bin.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Five top tips for camping success

shared by National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk

Whether you’re a first-time camper, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in-between, there’s something truly magical about spending a night under canvas.



With campsites at various places we look after across the country, you can camp on a working farm or near a watermill, pitch your tent in a stunning coastal landscape or relax in rolling countryside, nestled in peaks and dales.

Friday, 13 January 2017

Can Dogs Eat Cheese? 10 Toxic Foods, 23 Safe Ones and A Few in the Middle

Dogs and cats are the two most common pets. They are constant companions, and for real dog and cat lovers, they would have more than one pet around with them. Dog owners would have whole kennels of dogs and puppies if they had the space to spare. Of course, the ultimate cat lover would be the cat lady who takes care of more than a dozen pet cats.

Taking care of pets is not an easy task. Besides food and shelter, the owner also has to ensure the good health of the pets. If he had a lot of dogs or cats, a single one of them getting sick might spread the disease with the rest of the household. In the same manner, the owner has to ensure that the foods that the pets eat are healthy and not something that may be toxic.

New pet owners have this mortal fear that their pets would just fall over and die on them. The truth is that there are some types of food which are naturally toxic to dogs and cats. Usually, these toxic foods also happen to be healthy for humans.