Thursday, November 6, 2014

New Forest Christmas Fair - come and join in the fun

Children enjoy a wagon ride with Father Christmas
at the 2013 New Forest Christmas Fair.
Kick off the festive season with locally produced seasonal gifts, tasty hot food and wagon rides with Santa at the New Forest Christmas Fair.

After last year’s successful event, which attracted over 10,000 visitors, the fair is returning to New Park, Brockenhurst on Saturday 6 and Sunday 7 December.

The gates are open from 10am until 4pm, with over 100 stalls and food outlets on site as well as a youth choir and Woodfalls brass band playing Christmas tunes. Visitors can purchase their Forestry Commission Christmas tree, enjoy a glass of mulled wine, browse for interesting or unusual locally sourced presents, or sample delicious festive food.

Many of the traders are members of the New Forest Marque, a quality assurance scheme supported by the New Forest National Park Authority. The Marque promotes authentic New Forest fare of the highest quality, and encourages people to shop locally.

If you are a local trader we would like to hear from you, as there are some pitches still available. Make sure you join the many businesses that make the most of this prime opportunity to sell their goods during the build-up to Christmas.

Marque member Catherine Shutler, of Cyril’s Soap Shed, attended the fair last year to sell her goat’s milk soap. Catherine said: ‘The fair is a wonderful event - there are lots of great stalls to buy unique presents and seasonal goodies, and many of the traders are local to the New Forest.

‘The weekend has such a friendly and festive atmosphere, so much so that there are quite a few people who come both days because they have such a good time.’

Sarah Hunt, New Forest Marque manager and fair co-ordinator, said: ‘We’ve run the fair for two years now, and it’s continuing to go from strength to strength. Last year’s event was hugely popular with visitors and stallholders alike, and the 2014 fair will have even more attractions and stalls for everyone to enjoy.

‘Take advantage of the fantastic range of local products on offer and take the hassle out of Christmas by doing all your shopping in one place. And remember – Marque businesses benefit from reduced pitch rates, which is one of dozens of reasons to be a member.’

For more information on the fair, or to reserve a trading stall at the event, email or phone 01590 646692.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Heritage on My Doorstep - have you a desire for local history

Volunteers in the New Forest Heritage on My Doorstep project
Archaeology volunteers in the New Forest
Anyone with an interest in history and a desire to discover more about their local area can unearth the secrets of their community’s past as part of an exciting new project.

Heritage on My Doorstep is a pioneering initiative that will help people in the New Forest to investigate and interpret their area’s past, before sharing their discoveries with the wider community.

The project will be led by the New Forest National Park Authority and will form part of the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme, which will run from 2016 once funding is confirmed.

With support from experts, training in archaeological and research skills, and grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project is an excellent opportunity to find out more about the buildings, people and nature that combine to form your area’s heritage.  

To be one of the communities involved in Heritage on My Doorstep you just need to:

Have a desire to discover your local area and share your findings with the wider community

Have a pool of people who want to support your venture and volunteer their time

Undertake a heritage project and interpret and publicise your findings.
Marian Spain, New Forest National Park Authority member, said: ‘The aim of this exciting four year project is to empower local communities to research and promote their own heritage and interests.

‘You can form a group to research anything and everything that interests you about your local area, which could be how your town or village was established, significant events such as the advent of war, or the history of a certain building, monument or person.’

The Landscape Partnership Scheme is led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners including the Beaulieu Estate, Commoners Defence Association, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Natural England, New Forest Centre, and the New Forest Land Advice Service.

If you have any questions, or would like your community to be involved, contact James Brown at or 01590 646695.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

£46,000 of improvements to open spaces and recreation facilities

new forest national park logoPlay equipment, skateboarding areas and revamped open spaces are just some of the £46,000 of improvements the New Forest National Park Authority has supported thanks to funding from local house builders.

As the planning body for the National Park, the Authority negotiates financial contributions from developers for open space enhancements and then works with town and parish councils to improve recreation facilities across the New Forest.

Since May this year alone, over £30,000 has been handed out to communities to support improvements to local open spaces in the National Park.

Pat Wyeth, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Planning Committee, said: ‘Nearly all local planning authorities require developers to help enhance open spaces to offset new development and make sure communities have open spaces on their doorstep that they can use.

‘This money comes from new developments and can only be spent on outdoor spaces in the community where the building work took place.

‘I’m delighted that parishes are able to see a real benefit from these developer contributions and this funding is making a difference in New Forest communities.’

Schemes allocated funding so far this financial year include:

  • re-surfacing the children’s play area at Highwood Road, Brockenhurst
  • a contribution towards the costs of new skateboard equipment at the Coles Mead Recreation Ground, Lyndhurst
  • new play equipment at Whartons Lane Recreation Ground, Ashurst
  • up-grading the surface around the toddler play equipment at Landford Recreation Ground.

Other projects to benefit in recent years include:

  • enhancing the Great Mead open space, Lyndhurst
  • installing new play equipment at Nomansland Sports Ground.

The Authority continues to work with parish councils in the National Park to identify further projects which could benefit from the funding available.