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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Totton young volunteer UK to open New Forest fair

This year’s expanded New Forest Volunteer Fair is set to be opened by the National Parks UK young volunteer of the year.

Karl Epps National Parks UK young volunteer to open 2016 New Forest Fair
National Parks UK young volunteer of the year, Karl Epps (left), at the 2015 New Forest Show. Karl is helping to build a cob wall with National Park Authority Archaeologist Frank Green.
Karl Epps from Totton received the prestigious national award after impressing the judges with his work as a volunteer with the New Forest National Park Authority over the last two years.

Now Karl, a wheelchair user, is set to welcome a record 40 organisations to this year’s fair, where local people can follow his lead and change their lives through volunteering.

Hundreds are expected to attend the free fair from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 30 January at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Organisations taking part include the RNLI, Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Scouts and the National Trust.

Opportunities on offer at the fair include recording wildlife, inspiring youngsters, restoring landscapes and helping some of society’s most vulnerable.

As well as helping local communities and the environment, volunteering is also good for volunteers, helping people find friends, reach out to the community, improve our mental and physical wellbeing and even advance our careers.

Karl is a Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Young Champion and has done a variety of volunteering roles, from helping to maintain gardens, to assisting in office work, to interacting with the general public.

Karl said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d won this award – I thought someone was playing a joke on me!

‘Volunteering helps other people out, keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering over the years, including working on a farm and helping visitors to the New Forest Show.

‘Volunteering is great – anyone interested should definitely give it a go. It makes you believe in yourself and helps you realise your own potential in life, it certainly did for me. The volunteer fair is the perfect way for people to get started. Come along, have a look around and find an opportunity that suits you.’

To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New Forest high-tech archaeology weekend for all ages

Join archaeologists and computer game specialists for an interactive weekend of gaming, history and cutting edge technology.
Archaeology and gaming weekend New Forest Centre Lyndhurst New Forest
Family at an interactive stand
at New Forest Heritage Weekend 2015

See how researchers have been able to use new technologies to bring the forgotten history of the New Forest to life and try your hand at a wide range of hands on activities:

  • explore virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites found in the New Forest and immerse yourself in augmented reality worlds
  • experience virtual reality through Oculus Rift goggles and through your phone with Google Cardboard
  • see 3D models of shipwrecks, produced the Maritime Archaeology Trust
  • try your hand at re-creating your own archaeological site with Minecraft 
  • have your Minecraft model judged - the best over the weekend will receive a personalised map, courtesy of Ordnance Survey.

Lawrence Shaw, Heritage Mapping and Data Officer, said: ‘If you have an interest in technology or archaeology you are certain to find something that excites you at this event.

 ‘Archaeologists will be on hand both days to talk you through their exciting discoveries and show you how to use cutting edge technology. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that the whole family can enjoy then please do come down and see us.’

The Digi Arc weekend also provides a last chance to see the popular exhibition Shedding Light on the New Forest’s Past. It charts the high tech approaches to discovering archaeology taken in the National Park and has attracted more than 15,000 visitors since September. The exhibition is open daily at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and runs until 24 January.

The exhibition covers the work of the Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme - a habitat restoration project run by the Verderers, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Natural England.

Find out more about the Digi Arc weekend at