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Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Milford on Sea plans to improve wooded areas

Milford Conservation Volunteers working on restoring wooded areas.
Milford Conservation Volunteers restoring woodland footpaths.
Residents and wildlife in Milford on Sea are set to benefit from plans to improve wooded areas in the coastal village.

To ensure that the area’s woodlands continue to flourish, Milford on Sea Parish Council and the Milford Conservation Volunteers have worked with the New Forest Land Advice Service to develop a 10 year Woodland Management Plan.

Woodland covers 10 per cent of the parish, with many sites designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and Local Nature Reserves. These broad-leaved woodlands boast a range of impressive native trees, including oak, ash and alder.

However these sites also contain non-native plants and trees, which affect the vitality of the woodlands’ native flora and the wildlife they support.

The plan seeks to tackle these challenges through measures that include:

  • Removing a small number of trees each year to improve the overall health of the woodland
  • Surveying invasive non-native plant species and eradicating the most harmful
  • Improving habitats for butterflies and other insects by traditional coppicing of some trees, which involves cutting them down to ground level to stimulate new growth
  • Creating more open sunny glades and maintaining existing glades
  • Restoring footpaths and important heathland habitat.

Graham Wells, Parish Clerk of Milford on Sea Parish Council, said: ‘The Parish Council thanks the Land Advice Service for all their efforts in the production of the 10 year management plan for the woodlands. Thanks also go to the Milford Conservation Volunteers for their efforts helping to manage the site for wildlife and people.’

Keith Metcalf, Milford Conservation Volunteer, said: ‘We are delighted that the Parish Council has adopted the Land Advice Service’s woodland management plan recommendations.

‘Local conservation volunteers have been at the forefront of helping develop the plan and have been instrumental in bringing the conservation management of the Pleasure Grounds woodlands to fruition over the past 20 years. We shall continue to offer our voluntary services to the council to undertake much of the work, which under the management plan will continue at a measured pace.’

Angela Peters from the New Forest Land Advice Service, said: ‘It’s excellent news to see these fantastically diverse woodlands being managed better for wildlife and local people. We hope that this plan will help butterflies, native bluebells and many other plants and animals associated with British woodlands thrive for years to come.’

A copy of the full management plan is available at the Milford Parish Office on the High Street in Milford on Sea from 10am to 12pm on weekdays or by emailing Angela.Peters@nflandadvice.org.uk.

Details of the work of the Milford Conservation Volunteers, and how you can get involved, can be found at www.milfordcv.org

The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

New Forest Commoners Grants to support ancient tradition

Farmer Simeon Morgan with Rhys Morgan discussing New Forest Commoners Grant Scheme
Farmer Simeon Morgan with Rhys Morgan
of the New Forest Land Advice Service.
A new grants scheme has launched to provide commoners in the New Forest with much-needed funds to support their traditional way of life.

Commoners make use of ancient rights attached to their property to turn out livestock onto the open areas of the New Forest. This new scheme is intended for commoners with animals such as ponies, cattle and pigs grazing on the National Trust’s Northern Commons, which are:

  • Hale Purlieu
  • Bramshaw Commons
  • Ibsley Common
  • Rockford Common
  • Hightown Common.

The fund is administered by the New Forest Land Advice Service on behalf of the National Trust’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, providing individual grants of up to £1,000 for improvements such as:

  • Fencing for back up grazing sites where animals could be introduced
  • Replacing or renovating farm structures to support stock management      
  • Establishing livestock handling facilities
  • Introducing water supply to enable grazing
  • Creating hard-standing storage and feeding areas within a smallholding.

New Forest Land Advice Service Manager Julie Melin-Stubbs said: ‘We look forward to working with commoners who put animals out to graze on the Northern Commons by helping them apply to this new grants scheme.

‘Working in partnership with the National Trust, we hope to encourage commoners to undertake innovative work which will benefit their farms, livestock and the New Forest in general.’

Lee Hulin, National Trust Lead Ranger, New Forest Northern Commons, said: ‘Commoners’ free-ranging livestock are essential to the New Forest National Trust Commons, continually supporting the conservation of these precious open heath landscapes.

‘The National Trust is pleased to work with the Land Advice Service in offering grant support for sustainable commoning practice on our commons, to benefit the conservation of these areas for many years to come.’

Commoner Rick Manley, from Cadnam, said: ‘There are many challenges we face as commoners, including the ever-increasing cost of looking after animals and turning them out onto the Forest. This grant scheme should help commoners to maintain and improve the infrastructure that is essential if we are to continue with our traditional way of life.’

If you would like to find out more about applying for this grants scheme, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/LASgrants. Alternatively email enquiries@nflandadvice.org.uk or call land adviser Rhys Morgan on 01590 646688.

The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.