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Monday, 27 December 2010

Hedge fund help for landowners

Hedgelaying
Wildlife will cash-in on new improvements in Brockenhurst thanks to a different kind of ‘hedge fund’ to benefit the New Forest landscape.

Launched in February, the New Forest Land Advice Service aims to support land managers for the benefit of the environment and already has 140 cases on its books.

Funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Natural England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the independent service has been helping with everything from paperwork, managing hedgerows, and eradicating non-native plants, to training young commoners in managing back-up grazing land.

The Service’s small grants scheme - which has a total fund available of £20,000 for capital works – gave £2,000 towards a hedge-laying project in South Weirs, Brockenhurst.

Landowner and commoner Tina Campbell noticed the hedgerow was no longer thriving and applied for money towards rejuvenating the 185 metre-long stretch, using hazel stakes and binders to stabilise it.

Land Advice Service Manager Julie Stubbs said: ‘Hedges can become old, leggy and overgrown with one species so we encourage landowners to lay it down so it thickens up from the base.

‘This hedgerow acts as a wildlife corridor, connecting the open Forest with a field, woodland and stream, and it helps animals to travel between the habitats. Bats will use it to guide them and it is also beneficial for small mammals, birds, butterflies and insects.’

Julie and her team of Rhys Morgan and Mark Larter are experts in delivering this type of land management advice in the New Forest and Avon Valley.

The grants scheme funding comes from the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship Scheme.

To find out more about the Land Advice Service, call Julie on 01590 646696 or email Julie.stubbs@nflandadvice.org.uk

Friday, 24 December 2010

NFNPA - Consultation meetings a success

A series of four consultation meetings organised by the New Forest National Park Authority have been a success with approximately 200 people attending to find out more about the national review of the governance arrangements of National Parks.

The meetings were part of a wider consultation to engage people in how the governance of National Parks can be made more effective, and how National Park Authorities can strengthen links with their local communities.

The meetings were held at Brockenhurst, Lyndhurst, Landford and Hyde. At each meeting visitors were encouraged to pick up a copy of the Defra (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) consultation document, listen to a formal presentation and speak to Authority members and staff.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘I’m extremely pleased with the turn-out at these meetings. Despite the difficult weather conditions people were keen to come along and learn more.

‘This consultation affects everyone who lives in a National Park. We wanted to engage with as many people as possible who have an interest in the New Forest National Park to enable them to have their say.’

If you were unable to attend any of the meetings you can still have your say. Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/governancereview to view the consultation document. The consultation is running until the 1 February 2011.

The Government will announce if any changes are to be made to National Park governance by the end of March 2011.

Friday, 17 December 2010

Photography Exhibition at New Forest Centre

Winner Jason Chalk Donkies in Linwood New Forest
Brighten up your January by taking a trip to the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst to visit the free ‘Dream View’ photography exhibition - celebrating what people enjoy most about the New Forest.

The exhibition is part of a competition run by the New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry Commission during 2010.

Martin O’Neill, Director of Information and Visitor Services, said: ‘The standard of this year’s competition was exceptionally high. We had a large volume of entries and people have been really creative with their choice of images.

‘By exhibiting the winners and runners-up we hope to inspire more people to explore the New Forest and to take in its “special qualities”. Taking pictures enables you to stop and take in your surroundings. You might have visited a place many times before but stopping to take a picture might show you something new and interesting.

This year’s winners are:
1st prize Jason Chalk - 2nd prize Colin Roberts - 3rd prize Peter Power

Under 16s winner:
Chloe Hinton

Second Prize Colin Roberts Land of mist Beaulieu Heath
This year’s winners won Jessops photography vouchers.

For the first time the New Forest National Park Authority will be selling exclusive canvases of the New Forest that are normally only available on their online shop Forest Store.

The exhibition starts on the 8 January and finishes on the 6 February 2011.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

New Forest – The one-stop shop for Christmas

Do you ever wish that you could get everything you need for a traditional Christmas here in the New Forest?

Now you can make Christmas a truly New Forest experience by using only local food, buying Forest-inspired presents, decorating your tree using only natural decorations and walking off dinner with a Boxing Day walk.

Top tips for a New Forest Christmas:

Under £10 wowphotomug

Looking for a present no one else will have? Visit the   Forest Store at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst for unique and inspired New Forest National Park gifts. There is exclusive outdoor gear and a range of gifts including a pony safety-promoting ice-scraper and a photo mug with a picture that magically appears when you pour hot water in it.

For local produce visit the New Forest Marque website www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/new-forest-produce, an award scheme managed by the New Forest National Park Authority and New Forest District Council. All the food and craft is guaranteed to be local. It is the perfect place to find out where to buy your goose and Brussels sprouts!

Buy your Christmas tree from the Forestry Commission at New Park, Brockenhurst. Trees are on sale from 10am-4pm until the 19 December.

Get some fresh air and walk off your Christmas excesses in the New Forest. There are a range of walks to suit every ability. For more details visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walking

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

If you go down to the woods today…

Den building at Copythorne Common
If you go down to the woods today… you’re sure to find children enjoying the New Forest in ways not seen before.

The New Forest National Park Authority introduced the Forest Schools initiative to the National Park to encourage children to discover more about the natural world on their doorstep. The scheme, based on a Scandinavian concept, is designed to improve children’s self esteem, bolster language skills, encourage team working and increase independence.

The National Park Education Team organised introductory Forest School training events for teachers and outdoor education officers within the National Park, including staff from the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, who have gone on to become qualified leaders in the scheme.

Children aged six and seven from the Infant Schools at Copythorne, St Michael’s in Lyndhurst, and Netley Marsh recently enjoyed a Forest Schools course run by Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s staff at its Copythorne Common Nature Reserve, opposite Copythorne Infants School.

They built shelters, made bridges, crafted decorations from materials they found in the Forest and cooked toast on an open fire with tools they had made.

National Park Education Officer Amanda Elmes said: ‘A lot of research has shown that children don’t get as many opportunities these days to explore the natural world. These children are the future guardians of the New Forest and by enjoying and understanding what makes the National Park so special, we hope they are more likely to care for it as adults.

‘Another spin-off is that we know children bring their experience home and ask their parents to take them outdoors at the weekend or in the school holidays. Parents’ interest and attitude towards the outdoors also changes as they see the impacts on their children.’

Research has shown that learning new skills in an outdoor setting has been particularly successful in motivating children who have challenging behaviour in the classroom.

Jill Gower, Deputy Headteacher at Copythorne Infant School, said: ‘Generally children are always being told to be quiet but here they can run and shout and kick leaves and it doesn’t matter. There are strict rules about safety and it is all carefully guided by adults but the children are encouraged to take
responsibility and set the boundaries, which are good life skills.

‘During the Forest Schools programme, some children who can be quite challenging in the classroom became completely engaged in building dens and their behaviour was totally different – they were very involved and it was giving them success in something perhaps they would not normally find success in, which was a real boost to their self-esteem. The children suddenly seemed to blossom more outside.’

Sam Dawson, Education Officer at the Wildlife Trust, said over 90 children from the three schools had taken part in the programme.

Wildlife Trust education officer Jim Day and
National Park education officer Amanda Elmes

She said: ‘We worked with the children over six weeks and they get very comfortable in the environment and it often helps to open up the emotional and social skills that you are trying to draw out in the classroom. The children are given the scope to explore and assess their own risks.’

If you would like to learn more about the Forest Schools initiative in the New Forest National Park, contact the Education team on 01590 646680 or email education@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Deer Species of the New Forest and British Isles

One of the commonest mammals that you will see in the New Forest is deer.

5 of the 6 species found in the British Isles live in the Forest but how can you tell them apart?

This article will help you identify the animals you have seen or will see when you visit and give you additional interesting information. Read full photo illustrated article at: http://www.squidoo.com/britishdeerspecies

Guest Post by Jenny Fletcher

Thursday, 9 December 2010

National Park members adopt Core Strategy

The New Forest National Park Authority’s members adopted the first set of dedicated planning policies for the New Forest National Park at today’s Authority meeting (Thursday 9 December).

An independent Government Planning Inspector endorsed the planning policies for the New Forest National Park in October, declaring that ‘…the Authority’s ‘Core Strategy’ provides an appropriate and sound basis for planning within the National Park.’

Member adoption of the Core Strategy follows an extensive and lengthy consultation process with a very wide range of public and private sector organisations and individuals. Around 10,000 people have been involved in the consultation over the last two years.

Hundreds of existing planning policies have now been simplified from the five plans that covered the New Forest into a succinct set of 42. The Core Strategy document will be used to guide decisions on planning applications within the whole of the National Park up to 2026.

Before members could adopt the Strategy it had to undergo an examination in public by an independent planning inspector in September, at which he invited a wide range of organisations and individuals to give evidence.  He also took into account the 10,000 comments received during the draft plan consultation. A report on his findings was produced and he judged that the Strategy met all its legal requirements and was judged to be ‘sound’ in that it was justified and consistent with national policy.

The Inspector supported the modest level of housing development proposed within the National Park, highlighting its role in maintaining the vitality of local communities and in sustaining local services. The Authority’s proposals to increase the proportion of local affordable housing sought on development sites within the main villages were also endorsed.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Now that the Core Strategy is formally adopted it should significantly simplify the planning policy framework for the National Park. After an extensive consultation process, we believe the Core Strategy strikes the right balance in seeking to enhance and protect the New Forest environment, whilst sustaining the social and economic well-being of the national park communities.'

Pat Wyeth, Chairman of the Planning Development Control Committee added: ‘I am pleased the Core Strategy is now adopted. It will make it much more straight forward now that the National Park has ownership of its own policies.’

All planning applications decided after 9 December 2010 will be made in accordance with the new Core Strategy policies.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

New on-line search facility for people looking for
Care in the South

Rob and Lynn Osborne
People looking for care providers throughout Southampton, Winchester and the New Forest can take advantage of a free service that has been launched in Hampshire.

Choosemycare.com provides a free search facility for people looking for care to help them find the right provider in their area offering the right services – whether it is for the elderly, young, disabled or those with other difficulties.

The service is also providing the information that is increasingly being required of local authorities across the country, but which many councils are struggling to provide.

Lyndhurst-born social care expert Rob Osborne launched Choosemycare.com with his wife Lynn after recognising there was a need for people who are looking for care, often at a time of great stress, to find the information they needed quickly and efficiently.

There are already hundreds of care providers from Southampton, Winchester, the New Forest and right across Hampshire enrolled on the service and there are ambitious plans to broaden it regionally and nationally.

“It is clear that people needed a way to cut through the red tape and the difficulties of getting to the right care provider for their needs,” said Rob, a Department of Health social care consultant who has worked with local authorities on their care provision.

“Choosemycare.com makes it easy for people to find the right care provider in their area, and as we develop the site there will be even easier ways for people to get the service they need at what is usually a time of great stress or upset.

“Local authorities are coming under increasing pressure to provide greater choice and information about what care is available, and we are taking that pressure off them and providing all the local information they need to fulfill their obligations and inform the people in their area.”

Choosemycare.com conducted a survey ahead of their launch that showed that almost half the people who start out looking for care services in the south don’t know where to begin to find the support they or their family need.

Almost nine out of every 10 people would start on the internet first, and 75 per cent of care and support service providers said they would welcome a national web-based brokerage service to put them in touch with those people looking for care services.

Lynn Osborne added: “We have already got several hundred members for Choosemycare.com in Hampshire alone and we intend to make this a nationwide service as we develop.

“Choosemycare.com is the one-stop shop for anyone who needs to find a care and support service but doesn’t know where to start. It is only Hampshire based at the moment but we are adding new members all the time.”

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

New Forest Things To Do - December - Xmas

December 10th-31st
Santa's Circus presentation of "A Christmas Wish" at Wide Lane Playing Fields, Eastleigh. Telephone 07948 572057 for details.
December 10th
Late Night Christmas Event in Romsey. Tel: 01264 368307 for details.
December 11th
Romsey National Childbirth Trust Christmas Fair at Crosfield Hall, Romsey. 10am.
December 11th/12th
Beaulieu River Special Christmas Paddle! 10am and 1pm each day. In Open Canadian Canoes customers will be guided up the Beaulieu River Nature Reserve, stopping in Beaulieu and meeting Father Christmas in the Montague Arms. This includes a mince pie, juice and mulled wine, and children under 15 will receive a present from Father Christmas. Tel: 01590 612377 for details.
December 11th
Royal British Legion Romsey, Women's Section Table Top Sale at Love Lane. 10am. Tel: 01794 501158 for details.
December 11th/12th
Exbury Santa Specials. Tel: 023 8089 9940 for details.
December 11th
Port Solent Christmas Festival. Tel: 023 9221 0606 for details.
December 11th
Santa Specials at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway.
December 11th
"The Wonder Of Christmas" with Romsey Choral Society at Romsey United Reform Church. 7.30pm.
December 11th
Andover Choral Society's Christmas Concert at St Mary's Church, Andover. 7.30pm. Tel: 01264 352729 for details.
December 11th
The Waynflete Singers presentation of "Messiah" at Winchester Cathedral. 7.30pm. Tel: 01962 857275 for details.
December 12th
Hampshire Farmers' Market at Winchester. 9am. Tel: 01420 588671 for details.
December 12th
Carol Service at Wellow Village Hall. 2.30pm.
December 15th
Salisbury Farmers' Market. Tel: 01722 334956 for details.
December 15th
Christmas Street Party at Bedford Place, Southampton. Tel: 023 8076 8089 for details.
December 17th
A Traditional Victorian Christmas at Portsmouth's Historic Dockyard. 7pm. Tel: 023 9277 8604 for details.
December 17th
"A Feast Of Christmas Music" with the Romsey Singers and The Salisbury Brass Ensemble at Romsey Abbey. 7.30pm. Tel: 01794 512502/513959 for details.
December 18th-21st
Exbury Santa Steam Specials. Tel: 023 8089 9940 for details.
December 18th/19th
Santa Specials at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway.
December 18th/19th
NOMADS Christmas Cocktail at Woodley Village Hall. 7.30pm each evening.
December 18th
Southampton Choral Society presentation of "Messiah" at St Mary's Church, Southampton. 7.30pm. Tel: 023 8033 2467/023 8063 0008 for details.
December 19th
Art and Design Market in Winchester. Tel: 07515 797878 for details.
December 19th
Hampshire Farmers' Market at Andover. 10am. Tel: 01420 588671 for details.
December 21st
Santa Specials at Eastleigh Lakeside Steam Railway.
December 23rd
Christmas Craft Day for Families at Eastleigh Museum. 10am. Tel: 0845 603 5635 for details.

To have your Event listed on this page, email steve@forestandwaterside.info
or enter details in Comments below.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Brockenhurst residents discuss National Park governance

Around 60 people attended a public session yesterday (30 November) to give their views on how National Parks should be governed.

The New Forest National Park Authority invited people to attend Brockenhurst Village Hall in the afternoon and evening to take part in a national review organised by Defra.

The consultation asks people how the governance of National Parks can be made more effective, and how National Park Authorities can strengthen links with their local communities.

National Park Authority officers and members also gave a presentation and answered questions.

Three similar events will be held in other locations throughout the Forest, with a formal presentation and a question and answer session held at 3pm and repeated at 7pm :
  • 2pm – 8pm, Tuesday 7 December, New Forest Centre, main car park, Lyndhurst
  • 2pm – 8pm, Thursday 9 December, Landford Village Hall, Lyndhurst Road, Landford
  • 2pm – 8pm, Wednesday 15 December, Hyde Memorial Hall, Blissford Hill, Hyde.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We were pleased with the turn-out at Brockenhurst, despite the weather conditions, and also with the range of questions people asked. We are looking forward to discussing these important issues with other communities across the Forest in the coming weeks and hope as many people as possible will come along.'

The national consultation runs until 1 February 2011 and following the consultation, Government Ministers will consider if any changes in governance are required nationally, or whether changes should be made at the local level.

People can also give their views online by visiting http://www.defra.gov.uk/ and searching for ‘national park governance’.