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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Winners collect their tasty sausages

Two lucky families received an early Christmas present of unique New Forest Marque sausages this week made to their winning recipe.
Chris Oakes (New Forest Marque butcher) and children with the winning sausages.

The families entered the Marque’s ‘design your own sausage competition’ to celebrate National Sausage Week in November. Their recipes were made into delicious, tasty sausages by Marque member Chris Oakes, of Oakwood Butchers at Setley, Brockenhurst.

Matthew Welch (nine years old) from Brockenhurst came up with the unique idea of a cheesy chip sausage. He said: ‘Cheesy chips and sausages are my favourite dinners and I thought it would be great to have them in a sausage.’

Other recipes that Chris brought to life were a New Forest forager’s sausage with mushrooms, walnuts and crab apple jelly, a bonfire banger with roasted pumpkin and chilli and an apple and Isle of Wight garlic sausage.

Chris said: ‘It’s been great to be part of this competition. National Sausage Week plays an important role in getting people involved in buying good quality pork. I’m passionate about producing high-quality local produce. All my Lop pigs which I rear and butcher spend their lives in the New Forest and Hurn Forest near Ringwood.

Sarah Hunt, Manager of the New Forest Marque, said: ‘The ethos of the New Forest Marque is to work with local producers and farmers to help them promote their produce.

‘We have so much delicious food and craft on offer that it’s important to celebrate and enjoy it. The winners will have a great Christmas eating their way through their specially-made sausages.’

To learn more about the New Forest Marque visit www.newforestproduce.co.uk and for more information on Oakwood Butchers go to www.oakwood-butchers.co.uk.


Saturday, 17 December 2011

Photography exhibition at Moors Valley Country Park

Brighten up your winter by taking a trip to Moors Valley Country Park’s Visitor Centre to visit the free ‘Dream View’ photography exhibition.
Winning photograph Jason Chalk picture Mr & Mrs Donk

The exhibition celebrating what people enjoy most about the New Forest is part of a competition run by the New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry Commission.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The standard of the competition was exceptionally high.

‘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.’

To celebrate the Olympic Games coming to London in 2012 the 2011/12 competition has a special Olympic theme with the categories of gold, silver and bronze.

So your photograph, painting, sculpture, story or poem of the New Forest National Park might feature golden sunsets, sliver light on water, bronze autumn leaves or New Forest ponies in early morning light

There is total prize-fund of £1,000:

  • First prize £500 vouchers
  • Second £250 vouchers
  • Third of £150 vouchers
  • Best under-16 entry £100 vouchers


For more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/news/olympics-competition

The exhibition at Moors Valley finishes on 15 January 2011.


Friday, 16 December 2011

Make it a New Forest Christmas

If you are staying home and entertaining visitors over the festive season, the New Forest National Park has some top tips to help you make it a real New Forest Christmas.

For an authentic New Forest experience why not use local food, buy Forest-inspired presents, decorate your tree using only natural decorations and walk off dinner with a Boxing Day stroll.

Top tips for a New Forest Christmas:

  • Get some fresh air and walk off your Christmas excesses in the New Forest while learning more about its history and traditions. There are a range of walks to suit every ability. Download one of four audio tour walks or print off the commentary from www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walking.
  • Looking for a present no one else will have? Visit the Forest Store on-line or at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst for unique and New Forest National Park-inspired 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. All profits go to back into looking after the New Forest National Park www.foreststore.co.uk.
  • For delicious local produce and handmade presents visit the New Forest Marque website. For stockists www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/new-forest-produce.
  • New Forest Christmas trees are available from the Forestry Commission at New Park, Brockenhurst. Trees are on sale from 10am-4pm until 21 December www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest.


Monday, 12 December 2011

New Forest National Park Authority welcomes Panel report on forestry

The New Forest National Park Authority has welcomed an interim report by a panel set up to look into the future of England’s woodlands.

The Independent Panel on Forestry sets out a broad vision of providing a wider range of benefits to more people, and will explore the role of not just the public forest estate but all woodlands, including those in other ownerships, in delivering more for society, the environment and the economy.

Responding directly to one of the issues it was asked to address, the progress report states that the Panel sees a continuing role for a national public forest estate in England.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘I have read the report with interest and am pleased to see the Panel has recognised the value of the public estate and that woods are good for nature, good for people and good for the economy.

‘We look forward to hearing from the Panel about the details of its visit to the New Forest which is planned for 28 February, prior to the publication of its final report. It will be important for them to meet a wide range of organisations and local people to gain an understanding of the complexities of how the Open Forest is looked after, through the ancient practice of commoning and the efforts of a wide range of partners working together.

‘It is important that the Panel understands the particular characteristics of the New Forest – the pressures on the landscape, the diversity and the numbers of visitors who come here.’

The Government launched a consultation on the future of the public forest estate managed by the Forestry Commission in January 2011. This includes the Crown land in the New Forest National Park. The Panel, chaired by The Right Reverend James Jones Bishop of Liverpool, was then set-up to advise the Government on the future of England’s forests and woods.

The Panel says it is working towards recommendations that will increase the benefits generated from all forests in England, including to the people that enjoy them, to nature and to the businesses that rely on them.

The Panel also recognises it will need to take a longer term view and its recommendations – in a final report to Government in spring 2012 – will reflect this.


Friday, 2 December 2011

New Forest Volunteer Fair - Handy tips on getting involved

If you are an organisation looking to recruit volunteers then come along to the second annual New Forest volunteer fair next March.
Alison Steele from Hampshire County Council Countryside Services with Ruth Croker from Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath society at the 2010 Volunteer Fair

Organised by the National Park Authority this event offers a chance for people to find out more about the different and exciting projects going on in the New Forest.

The event will be full of potential volunteers looking for opportunities to explore, learn new skills, meet people and protect the New Forest.

Bob Morris, Member of the National Park Authority, said: ‘There are over 60 organisations attending this event so far at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Volunteering is at the heart of the New Forest.

‘Last year the fair attracted over 300 people who were keen to make a difference. We were overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and the organisations involved said it was a great opportunity to network with potential volunteers.

‘This year’s show promises to be even bigger and better and we are hoping that more organisations will come along and get involved.’

Organisations attending so far include: the Forestry Commission, Furzey Gardens, Hampshire Ornithological Society, The National Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, RPSB and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

‘The National Park has been working with volunteers on projects that range from archaeology digs to marine surveying to supporting the New Forest Marque as well helping local community groups create nature reserves and village greens,’ said Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority.

‘Their help is invaluable and through these projects we have been able to build up a bank of volunteers. We were recently successful in securing Heritage Lottery Funding to investigate the role the New Forest played in World War II which we will need a number of volunteers for.’

Volunteer Jenny Austin said: ‘I was involved in a coastal heritage project with the National Park. Volunteering during the university summer holidays was a good opportunity to get out into the field and do some practical work. I even got to show BBC presenter Matt Baker a thing or two when Countryfile came to film.’

The free Volunteer Fair will be on Saturday 3 March 2012 from 10:30am-4:00pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre. If you are from a volunteer organisation which would like to get involved email jim.mitchell@newforestnpa.gov.uk. For more information about the event go to www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteer-fair.



Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Hovertravel launches Boutique Hovershopper

Hovertravel, the fastest passenger service across the Solent to the Isle of Wight, has launched a Boutique Hovershopper deal so that customers can enjoy a fabulous day-trip out shopping, pampering and experiencing some fun activities on the island.

Boutique Hovershopper tickets gives passengers return travel on the Hovercraft from Southsea, Portsmouth to Ryde, Isle of Wight and special discounts when presented at partner boutiques, restaurants, salons, florists and workshops.

Loretta Lale, marketing manager for Hovertravel said: “Our Boutique Hovershopper deal is a fantastic way to spend a day on the Isle of Wight. With Christmas fast approaching and our partner discounts with companies which are unique to the island, customers can find unusual trinkets and gifts that can’t be found on the mainland.”

Boutique Hovershopper has discounts at a number of boutiques including, Zabre - a handbag and accessory specialist, Smiths & Stephensons - a homeware boutique, Bijoux Jewellers, and Flowers By Nic. If all that shopping makes travellers hungry the Boutique Hovershopper ticket has discounts with Bagel Wrap, Joe’s CafĂ© Bar & Restaurant and Yelf’s Hotel.

Loretta Lale, continued, “The festive season is all about being glam and with our Boutique Hovershopper ticket customers can also have their hair and beauty taken care of with amazing discounts. To receive Hovertravel’s fantastic savings and freebies all customers have to do is present their Boutique Hovershopper day return ticket to any of our partners.”

Boutique Hovershopper also gives savings with Jaks Hair & Beauty Ltd and lifestyle workshops at Crocus including photography, floristry, crochet sewing and knitting.

Tickets for Boutique Hovershopper cost just £15 and are available from the Southsea Terminal.

For more information visit www.hovertravel.com


Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Green award for local Brockenhurst business

A New Forest bed and breakfast has scooped a top accolade at this year’s ‘Brilliance in Business Awards’ for its commitment to being green.
Left to right: Vicky Myers, Deputy Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, Christina Simons owner of Cottage Lodge, Katy Mascord from Cottage Lodge and New Forest Business Partnership President The Hon Ralph Montagu.

Cottage Lodge in Brockenhurst won the ‘Green Leaf’ Sustainable Business Award sponsored by the New Forest National Park Authority for its innovative approach to sustainability.

As part of their everyday commitment to reduce energy all rooms have low-energy light bulbs, water meters and low tap flow.

A number of new rooms have solar panels, a wood burning stove and a water boiler. From January 2012 there will also be bike-powered televisions.

Guests are also encouraged to do their bit during their stay. Those who arrive by train receive a free afternoon tea and Cottage Lodge provides walks packs and local information on where to eat. Breakfast is made up of local New Forest Marque produce and furniture is made by local craftsmen.

Winners of this year’s Brilliance in Business awards were announced at Careys Manor Hotel in Brockenhurst on 23 November. The awards were presented by the New Forest Business Partnership President The Hon Ralph Montagu.

Christina Simons, owner of Cottage Lodge, said: ‘We are delighted to be winners of the Brilliance in Business Green Leaf award. It is a great reward for the team to be recognised in such a prestigious way for all their efforts in reducing their impact on the environment.

John Pemberton, Lead Member for sustainable energy at the New Forest National Park, said: ‘The Green Leaf Scheme is part of a national pilot scheme for sustainable tourism in the UK. We are pleased to support an award that encourages car-free tourism, energy and recycling initiatives and supports local producers and farmers.

‘Cottage Lodge has shown a strong commitment to sustainable tourism and I’m pleased they have won this award.’

New Forest Business Partnership Chairman, Rob Dewing said: ‘This year has seen the highest standard of entries since the award scheme begun. We are delighted that despite the difficult trading conditions, many businesses in the New Forest are not only surviving but thriving; a point demonstrated by the truly excellent calibre of businesses selected as our category winners.’

For more information about Cottage Lodge visit www.cottagehotel.org.


Saturday, 26 November 2011

LymingtonDeals a win win for New Forest residents and businesses

We all want a great deal and getting 70% plus offers are a fantastic opportunity, not only for you but also in our case for local businesses. This was the basic reason why LymingtonDeals.com was set up.

There are many social marketing groups, which are virtually all formed by big often foreign groups with massive infrastructure and huge marketing and technical overheads – all of which someone eventually has to pay for and it is usually the customer – you.

So we felt there had to be a better way and came up with the answer of Lymington Deals where people local to Lymington – obviously including the area covered by The New Forest and Lymington Blog, could get bargains with local enterprises.

In the few months since we started we have gained members at a very rapid pace and have had some great deals provided by local businesses. So far they have helped both members and companies – these have included hair styling, financial advice, wine, hotel accommodation, organically grown produce even completely free coffee.

Lymington Deals has been very pleased that Steve Lodge has recognized our value both for customers and businesses and invited us to be part of his great community. We look forward to keeping all of you up to date with our fantastic offers via this blog but if you really want to be first with the information to get great deals then you should join us via out website or face book entry by clicking here.

We want the people who love our area to share in the great opportunities which Lymington Deals offers both its members and the rapidly growing number of local enterprises who have realised great deals are excellent for business.

See you at LymingtonDeals.com
Nathan Ferry Local Resident & Founder


Thursday, 24 November 2011

National Tree Week - Join in an ancient tree hunt

Help survey some of the most fantastic woodland in Britain to celebrate National Tree Week (26 November to 4 December).

On Saturday 3 December the New Forest National Park team will be exploring Denny Wood near Lyndhurst as part of an ancient tree survey to find the oldest and largest trees in the New Forest.

An ancient tree hunt leader will take small groups around the wood exploring the ancient and ornamental woodland.

Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Some of the oak and beech trees in Denny Wood are over 400 years old. They support an established woodland ecosystem.

‘As well as surveying the area the group leaders will talk about the history of the woodland and what makes it unique and special.’

The National Park Authority’s tree expert Bryan Wilson will also be at the event to answer any tree-related questions.

There are two sessions, 9.30am to midday and 1pm to 3.30pm. The event is free but booking is essential as places are limited. The event is suitable for children eight years and over.

To book your place email events@newforestnpa.gov.uk or call 01590 646681.
For more information about the event visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/ancient-tree-hunt.


Thursday, 17 November 2011

Southampton Offers Stunning Waterside Activities

There are some cities which don’t make the most of their geographical positions, but this accusation certainly can’t be directed at Southampton. In recent years, major investment has gone into providing the facilities for residents and visitors to enjoy the beautiful views across the River Itchen, and to savour the finer things in life from a waterside location.
Southampton Ocean Village
Many British towns and city planners, including those in Cardiff, Salford and Newcastle, have come to realise the potential of their river and ocean-side locations, in the past decades. Major refurbishment works have resulted in some highly impressive developments that have transformed the areas into havens for shopping, dining and drinking, and all with some stunning backdrops.

Southampton’s long association with the water is well documented, and it’s good to know the city’s authorities are keen to entice people into the riverside area. All over the UK, there is a growing realisation that everyone should be entitled to enjoy a stroll beside the water, and that it should not be just the privileged few who get to see the many superb views.

One of life’s genuine pleasures is to enjoy a delicious meal in a vibrant, exciting location, and that is certainly possible in Southampton’s Ocean Village. On a summer’s afternoon, there’s nothing more pleasant than savouring top quality cuisine outside, as the warm breeze floats in off the water. It comes as no surprise to discover this area becomes understandably busy during weekends in July and August.

The area is also home to two cinemas and a number of bars, too. One of Britain’s oldest yachting establishments, the Royal Southampton Yacht Club, is based in the marina, and its presence gives the area a pleasing link to its former years. In addition, there are several nautical-related businesses nearby, offering staff members an extremely pleasant place in which to work.

Guest Post by David Rice, a UK-based writer who works for a company that specialises in finding office space in Southampton. He feels the excellent deals that are currently available on offices to let in Southampton help to make it a superb city to relocate to.


Friday, 4 November 2011

New Forest National Park Authority moves to new home

The New Forest National Park Authority says its move this week to new headquarters at Lymington Town Hall will save money and improve accessibility for residents and visitors.

The National Park Authority has been in temporary accommodation at South Efford House, Everton, since it began in 2006 and the lease expires next month.

By renting part of the building at the Avenue Road site from New Forest District Council (NFDC), the Authority says there will be significant advantages and financial savings from the joint arrangement.

National Park Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘With good transport links to Lymington Town Hall our services will be much more accessible to our visitors and residents.

‘By co-locating at the Town Hall there are efficiencies to be made both in terms of accommodation costs and opportunities for shared services – delivering further savings for the benefit of local taxpayers.’

Cllr Barry Rickman, Leader of New Forest District Council: ‘We’re looking forward to sharing office accommodation with the National Park Authority and the significant advantages and financial savings that will be made from this joint arrangement.’

The NPA received a central government grant of £750,000 to refurbish the building.


Thursday, 3 November 2011

New Forest Ponies don’t dent they die

Drivers along the B3054 (between Lymington and Dibden Purlieu) are being reminded to drive carefully and avoid New Forest ponies thanks to a school boy’s winning slogan.

Oliver Smith’s ‘Ponies don’t dent they die’ was chosen from 200 entrants to a recent ‘Saving ponies through art’ competition which aimed to get young people involved in creating clear messages to drivers across the New Forest.

From left to right- Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager  at the New Forest National Park Authority, Oliver Smith from Bournemouth Collegiate School, Jonathan Gerelli, Head Agister and Rick Manley, Chairman of The New Forest Trust
Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The signs between Lymington and Dibden Purlieu are part of a pilot scheme. The messages on the bottom of the signs change regularly depending on the time of year.

‘The B3054 has one of the highest animal accident rates in the New Forest, with an average of 30 accidents (14 animal deaths) in recent years. The accidents often take place at night and increase in November and December as the nights draw in. I hope this new sign will remind drivers that they need to be ready to stop when they see ponies and cattle beside, or on the road.’

Rick Manley, Chairman of The New Forest Trust which ran the competition on behalf of the Animal Accident Reduction Group*, said: ‘This competition has helped young people to engage with some of our work across the New Forest and we hope it has allowed them to explore, through their designs, ways of protecting our animals and our local environment. Well done to Oliver for coming up with such a powerful slogan.’

Oliver Smith (13 years old) from Bournemouth Collegiate School who designed the winning slogan, said: ‘I came up with the slogan when I thought about what happens to ponies and drivers during a crash. When I went to the New Forest Show in the summer I was shocked at how fast some people were driving with ponies so close by. It is worrying to think that if a pony attempted to cross the road it would have little chance of survival if it was hit by a speeding car.’

In 2010 there were 65 animal deaths on New Forest roads, the lowest since records began in 1956.


Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Help your business and the New Forest

If you love talking about the New Forest and own a shop, post office or business in Burley, Sway, Ashurst or Woodgreen the New Forest National Park Authority would like to hear from you.

The Authority is looking to recruit four new ‘Local Information Points’ in these areas. The points provide visitors and residents with easy access to information about the National Park and are stocked with maps, leaflets and publications about what to see and where to go.

Business owners who are successful in hosting a Local Information Point will receive training, support and an annual contribution of £300 from the Authority, as well as being advertised in a range of publications and websites as an information point.

Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer, said: ‘The Local Information Point scheme has proved to be extremely successful since starting in 2008. The scheme is about recognising and supporting the great work that local businesses play in championing the New Forest and what makes it special.’

Jane Dalton from Bestsellers Bookshop in Brockenhurst, a Local Information Point since 2008, said: ‘Visitors enjoy having a focal point at the start of their visit. We enjoy welcoming both visitors and locals and our knowledge of the Forest has increased tenfold since becoming a Local Information Point.’

For more information on Local Information Points and how to apply visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/visiting/local-information-points or contact Jim Mitchell at jim.mitchell@newforestnpa.gov.uk, or 01590 646681.


Monday, 31 October 2011

Businessman gives boost to nature reserve on his doorstep

A 47 acre site at Lymington has been turned into a wildlife haven thanks to local businessman and resident Leon Crouch, his neighbour Amanda Otway and the New Forest Land Advice Service (LAS).

Mr Crouch and Ms Otway, who recently bought the land, are working closely with the LAS to ensure the land’s future as a ‘Site of Importance for Nature Conservation’. It is now bustling with insects and wildflowers in the summer and will continue to support migrating birds over the winter.
Before: Left to right - Pete Durnell, Hampshire County Council's Countryside Service Sites Manager for the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, Leon Crouch landowner and Julie Stubbs, New Forest Land Advice Service Manager looking at plans for the land in March 2011.
After: Left to right - Julie Stubbs, New Forest Land Advice Service Manager, Leon Crouch landowner and Mark Larter, from the Land Advice Service in the same field six months later.

The LAS provides free, independent advice and support to landowners, farmers, commoners, equine owners, graziers and community groups across the New Forest National Park, the Avon Valley and surrounding area. It is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Natural England and the Verderers.

Julie Stubbs, the New Forest Land Advice Service Manager, said: ‘When Leon approached us for advice about managing the land we knew it would be a great project to get involved in and could really make a difference.

‘This area now has a real wealth of habitats. We have worked closely with Leon who has been keen to help enhance an area close to the coast and the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve.

‘We developed a special seed mix to create wild flower meadows to help regenerate the land with species such as knapweed, wild carrot, oxeye daisy and field scabious. We have also restored the hedgerows through coppicing and replanting.

Hampshire County Council's Countryside Service Sites Manager for the Lymington-Keyhaven Nature Reserve, Pete Durnell said: ‘This area of land is protected by a national designation and is home to a large and important population of Brent Geese over the winter months.

‘We also know that a range of other overwintering waders and wildfowl such as curlew, lapwing, oystercatchers and redshank visit Keyhaven Nature Reserve close by. Transforming this land will give these birds a much larger area.’

Landowner Leon Crouch said: ‘I have received a great amount of support and advice from the Land Advice Service and Hampshire County Council.

‘It is good to know that these free services are out there. When I purchased this land it was in very bad condition and needed a lot of work. With the Land Advice Service’s help I have been able to achieve a lot in a short space of time. I have had direct access to experts who have been able to guide me through the whole process.

‘The Land Advice Service also put me in touch with Peter Niccolls, a young commoner who will put his Dexter cattle on the site at certain times of the year as part of the wildlife management of the meadows. I’m looking forward to building a relationship with him. Commoning is of vital importance to the New Forest and I’m pleased to be able to help support the next generation coming through.’

Peter Niccolls said: ‘It’s great that Leon is supporting me to continue the tradition of commoning. Having this land to use for grazing will make such a difference.

‘My meat is part of the New Forest Marque which means that it’s from the New Forest. By having access to Leon’s land I am still able to be part of this scheme which promotes local smallholders and is a symbol of the high standards of local produce.’


Thursday, 27 October 2011

‘New Forest remembers- untold stories of World War II’ wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

The New Forest National Park Authority has received a confirmed* grant of just over £550,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for the project ‘New Forest remembers - untold stories of World War II’.


From left to right-New Forest National Park Authority’s Archaeologist Frank Green, John Levesley Secretary of Friends of New Forest Airfields and Julian Johnson, Chairman of the National Park Authority.

The project will carry out essential archaeological surveying of part of the New Forest National Park including an airborne infra-red LiDAR survey (light detection and ranging), mapping work and field surveys. These will record World War II archaeological sites and their conservation needs.

Volunteers will be recruited and an outreach programme will be designed to engage local communities, groups and organisations. Teaching resources and educational activities will also be developed to link World War II archaeology with the National Curriculum.

On the ground a range of new information and outreach materials will show visitors the important part the New Forest and its people played during the war.

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund in the South East, said: ‘The New Forest holds many clues to the stories of World War II and how it impacted on the communities in the area. With this grant, volunteers will not only expand their knowledge and learn lots of new skills, but it will also provide a unique record of the area for others to learn from, enjoy and be inspired by for generations to come.’

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, added: ‘We’re delighted that the Heritage Lottery Fund has given us this grant. The Second World War changed the New Forest forever. It played a vital role and it is important that we have an accurate picture both on the ground and through people’s memories and experiences of this unprecedented period of history.’


Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Bats: mysterious and misunderstood – It’s time to go batty about bats says the New Forest National Park Authority

A rare Bechstein’s bat in the New Forest.
Photo Credit: Colleen Mainstone, Hampshire Bat Group.
To some people they bring to mind vampires and horror stories. But the New Forest National Park Authority says Hallowe’en is the perfect time to discover that bats are fascinating animals full of many mysteries.

The New Forest is a stronghold for bats and it is thought that 13 out of the 17 resident UK species can be found here.

The National Park Authority and the Hampshire Bat Group volunteers have been working over the past few years to help two of Europe’s rarest species.

Volunteers have been surveying Bechstein’s bats and barbastelle bats in the New Forest, both of which like to live in ancient woodlands. Until recently only a handful of breeding sites for either species were known in the UK.

National Park Authority Ecologist Ian Barker said: ‘The United Nations has designated 2011 as Year of the Bat and it’s the perfect time to dispel lots of myths about these incredible creatures. Bats aren’t harmful and are very good for the environment.

‘We know very little about Bechstein’s and barbastelle bats. Licensed handlers have caught some of the animals to identify, measure and record them, as well as fitting them with a tiny transmitter so we can learn where they roost and forage. None of this harms the bats and the transmitters fall off after a couple of weeks.

‘We have discovered four new colonies of Bechstein’s bat and two new colonies of Barbastelle bats – which is great news for the species and for the New Forest as their presence indicates a healthy environment.’
The information gathered will guide land management within the New Forest to help the species survive.

Ian says the best places to see bats are at dusk near water, such as Eyeworth Pond near Fritham and Hatchet Pond near Beaulieu. However time is running out this year as the bats will be preparing to hibernate.

‘There are lots of ways people can help bats, which have legal protection as they are dying out at a rapid rate,’ Ian said. ‘You can put up a bat box, add insect-loving plants to your garden to attract bats, or join Hampshire Bat Group to get more involved.’

More details of bats in the New Forest and how to help are on the National Park Authority’s website at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk.

Bats by Phil Richardson
In this fully revised and reformatted edition bat expert Phil Richardson takes the reader on a guided tour of the nocturnal world of bats: where they live, how they feed, and how they survive in almost every habitat on the planet. He uses his experiences of bat watching around the world to describe their complex life cycles, explaining how you can watch and study bats and help conserve these often threatened mammals. He also introduces many of the different species that have fitted so well into the environment. Amazing, fascinating, bizarre are words that barely start to describe the bats of the world. Read more...

Monday, 24 October 2011

Harvest time at groundbreaking Beaulieu community garden

School children at Beaulieu helped bring in the harvest at a unique community garden helped by funding from the New Forest National Park Authority.
Children aged six and seven from Year Two at Beaulieu Primary School help bring in the harvest at Fairweather’s Learning Garden, Beaulieu, with garden owner Patrick Fairweather and Vicky Myers, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.
Fairweather’s Garden Centre set up Patrick’s Patch four years ago with 30% of the cost covered by the National Park’s Sustainable Development Fund (SDF).

Now the National Park is inviting more people to send in applications to the Fund, which supports projects that encourage greener living.

Garden owner Patrick Fairweather said: ‘We wouldn’t and couldn’t have built the garden to the specification we need to accommodate schoolchildren safely without the funding from the National Park’s SDF. It has also enabled us to afford to employ a part-time gardener to help with the development of the garden.

‘We have regular school visits and at the end of most sessions the children have a picnic and get the opportunity to eat something they have had a part in growing – for some children that is really groundbreaking. For children who come here from central Southampton, it is often the first time they have had the opportunity to do gardening.’

Patrick said the garden also has a loyal band of volunteers who have benefited in different ways – a few with mental health issues who appreciate the therapeutic benefits of gardening, others who come for the physical exercise and many for the social side.

‘We also use the veg in our cafe opposite and the garden is another attraction to bring visitors into Beaulieu village and therefore support other businesses,’ Patrick said.

Vicky Myers, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund, encouraged community groups, individuals and businesses to submit applications for their projects.

She said: ‘There’s a real breadth of projects the SDF can support, from renewable energy technologies in a community building to local produce schemes, eco-improvements in a B&B and support for a village shop – anything with environmental, community and economic benefits for the New Forest.

‘Instead of being just a veg patch next door to a garden centre, this fantastic Fairweather’s scheme is about sustainability, the community, green living and education.

‘We would love to hear your ideas.’

The SDF funds up to 75% of a project’s cost and grants can be up to £50,000. The money can be used for practical work – labour costs, equipment and materials, feasibility studies or research projects, education, training, and awareness-raising.

Find out more about the Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk, or call SDF Officer Andy Brennan on 01590 646676.


Friday, 21 October 2011

Public urged to reconnect with local landscapes via groundbreaking new sustainable tourism initiative

A MAJOR new initiative urging people to reconnect with their local landscapes has been launched.

Our Land launch 1: (left to right) Rob Fairbanks (Surrey Hills AONB Director); Chris Reynolds (Independent Chairman of Kent Downs AONB); Jeremy Hunt MP (Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport); TV presenter Kate Humble; Nick Johannsen (Kent Downs AONB Director); Justin Francis (Managing Director of responsibletravel.com).
‘Our Land’ unites and celebrates the nine protected landscapes of South East England – the first time such a collaboration has been created – in a new central tourism website: www.our-land.co.uk (hosted by responsibletravel.com). The promotion of sustainable tourism businesses that have a passion and commitment to their local landscapes and communities lies at the core of the site.

More than a third of the South East is officially classified as Protected Landscape – this consists of the New Forest National Park and South Downs National Park, and seven Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB): the Chilterns, Cotswolds, High Weald, Isle of Wight, Kent Downs, North Wessex Downs, and the Surrey Hills.

Employment in tourism in protected landscapes is around double the national average at almost 20%, and in some cases is much higher – on the Isle of Wight it accounts for 41%. Our Land aims to boost the vital revenue generated through tourism, whilst ensuring the long-term protection of the land by encouraging the public to recognise and rejoice in these diverse landscapes.

Visitors can use the new website to find and book their next holiday, browsing specific regions and accommodation preferences or by viewing suggested itineraries themed around seasons and activities, as well as reading about the sights, sounds and smells that make the different landscapes so distinct.

Social media elements allow people to share their experiences and to ask questions of the area to a panel of local experts; including historians, conservationists and walking and cycling experts.

Local businesses signing up to the scheme will benefit from free or discounted inclusion on the website, support developing their interaction with the landscape, and the promotional weight of the initiative. To qualify as partners, businesses must agree to the ‘Our Land Promise’ www.our-land.co.uk/copy/promise to offer authentic experiences that celebrate the cultural and natural history of the region, and they must demonstrate to visitors their commitment to the environment.

Supporters and partners

TV presenter Kate Humble is championing the new initiative and said: “In the UK we have some of the world’s most beautiful landscapes on our doorstep. Not only are these wonderful places to enjoy Britain’s nature at its best, they are also packed full of interesting stories of thousands of years of human life. There is a powerful, resurgent interest in re-discovering natural and cultural Britain and I congratulate the Our Land partners in aiming to capitalise on this in a responsible and sustainable way.”

New Forest National Park Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: “Much of the local economy depends on visitors, with 13.5 million visitor days each year to the New Forest. The attention to sustainable tourism that Our Land will give will help ensure that many more day visits are converted to overnight stays, while ensuring that the special qualities which attract people in the first place – the landscape, wildlife, culture and tranquillity - are conserved and enhanced. The Our Land initiative is vital in offering a unique type of truly sustainable tourism which will help the New Forest National Park thrive and prosper.”

James Berresford, CEO of Visit England, said: “Within the Strategic Framework for English Tourism the Rural Tourism Action Plan aims to significantly increase the economic benefits of tourism to local communities, and the Wise Growth Action Plan embeds the principles of balancing growth with sustainability across the industry. Our Land is a very good example of putting these strategic plans in to action. In time I hope it will develop beyond the South East.”

Justin Francis, MD, responsibletravel.com, said: “We have some of the most diverse landscapes on our doorstep but too many are unaware of the riches that can be less than an hour away by bus, bike or train. Our aim is to reconnect people that live in the South East with our shared heritage to ensure it is enjoyed, whilst being conserved for centuries to come.”

As well as working with local tourism businesses, Our Land will collaborate with membership organisations, transport providers and the media to promote the range of visitor attractions on offer in the protected landscapes.

Our Land has been made possible thanks to a £1m grant from the Rural Development Programme for England (RDPE), to be spent over the next 2.5 years, after which it is intended the model will continue to prosper commercially and be available as a template for other protected landscapes across the country. Our Land is being managed by the South East Protected Landscapes (SEPL) forum, made up of representatives of the nine landscapes, and is being given web, marketing and brand support by the project’s private partner, sustainable tourism leader, responsibletravel.com


Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Drive safely across the New Forest this winter

People who regularly drive across the New Forest are being urged to drive extra carefully this winter.

The New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers want to remind people to be extra vigilant on their way to and from work; particularly after the clocks go back at the end of October.

Nigel Matthews, Community & Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘It can often take a while for people to adjust to the darker evenings and there is usually a significant rise in accidents in November.

‘A lot of ponies wear reflective collars but many don’t, so drivers should look out for dark-coloured ponies which are often more difficult to see. It is important to drive at a sensible speed and to make sure you can stop if an animal steps onto the road at the last moment. Ponies have no road sense so it is up to the driver to be extra cautious.

‘It’s not just the animals that are at risk in an accident. If the driver is speeding the results could be catastrophic for their passengers too.’

Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers added: ‘Now is a timely reminder that we all need to be extra careful when driving in the New Forest.

‘Animal accidents are not only difficult for the people involved but also for the Agisters  whose job it is to find the animal, which may have been suffering for hours.

She continued: ‘Hit and runs are the most distressing of accidents – it’s vital that you report an accident straight away. Anyone who gives information leading to a successful prosecution can claim a reward of up to £1000.’

‘The Verderers have issued several rewards in recent years and a number of drivers have been successfully prosecuted for failing to stop and report an accident with a Forest animal.

‘Drivers who do report accidents are unlikely to be prosecuted, but if a driver fails to report an accident and is caught, the Verderers will always encourage the police to prosecute and the police are generally very willing to do so.’

Driving tips:

  • Be ready to stop - ponies may step out even when they’ve seen you approaching
  • Drive slowly, especially at night and when other cars are approaching with their headlights on
  • Give animals grazing by the side of the road a wide berth
  • Take extra care when there are animals on the verges on both sides of the road – they may cross to join their friends.
  • Remember that deer easily jump the fences alongside roads like the A337, A31 and A35 and when there is one deer more will usually follow
  • The faster you are going, the greater the damage will be to the animal, your car and your passengers - start your journey early so you don’t have to hurry.

If you witness an accident:

  • Call 999 in an emergency or 0845 045 4545 in a non-emergency to report any road traffic accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, sheep, dog or deer.  Alternatively ring the Verderers’ Office during normal working hours on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday 9am-5 pm) or the Forestry Commission on 023 8028 3141 (24 hours) to report sick or injured commoning animals.

Be prepared:

  • Carry an animal accident hotline card, it tells you who to call and display an ‘I go slow for ponies’ car sticker. Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/animal_accident_help or call 01590 646600 for more information on how to get a card and sticker.


Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Grants available from the New Forest Trust

The New Forest Trust would like to encourage non-profit groups to apply for the remaining grant money for 2011. Grants of between £250 and £1,000, which specifically promote the conservation, preservation of the New Forest, or provide education about this heritage site.

The Funds available from been raised through the New Forest Trust Visitor Gift Scheme which is supported by Balmer Lawn Hotel, The Bell Inn, Careys Manor, Chewton Glen, Limewood, Hotel Terravina, Master Builders and The Montagu Arms, guests staying at these hotels are asked to donate £1 to The New Forest Trust.

The projects which the Trust has supported in the past have ranged from: preventing animal accidents, improving the Beaulieu Road Pony Sale Yard, the Stallion Scheme, funding information about bats, providing funds for the Fine Crafted Wood Exhibition, a pond dipping site at Ferny Crofts Scout Activity Centre and many more interesting projects.

Richard Manley, Chairman of the New Forest Trust said “We are delighted to launch to support projects in the New Forest, which conserve and provide education about the New Forest and we are extremely grateful to all the hotels who have joined our Visitors Gift Scheme, who are helping us to support the conservation and education in the area”, he added “ We would like to encourage groups from across the New Forest to apply for these funds to support existing projects or help develop new ones.”

Full details about the New Forest Trust Visitor Gift Scheme Small Grant Programme and how to apply for a grant can be found on the website www.newforesttrust.org.uk.


Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Celebrate British Sausage Week by designing your own!

To celebrate British Sausage Week (31 October – 6 November) the New Forest Marque is teaming up with Oakwood Butchers, New Forest Marque Sausage Champion 2010, to bring someone’s favourite sausage recipe to life.

So if you’ve ever dreamed of making up your own unique or wacky sausage flavour, now is your chance to send in your recipe.

Your recipe doesn’t have to be exact but you must put New Forest Marque pork as the main ingredient. The rest is up to you.

The finalists will then have their sausages brought to life by Chris Oakes of Oakwood Butchers in Brockenhurst and the sausages will be judged by Chris and his fellow panellists: Alison Barnes (Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority), Jenna McCulloch (representing the New Forest Marque) and James Golding (Head Chef at The Pig in Brockenhurst).

The winning recipe will then be made into sausages for the winner to take home. They also receive a voucher for ‘bangers and mash’ for a family of four (two adults and two children) at The Drift Inn at Beaulieu Road, as well as a New Forest Marque apron and cookbook.

Jenna McCulloch said: 'British Sausage Week is the perfect way to encourage people to eat local pork. We're really proud of the quality of pork available under the New Forest Marque. The Marque is the only scheme like it in the country. It ensures that a proportion of the ingredients are from the New Forest and that high animal welfare standards have been adhered to.

'We want to encourage people to go their local farmers’ markets and farm shops to buy their meat. This helps support local farmers and cuts down on food miles.

‘We’re looking forward to receiving these recipes and putting them to the test!’

Please send your sausage recipes to newforestmarque@newforestnpa.gov.uk by Friday 21 October.


Friday, 30 September 2011

Bartley Lodge Wine Fair

Whether you have visited us before or are new guests you are sure to be impressed by the new look of our Bartley Lodge Hotel.  The hotel has been renovated and extended making use of traditional and historically correct materials which have transformed the hotel.


Come and wander around the hotel whilst enjoying fine wine, delicious food and the soothing, relaxing sound of live jazz music at our Wine Fair on Friday 7th October.

For just £25 per person you can taste 6 wines from our wine list, with our wine experts on hand to guide you, enjoy a delicious buffet created specially for the occassion by our award-winning chefs and soak up the atmosphere to the sound of live jazz from 'Chameleon Jazz' all from 7.30pm.

To ensure you get your tickets call us today on 0800 44 44 41.

For further information on food and wine tasting events that we hold at New Forest Hotels give us a call or bookmark our New Forest Hotels dining offers page, which showcases our latest food and wine tastings evenings at our New Forest Hotels.

To catch a glimpse of the renovation project at Bartley Lodge view our photo gallery, where we have uploaded some photos of the new rooms at our classic country hotel.

View: Bartley Lodge Hotel in Cadnam renovation photos.

We look forward to seeing you on the 7th October!


Thursday, 29 September 2011

Go for Gold in our 2011 New Forest Photographic Competition

You can’t have missed the news that the Olympic Games is coming to London in 2012 and here in the New Forest we’re encouraging you to get ready and set by taking part in our Olympics-themed competition in 2011.

The annual competition, which is run jointly by the New Forest National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission, has a theme of ‘gold, silver and bronze’.

So your photographs might feature golden sunsets, silver light on water, bronze autumn leaves or New Forest ponies in early morning light.

And this year, for the first time, the competition is open to other entries besides photographs.  You may submit paintings, sculptures and poems too as long as they feature the New Forest National Park and the theme of gold, silver and bronze.

There is total prize-fund of £1,000 with a first prize of £500, second of £250, third of £150 and £100 for the best under-16 entry.

Part of the prize also sees the winners and runners-up feature in a touring exhibition which will start at the Red House Museum in Christchurch and then head to the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and then visit other venues in and around the New Forest in Olympics year.

Julian Johnson Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The Olympics is a cultural celebration for the host country as well as a massive sporting event, where competitors and spectators around the world discover places in addition to new champions.

‘The New Forest is located right between the major London venues and the Weymouth sailing base so it is important that we make the most of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.’

For more information about submitting your entry visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/news/olympics-competition. The closing date for the competition is Monday 12 March 2012.


Wednesday, 28 September 2011

‘Night mare’ in the New Forest

Julie Blake the Author of the 'Night Mare'
Meet Pip who is afraid of the dark and things that go ‘bump in the night’. Join him and his new friend in a brand new children’s book written and illustrated by Julie Blake from the New Forest National Park Authority.

The book aimed at three to seven year olds tells the story of ‘Pip’, a New Forest bat who has an invisible friend.

It is perfect bedtime story - not only is it beautifully illustrated but also helps children learn about creatures of the New Forest and reminds parents to drive safely.

‘I wanted to create a short story that engages children’s imaginations but would also help them to learn about the New Forest. The Forest is so unique I wanted to explain it in a fun and engaging way,’ said Julie.

‘It also has a message in it for adults about driving in the New Forest at night time and how important it is to look out for ponies and other animals crossing the road.’

The ‘Night Mare’ is available from the New Forest National Park Authority’s online store www.foreststore.co.uk priced £7.00 and from the New Forest UK app in iTunes for 69p. To go directly to the book scan the code below.

Biography: Julie Blake has worked for the New Forest National Park Authority since 2007. She studied Graphic Design and specialised in illustration at Norwich School of Art. Since then she has exhibited artworks in Hampshire, Dorset and London. Having previously illustrated for editorial publications, this is her first published children’s book.


Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Priestlands Saving New Forest Ponies through Art

Following a spate of animal accidents, drivers are being urged by young people in the New Forest to drive carefully, in an Animal Accident Poster Competition, organised by the New Forest Trust and supported by other members of the Animal Accident Reduction Group. 187 pupils from Priestlands School, Ringwood School and Bournemouth Collegiate have designed posters, to highlight the need for drivers to take care on New Forest roads.



The New Forest Trust invited Year 7 and Year 8 pupils, from local secondary schools, to design eye catching posters, communicating a clear message for the drivers around the Forest roads to take special care. The fourteen winning posters are to be printed and displayed around various venues in the New Forest.

Diana Westerhoff, Natural England appointed Verderer, was one of the five poster judges, she said, “The committee judging the competition had some very difficult decisions to make, as there were many excellent ideas and we had a tough time trying to pick out winners. Clearly the children put a lot of effort into their designs and we all agreed that everyone deserved to be a winner. We appreciate all their efforts to make our roads safer for Forest stock.”

Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager, New Forest National Park Authority said, “ It is a good idea to use the ideas of young people to help reduce animal accidents. Animal accidents increase as the nights close in during October and November. Most animal accidents take place at night and motorists are urged to be especially careful on all unfenced roads. I hope these posters will remind drivers that they need to be ready to stop, when they see ponies and cattle beside, or on the road.”

Rick Manley, Chairman of The New Forest Trust, stated, “This competition has helped young people to engage with some of our work across the New Forest and we hope it has allowed them to explore, through their designs, ways of protecting our animals and our local environment. Well done to the winning designers and our thanks to all hotels and businesses, who have generously supported this competition.”

The fourteen winning entrants have received donated prizes by hotels which take part in the New Forest Trust Visitor Gift Scheme these include: Balmer Lawn, Careys Manor, Lime Wood, Montagu Arms, New Forest Hotels, Chewton Glen. Further prizes were donated by; Royal Oak, Fritham, White Buck Inn, Paultons Park, The New Forest District Council, The New Forest Wildlife Park, The New Forest National Park Authority, Beaulieu Motor Museum and Long Meadow Campsite.


Monday, 26 September 2011

Help the New Forest’s local food businesses improve their online marketing

Whilst the term ‘local food’ is frequently used, there appears to be no generally agreed or widely adopted definition with the concept meaning different things to different people. Local food is predominantly about distance between where food is produced and consumed, with 30 miles commonly cited by the big supermarkets as their definition.

But it’s important to recognise the difference between ‘locality food’ which is marketed and sold both nationally and internationally based on being produced in a specific geographical region, and ‘local food’ which is produced and consumed locally. Alternatively, Sustain include a number of, albeit loosely specified, environmental, animal welfare, employment, fair trading relations, producer profitability and cultural conditions in their definition of local food.

When asked, 70% of British consumers say they want to buy local food suggesting they care about the provenance of their food. However, this appetite for local does not convert into sales with local foods accounting for less than 5% of the UK grocery market.

Research by the Institute of Grocery Distribution has identified the main barriers preventing people buying local food as:

  • Lack of awareness that local foods exist
  • Believe they lack practical access to local foods
  • Think it is out of their price range
  • Believe they cannot rely on its availability

According to research published this month by a major supermarket trade magazine, the provenance of food is only the fifth most important issue for customers after price, taste, quality and brand. But supporters of local food would point to research by the same magazine that found 76% of shoppers agree or strongly agree that buying local or regional food supports jobs and boosts the economy.

Local groups such as Hampshire Fare exist specifically to actively promote the benefits of buying local produce, and these benefits include taste and quality. However, it is clear that supporters of local food need to raise awareness and overcome some of the wrongly held beliefs that currently prevent people from buying local foods.

A local student is currently researching opportunities for Hampshire’s local food businesses to embrace online marketing and you can help increase consumption of Hampshire's quality produce by completing this survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/HampshireFoods.

Do you consciously buy any foods because they're produced locally in the New Forest? Leave your comment below.


Thursday, 22 September 2011

Kathryn Thomas Skylights 2011 Exhibition

Internationally acclaimed artist Kathryn Thomas, who recently relocated from Bristol to Poole, will be opening up her studio to the public from Saturday 29th October to Sunday 13th November for her latest exhibition, ‘Skylights 2011’.

The display, which offers 45 original oil paintings not previously displayed in Poole, is open every day throughout the exhibition dates from 10am to 8pm on weekdays and 10am to 6pm at weekends and is situated at West Quay House on West Quay Road in Poole. Admission is free and Kathryn will be available to answer questions or talk about her inspiration and techniques.

The arrangement of Kathryn’s Studio allows the public the uncommon opportunity to view art both in a working environment and also in a gallery space for the presentation of the finished article. The experience is further enhanced by the accompaniment of specially commissioned music by the sound recordist, Simon Whetham. The venue is especially poignant, as the building may be demolished in a few months’ time to make way for flats as part of the Holes Bay redevelopment project. Numerous people have already been side-tracked from their visit to the viewing platform of the new lifting bridge into the Studio for an altogether different type of viewing!

Throughout her career, Kathryn has found inspiration in nature. It is evident from her paintings that she is fascinated by natural light, how it changes with the weather and in turn, how those changes affect the landscapes we see and the way we see them. Unsurprising then that she should have found Poole to be so attractive with its strong and ever changing horizon. In more recent years her artistic vision has journeyed beyond the horizon and into space. Aided by an award from the prestigious Pollock Krasner Foundation of New York, Kathryn researched the aurora borealis, the galaxies and the planets and subsequently applied a quite different style to her paintings which, nevertheless, retain the vibrancy and evocative feel of her more traditional work.

Kathryn adds ‘I’ve always wanted to live and paint by the sea and I couldn’t have chosen a better location than beautiful Poole. I’m sure the landscape and weather patterns will influence and inspire my future work. Sadly, my studio at West Quay House will eventually be demolished so I’m making the most of the space while I can. I look forward to welcoming visitors to my new exhibition and getting to know Poole people better.’

Her works are owned by collectors around the world and Saudi Arabian royalty, peers of the realm and a variety of well known UK personalities can be counted amongst their number. Kathryn Thomas Skylights 2011 is open from Saturday 29th October to Sunday 13th November at West Quay House, 4 West Quay Road, Poole BH15 1HT. For further information, visit www.kathryn-thomas.co.uk

Recommended Reading: Art: The Definitive Visual Guide


Saturday, 17 September 2011

NFNPA - Consultation on draft Design Guide

The New Forest National Park Authority would like your views on a draft guide that aims to help protect the New Forest’s beautiful landscape and distinctive character.

The guide is intended to help and support applicants and agents in preparing proposals for development in the New Forest. It goes through the design process -from understanding landscape and settlement characteristics, to rural building influences, as well looking at matters such as external lighting and opportunities for wildlife. It provides a useful reference to what makes the New Forest a special place.

From Friday 9 September to Friday 21 October comments are being sought on the New Forest National Park Design Guide - Supplementary Planning document that supports the Core Strategy.

Pat Wyeth, joint Lead Member for Local Distinctiveness at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The Guide aims to inform planning decisions and safeguard the National Park well into the future.’

Leo Randall, also Lead Member for Local Distinctiveness at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘It provides a framework to achieve high standards of design and is intended to inspire applicants, agents and others.’

The draft Design Guide aims to:

  • Maintain and enhance the Forest’s rural landscape and built character, while embracing sustainability
  • Seek to retain valued Forest buildings that make a positive contribution to the historic character and appearance of the locality
  • Improve areas where there is the opportunity to reverse the effects of less sensitive development
  • Encourage communities to involve themselves in the design issues relating to the distinct character of the National Park.

The draft Design Guide and response forms are available from www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/design-guide or from the Authority’s headquarters at South Efford House, Milford Road, Everton, Lymington, Hampshire SO41 0JD.

Please email comments to policy@newforestnpa.gov.uk or post them to the Authority’s headquarters by 5:00pm on Friday 21 October 2011.

Recommended Reading: New Forest National Park: Short Walks by local author David Foster


Friday, 16 September 2011

New Power to local people for New Forest National Park

Government meets pledge to improve local accountability of National Parks.

Local people will have more say in the running of the New Forest National Park, under new Big Society plans announced by Defra today.

A pilot will take place in The New Forest for people to vote for members of their Park Authority, through democratic local elections. A proportion of all members will be appointed through this new system. The pilots in the New Forest and Peak District National Parks will last for four years.

Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: “The New Forest National Park Authority welcomes the opportunity to explore new ways of governance for National Parks which will improve our accountability.”

Natural Environment Minister, Richard Benyon said, “Our National Parks are our most treasured landscapes enjoyed by millions of people every year and contribute significantly to regional economies. The changes we are making will give the local communities a greater say in how their National Park is managed.”

The changes are expected to come into effect from April 2013, following consultation and pending legislative approval.

The Government is meeting the pledge made in the Coalition Agreement to review the governance arrangements of National Parks in order to increase local accountability.



Additional Notes of interest

  1. The National Park Authority’s proposals have been made following public consultation with people local to each National Park between 9 November 2010 and 1 February 2011.
  2. The Environment Secretary will no longer be required to approve parish members’ appointment to National Park Authorities.
  3. National Parks are protected for their beautiful countryside, wildlife and cultural heritage. People live and work in the National Parks and the farms, villages and towns are protected along with the landscape and wildlife. National Parks welcome visitors and provide opportunities for everyone to experience, enjoy and learn about their special qualities.


National news release from Defra:

Government meets pledge to improve local accountability of National Parks http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2011/09/13/power-people-national-parks/

The summary of responses is available on the Defra website at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/rural/national-parks/ under ‘ Latest News’.



Quote from National Park Chairman:

Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘The New Forest National Park Authority welcomes the opportunity to explore new ways of governance for National Parks which will improve our accountability.

‘We are pleased to note that given our extensive awareness-raising of the issue through public meetings and other mechanisms to facilitate input to Defra’s consultation, the New Forest received the most views of any of the national parks and we look forward to working with our local partners to develop the pilot.

‘We are pleased the announcement appears to have taken on board a number of the NPA’s recommendations which we sent in as our response to the consultation process. These include increasing transparency around how members are appointed and removing the role of the Secretary of State in formally appointing the four Parish Council members.

‘Our response also indicated a willingness to consider having a proportion of directly locally elected members to broaden the membership.’

Recommended Reading: Delivering the Essentials of Life,Defra's Five Year Strategy: Cm. 6411


Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Memoirs of a Baby Boomer – Compelling New Book by Peter Morley

Peter Morley
Peter Morley was born in a pre-technological, post-war Britain of bomb craters, ration books and National Health orange juice and cod liver oil. He was raised in an “ordinary”, but remarkable, loving and hardworking family of modest means and solid values. His first book, Orange Juice and Cod Liver Oil, is a heartwarming, compelling and amusing autobiography that will transport all Baby Boomers back to a time where people appreciated simple pleasures, where labour saving devices were a luxury, where people had more respect for everything and community spirit was the norm rather than a modern-day reaction to a tragedy.

Peter said: “I wrote this book because I wanted to record my experiences, and the thoughts and ideas they inspired, for my grandchildren so they might know something of their grandfather and of an age not so long ago but rather different from theirs.”

Peter not only chronicles his own life experiences, but those of his family through its last generations, showing how each of us absorbs knowledge, ideas and feelings from those with whom we associate, which can shape our lives in a positive or negative way depending on how we choose to handle these influences. The book covers political progress, religion, war, violence and other stimuli that have affected our social evolution, but with a different, personal and probably more realistic perspective to that which one might read about in academic history books.

Included in the book are excerpts from Peter’s mother’s journal of her early life. Of these Peter writes: “My mother was never critical of her parents to me and I find this surprising for I can find little evidence of any effort by them to alleviate the hardships for her. Perhaps she avoided bitterness to soften the reality of a very deprived start in life and to enable her to build an adult life for herself.”

By 1950 Peter’s parents had moved nine times. They both worked, so often cared for Peter in shifts. Although their work was all low paid and temporary and everything was bought second hand, they were building a family life.

Peter took pleasure in the idyllic countryside, picking blackberries, catching sticklebacks and lampreys and developing an empathy with nature and an enthusiasm for fishing. He made a boat from balsa wood, which he fitted it with a tiny electric motor and played and explored all day in a magical world. He enjoyed playing with other children when the opportunity was presented, but he was also happy to amuse myself. As an only child, he had learned to be self-reliant and certainly didn’t envy the squabbles that he witnessed between other brothers and sisters.

Educated at small country schools and an 11+ failure (Peter can’t recall answering any of the questions), he subsequently embarked on a 5-year apprenticeship, eventually obtaining an engineering degree as a part-time student. He went on to work as design engineer, project manager and group manager of a world class team, designing and building process plants for the production of hydrogen and other industrial gases and travelling extensively.

There are some hilarious accounts in the book involving Peter’s courtship with his wife Rosie, such as his first meeting with her parents: After the polite introductions, Rosie noticed something in my trouser pocket. “What have you got; is it something for me?”“No, it’s nothing,” I replied and, in that moment, realised how pleased I was to see her. “Yes, you have got something in your pocket; I can see it.” Her mother took an interest; perhaps it was a present for her? And then, realising it was not, she left the room abruptly, muttering about controlling oneself. I had not impressed on my first attempt.

Peter’s inspiring story shows how we all take the values we are taught into adulthood, but that it is also possible to reassess our views and beliefs based on our own experiences and the situations we encounter. It also demonstrates how we do not have to come from a privileged background in order to succeed in life.

He concludes by saying, “When we think or when we act we add something, good or bad, to the fabric of existence and when we feel optimistic and right with the world, we are drawing on the good stuff put there by all the people in all the generations since the very beginning. I am blessed with a soul mate of sweet nature and, perhaps, more tuned than many to this. It warms me and makes me better, stronger, richer. It even feels that I have become more able to add some threads.”

Orange Juice and Cod Liver Oil is available on Amazon and from other internet book sellers and leading high street bookstores.

Link to Amazon Store page >> Orange Juice and Cod Liver Oil: A Baby Boomer Memoir