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Sunday, 22 May 2011

National Park Chairman encourages Forest residents to send in their views

The New Forest National Park Authority is encouraging people across the Forest to feed in their views about the future of England’s forests and woods, following the call today (12 May) for views by the Independent Panel on Forestry.

The Independent Panel has been set up to advise Government on the future of England's forests and woods by April 2012. It has a wide-ranging remit including advising on the future direction of forest and woodland policy.

Today the Panel announced initial visits to the Forest of Dean, Northumberland, and Kent. It asked people to send in their views on forests and woods in England, and what this part of our landscape can and should provide, now and in the future.

New Forest National Park Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘It is good to hear that the Panel is initiating site visits and following confirmation of these first visits we would hope that the Panel would schedule more and come to the New Forest; we will be seeking clarification on this.

I am sure the visits will reinforce the value of connecting with local people and why it will be important for them to come to the New Forest. The unique way the Open Forest is looked after, through the ancient practice of commoning and the efforts of a wide range of partners working together, can only be fully appreciated first-hand.

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.

Now we know what questions are being asked by the Panel, we can consider them in more detail. National Park Authority members will discuss their response to the call for views at the next Authority meeting on 23 June ahead of the deadline for comments on 31 July.

There are excellent examples of good practice across the New Forest and I would encourage everyone to put their views forward.

To find out more about the Forestry Panel and how to give them your views, visit: www.defra.gov.uk/rural/forestry/panel/

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

New village shop has ‘green’ credentials

After four and a half years of hard work by the local community Woodgreen Village Shop will be officially open this Saturday. Not only will it benefit local communities but it has also been designed to be environmentally friendly.

Villagers secured a £25,000 grant from the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund in 2009 to help towards the ‘green’ aspects of its the construction. The grant helped provide energy saving measures such as an air-source heat pump and heat recovery ventilation unit to utilise the warm air generated by appliances and increase efficiency in temperature control.

Andrea Finn of Woodgreen Community Shop Association Limited, said: ‘One of our aims in constructing a new village shop and post office was to design something that fitted in with, and benefitted the environment. As far as possible we have used local companies, sustainable materials and included energy saving technology. We are pleased with what we have been able to achieve with money from the Sustainable Development Fund.

‘It has been a long journey and I am proud of what the Woodgreen Community Shop Association Committee has achieved the support of Woodgreen, Breamore, Godshill and Hale villagers. We are also grateful to organisations such as the New Forest National Park Authority in helping us access grant funds. The new building has cost around £340,000; we raised £110,000 from village events and the rest from grants and a co-operative and community finance loan. It has been a long journey, but the benefit this will have to local communities is priceless.’

Andy Brennan, Sustainable Development Officer at the Authority, said: ‘The Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund is designed to help and support local communities with projects that will deliver environmental, economic and community benefits to the New Forest.

‘We are pleased to have helped support the work of the Woodgreen Community Shop Association, they are a fantastic example of a community working together to retain the vitality of local villages, and they have given a lot of consideration about how to make the building environmentally friendly. They are also supporting local producers and hope to stock at least 20 per cent of food from local sources.’

The National Park Authority also granted planning permission for the new premises.

The Woodgreen Community Shop will be having its grand opening with an opening ceremony on Saturday 14 May at 11:30am, followed by live music, stalls and displays. There will be a hog roast at 6pm, with a Barbeque, beer tent and band at the Horse and Groom Pub. For more information visit www.woodgreencommunityshop.org.

Find out more about the Sustainable Development Fund and if you have a project that is eligible by visiting www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/sustainable_development_fund_new

Explore the New Forest in a ‘nutshell’

If you are new to the area or want to learn more about this special place come along to one of the New Forest National Park Authority’s ‘New Forest in a nutshell’ events.

These events start at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. Visitors will be met by a National Park Authority Ranger who will lead them on a three mile walk to take in the stunning scenery and learn about the New Forest’s unique history and the iconic New Forest pony.

After the walk visitors are given a bumper pack of information including the National Park pocket guide and have free entry to the New Forest Centre. Here they will find a museum packed full of displays and activities such as: the ‘pony challenge’, a game designed to help you learn why ponies are kept on the Forest and why you definitely shouldn’t feed them; a display of the Beaulieu Road pony sales with sound effects; and the new family fun tree - designed to get the whole family involved in learning about the animals and wildlife that live here.

The Centre also has an exhibition area, a large gift shop and a Visitor Information Centre.

Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest is a fascinating place with lots of unusual aspects to it which many visitors and even residents don’t get to hear about. The aim of these walks and access to the New Forest Centre is to answer any questions people have and for our Rangers to talk about the New Forest, which isn’t new or a forest!’

The walk and talk with a Ranger takes place from 10:15am-12:15pm on the dates below and entry to the New Forest Centre can be taken any time after this.

Dates for your diary:
Sunday 29 May
Tuesday 31 May
Sunday 24 July
Tuesday 2 August
Sunday 7 August
Tuesday 16 August
Sunday 21 August
Tuesday 30 August

The event is £8 per adult, £4 per child and free for under 5s. To book your place contact the new Forest Centre on 023 8028 3444 or visit www.newforestcentre.org.uk.

Recommended Reading: New Forest (Landmark Visitor Guide)


Wednesday, 11 May 2011

New Forest National Park’s Greener Living Show a success

Claire Sherwood, New Forest National Park Authority
Ranger in front of the Authority’s mobile unit.
Around 1,300 people visited the second annual ‘Greener Living Show’ at Sandy Balls Holiday Centre near Fordingbridge, on Sunday 8 May.

The New Forest National Park Authority teamed up with IKEA and Sandy Balls to show people how small changes can have a big impact on the environment.

Over 50 stands exhibited including; the IKEA sustainability road show, Brand New Forest, the Forest Store, New Forest Transition and a variety of local food and craft stalls, children’s activities, renewable technologies and cookery demonstrations from the New Forest Marque.

BBC Radio Solent also broadcasted their popular Gardener’s Question Time from the show between 1-2pm.

Claire Gingell, Interim Project Delivery Manager, said: ‘We are pleased that even more people attended the event than last year. The feedback has been extremely positive with people saying how much they enjoyed learning simple money-saving tips on how to improve their health as well as caring for the environment.’

Mark Sokol, IKEA Southampton’s Community and Sustainability Specialist added:

‘We enjoyed every part of the event which hopefully encouraged our community to take small steps towards greener living. Sustainability is at the heart of IKEA and hopefully a few more people are now aware of our commitment and direction. Whether it’s growing your own herbs, encouraging children to think about the environment through games, arts and crafts, or thinking about the purchasing choices we make, we can all do a little and create a lot for people and the environment.'

Children colouring at the IKEA Sustainability Road Show
with Rob Cooper and Mark Sokel
Sandy Balls Operations Director Brett Turner continued: ‘Sandy Balls has traditionally always practiced sustainable living. As a business, reducing costs through sustainable practices makes absolute sense and we were therefore very pleased to have hosted the Greener Living Show at Sandy Balls.’

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Join the family fun at New Forest National Park’s Greener Living Show

(Left to right): IKEA's Mark Sokol, National Park Chief
Executive Alison Barnes, and Sandy Balls Operations
Director Brett Turner finalise preparations for the
Greener Living Show at Sandy Balls Holiday
Centre this Sunday

Over 50 stalls and activities to help you ‘go green’ will ensure a day of family fun at the Greener Living Show this Sunday (8 May).

The New Forest National Park is teaming up with IKEA and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre to help people take small steps to care for the environment.

The Greener Living Show will be held at the holiday centre near Fordingbridge this Sunday, 8 May, from 10am to 4pm.

Attractions include the IKEA sustainability roadshow, local food and crafts, children’s activities, a chance to learn about the latest renewable technologies, plus a wide range of stalls and demonstrations.

BBC Radio Solent will be broadcasting from the event on the day, with Gardeners’ Question Time coming from the Show.

Entry is free to the event. Last year over 800 people attended the Show and found out money-saving tips and how to improve their health as well as caring for the environment.

New Forest National Park Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘There are a great range of stalls at the show this year with something for everyone. If you need inspiration about how we can all make small changes in our everyday lives to have a positive impact on the environment, the Greener Living Show is the place to be. I am really pleased to be working with so many different organisations for what promises to be a great day out.'

Mark Sokol, IKEA Southampton’s Community and Sustainability Specialist will be on hand to help people live a more sustainable lifestyle.

He said: ‘Sustainability is at the heart of the IKEA ethos and we hope that by helping our customers to take small steps to improve the environment on a local scale, we can collectively have a global impact. Our Never Ending List products help people to live a sustainable life at home and we'll be demonstrating how people can make a difference.'

Speaking outside an 'eco lodge' fitted with water and energy-saving devices, Sandy Balls Operations Director Brett Turner said: ‘Sandy Balls has traditionally always practiced sustainable living. As a business, reducing costs through sustainable practices makes absolute sense and we were therefore very pleased to have been asked to host the Greener Living Show at Sandy Balls.’

The Greener Living Show has something for all ages. Supported by New Forest District Council, schools in the New Forest have been invited to take part in a design competition.

For more details visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/greenerliving