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Sunday, 31 July 2011

Everyone is talking about Hotel TerraVina

Hotel TerraVina is an award winning hotel, located in the beautiful New Forest National Park. The whole ethos of the hotel is centred on the location’s outstanding beauty. The heart of the hotel lies in the restaurant, the food and the wine. Add into the mix exceptionally friendly, relaxed service and that’s TerraVina.

The team are the hotel’s best asset. Just as the hotel has evolved and improved over the past four years, so too have they and they have a sense of ownership for the place which is very gratifying. The team are commented on often as being instrumental in guests having greatly enjoyed their stays.

TerraVina is only small, with eleven bedrooms, but is much talked about and very well loved by a huge number of returning guests, many of whom knew Nina and Gerard from their Hotel du Vin days and have followed them to TerraVina. Many guests appreciate the relaxed, informal, friendly yet professional way the hotel is run and the fact that as a couple they are so hands on. They love the forest and are passionate about what they do and where they live and work and the guests get a feel for that when they stay at TerraVina.

In the kitchen, the food is tasty and full flavoured. Many describe Hotel TerraVina as a California-inspired gem. It was their love of California wine country restaurants that inspired Nina to design and create a place that epitomizes dining out in the sunshine state. The ‘open kitchen’ is a superb feature. One side of the restaurant opens out onto a wonderful veranda for al fresco breakfast, lunch or early dinners when the weather is warm.


Gerard, his wine team and the wines help to set Hotel TerraVina. Gerard is a well-recognised wine specialist and the current World Champion Sommelier. He is the only person in the world to hold Master Sommelier, Master of Wine and Wine MBA awards simultaneously and he was appointed an OBE in 2011.

Visit the Hotel TerraVina website at: www.hotelterravina.co.uk

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

New Forest businesses gearing up for open-top tour

Businesses and communities in the north and west of the New Forest National Park are gearing up for a successful summer thanks to a new route for the New Forest Tour open top bus which starts this weekend.


From 23 July to 4 September the New Forest Tour will be bringing visitors to the west and north of the Forest to complement the existing route in the south and east which carries over 18,000 passengers a year.

People taking the new circular tour route can visit Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Burley. The ticket includes a Brand New Forest card which gives access to discount offers at local businesses on the route including places to eat and drink, shops, and attractions.

The commentary along the way includes a history of the village of Burley – famed for its witches, natural history at Liberty’s Raptor and Reptile Centre, smuggling stories from the Ringwood area, and the Forest’s links to World War II.

Mark Kirtley, Managing Director of Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley, said: ‘The new tour route will create exposure for the western half of the Forest and will be particularly welcome as it allows people to get around car-free. The people of Burley are very pleased the tour is coming to the village and we hope to see real benefits from the new route.’

The new hop-on hop-off New Forest Tour route has been made possible by a partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Wilts & Dorset bus company and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre.

All New Forest Tour buses have room onboard for up to four bikes and the routes have been designed to link to the Forestry Commission’s comprehensive gravel track network.

Chris Gregory, the National Park’s Transport and Tourism Officer, said: ‘From the open top deck you will get a view of the Forest like no other.

‘Using the tour to get around the National Park makes so much sense. You see more than you could in a car, and fewer cars in the National Park is better for everyone's enjoyment of this magical place.’

Flexible ticket options have also been introduced to encourage customers to get the most out of the New Forest Tour. These include a new two-day ticket which will be valid on both routes (adult ticket £12).

Buy your ticket today and view the timetable and route map at www.thenewforesttour.info.

Recommended Reading: A New Forest Reader: A Companion Guide to the New Forest, its History and Landscape


Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Delicious new recipes from the New Forest Marque

The New Forest Marque has launched a new cookbook ‘More Seasoning’ which is bursting with mouth-watering dishes and heavenly desserts full of local ingredients. There are 60 recipes from New Forest producers for spring, summer, autumn and winter.

The recipe book contains a vast range of dishes to suite all tastes, from herb-crusted New Forest lamb for meat-lovers to a courgette and Lyburn cheese frittata for vegetarians. It is brimming with delicious desserts such as cranachan with New Forest honey and New Forest biscotti with jam trifles.

The ethos of the New Forest Marque is to work with local producers and farmers to help them promote their produce. By purchasing something which displays the New Forest Marque you are guaranteed to be buying something that is truly local.

Sarah Richards, New Forest Marque Manager, said: ‘This is the second New Forest Marque cookbook. We sold over 1,500 of Well Seasoned. The feedback was so positive we decided to produce a seasonal recipe book keeping the recipes simple and letting the food speak for itself.

‘Our Marque producers are so diverse which is how we are able to find so many interesting recipes, and the quality of the produce is second-to-none. We have three award-winning cheese makers as well as producers who make and prepare a wide range of products that include cakes, chutneys, honey products, fish and seafood, fruit and vegetables, jams, meats and much more.

‘Not only can you buy New Forest Marque products in the shops but you will also find them in many local pubs, restaurants and hotels, as well as neighbourhood stores and farmers’ markets.’

The More Seasoning cookbook costs £10 and is available to buy online at www.foreststore.co.uk or to download from iTunes at £1.79.

For more information about the Marque and to find out more about its local producers visit www.newforestproduce.co.uk.

Recommended Reading: A New Forest Reader: A Companion Guide to the New Forest, its History and Landscape


Wednesday, 13 July 2011

A Debut Publication from Hatchet Green Publishing

A New Forest Reader by Ian McKay

Today sees two ‘Firsts’ – the debut publication from New Forest publisher Hatchet Green Publishing + the launch of the first ever critical anthology of historical writing on the New Forest, edited and introduced by New Forest writer Ian McKay.

With this 332 page anthology of historical writing, readers can follow in the footsteps of the most celebrated writers on the New Forest; including William Gilpin, John R. Wise, and Heywood Sumner, as well as 18th and 19th century diarists and chroniclers such as Daniel Defoe, William Cobbett, and Richard Heath. Among the many contributions on the natural history of the New Forest are writings by the celebrated naturalists W.H. Hudson, and C.J. Cornish, as well as the prolific writer on British woodlands, Francis George Heath.

For anyone interested in the complex history and landscape of the New Forest, this anthology will prove fascinating.

A New Forest Reader: A Companion Guide to the New Forest, its History and Landscape (to give it its full title) can be purchased from Amazon.co.uk, Hatchet Media, or all good booksellers.

  • List Price £9.99
  • Paperback
  • 332 Pages
  • Illustrated

About the Author:
Ian McKay is a writer and artist who has been photographing and writing about the New Forest for many years. Previously he wrote on the arts and cultural history, before turning his attention towards the natural beauty and historic importance of the New Forest and the rural scene.

Purchase your copy now from Amazon by following this link: A New Forest Reader: A Companion Guide to the New Forest, its History and Landscape


Tuesday, 12 July 2011

Discover the Forest’s history, traditions and culture at the ‘New Forest in a nutshell’ events

Ever wondered how many ponies there are in the New Forest? How was the New Forest created? What special creatures live here?

Answers to all these questions and more will be provided at the New Forest National Park Authority’s ‘New Forest in a nutshell’ events.

Designed for visitors and residents new to the area, or those who just want to know a little bit more about the Forest, the series of events is hosted by a National Park Authority Ranger. You will be guided on a gentle stroll from the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst 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 will be given a bumper pack of information including the National Park pocket guide and free entry to the New Forest Centre, a museum which is packed with information about the New Forest’s fascinating traditions, wildlife and culture. 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: ‘We have had great feedback from the first ‘New Forest in a Nutshell’ events we held in May. Our rangers can tell you about lots of unusual aspects of the New Forest which many visitors and even residents don’t get to hear about. Then afterwards you can enjoy the New Forest Centre’s excellent museum.’

The events run from 10:15am - 12:15pm on the following dates:

  • Sunday 24 July
  • Tuesday 2 August
  • Sunday 7 August
  • Tuesday 16 August
  • Sunday 21 August
  • Tuesday 30 August

Places cost £8 per adult, £4 per child and are free for under 5s.

Your free entry into the New Forest Centre, worth £3.50, can be taken at any time after the New Forest in a Nutshell event.

Book your place today by calling the New Forest Centre on 023 8028 3444 or visit www.newforestcentre.org.uk

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


Monday, 11 July 2011

Parish council representatives proposed for New Forest National Park Authority

Parish Council-elected representatives to the New Forest National Park Authority are being put forward to the Government for approval.

The four parish councillors from each quarter of the National Park now need to be ratified by Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Caroline Spelman.

Elections are held every four years to coincide with Parish Council elections and were organised by the Hampshire Association of Local Councils (HALC), with voting closing on Thursday 7 July.

In the South West ‘quadrant’ of the National Park, a new member to the NPA is Cllr Richard Frampton, of Ringwood Town Council. From the 9 of 10 possible council votes, Cllr Frampton was elected after receiving 5 votes, with 3 going to Cllr Kathleen Gulliver of Sway Parish Council, and 1 going to Cllr John Hitchens of New Milton Town Council.

In the North East quadrant Cllr Bob Morris, a Landford Parish Councillor, continues as an NPA member. Landford is in Wiltshire, which is not holding parish council elections this year, and consequently an election is not due until 2013.

In the North West quadrant, Cllr John Sangar, of Woodgreen Parish Council, continues with his seat on the NPA as he was elected unopposed.

Cllr Clive Maton, Denny Lodge Parish Council, was elected to continue as an NPA member representing the South East quadrant. From the 8 of 9 possible council votes, Cllr Maton received a 7-1 majority against Cllr Beverley Thorne of Fawley Parish Council.

For more information visit the HALC website: www.hampshire-alc.gov.uk.

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


Friday, 8 July 2011

National Park Authority encourages New Forest horse owners to back ragwort campaign

The New Forest National Park Authority is encouraging horse owners to take part in a campaign to prevent the ragwort weed after a survey by The British Horse Society identified Hampshire as the English county most infested with the deadly plant.

Every year animals die painful and unnecessary deaths as a result of damage to their liver from consuming Ragwort.

Last year, spurred by concern over the increase in reports, the BHS launched a nationwide survey to draw up a true picture of the extent and location of the weed. The results showed Hampshire to be the most infested county in England.

The National Park Authority is encouraging horse lovers to complete this year’s BHS ‘snapshot survey’ during BHS Ragwort Awareness Week next week (11-17 July 2011). If anyone spots ragwort during this period they are asked to spend just a couple of minutes filling in a form available on the BHS website, www.bhs.org.uk. All respondents will be entered into a prize draw to win one of two Mark Todd Blouson Jackets provided by the Mark Todd Collection.

By carrying out the survey in the same week annually, the BHS is hoping to gain an insight into trends in ragwort proliferation and to strengthen the argument to control it. This can then be used to encourage better enforcement of ragwort control and lobby for changes in legislation.

Steve Avery, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Director of Park Services, said: ‘Due to the importance of livestock and equine ownership in the vicinity of the Forest we would encourage landowners to take appropriate action to control common ragwort in line with the national code of practice. Local organisations and agencies already play an important part in controlling common ragwort where it is a threat but may not be aware of all areas where it poses a threat. ‘We would encourage individuals and communities to help by supporting the BHS survey and reporting dangerous outbreaks to the relevant landowner.’

Vet and dressage trainer Fiona Macdonald is Vice Chairman of the New Forest Equine Forum. She said: ‘The Equine Forum is delighted to support any initiative to reduce the potential threat of ragwort. It causes such a nasty disease in horses and ponies and it is not always obvious, so anything that can be done to reduce the risk has to be welcomed and supported.’

More than 75 percent of cases of ragwort reported in the 2010 survey involved land that animals were grazing on or near. Across the UK a total of 13,189 horses were identified as grazing on ragwort-infested pasture, with the figure for cattle and sheep being estimated as approaching 20,000. In more than one third of reports, the plant was said to cover at least half of the land.

Lee Hackett, BHS Head of Welfare, said: ‘By now, everyone involved with horses should know the danger that ragwort poses. Every year animals die as a result of consuming this deadly plant yet the problem seems to be getting worse.

‘Our 2010 survey was a great success and produced some fascinating results that we can use in our lobbying to get some action taken. But we need more data and we are appealing to anyone who cares about equine welfare to become involved in 2011. The survey only takes a couple of minutes to fill out but the information we obtain might just be what we need to effect a substantial change.’

Recommended Reading: Learn to Ride with The British Horse Society


Thursday, 7 July 2011

Help excavate the New Forest National Park

Volunteers excavating at a Salt Boiling house
near Lymington
To celebrate the ‘Festival of British Archaeology’ the New Forest National Park Authority invites you to explore some salty archaeology secrets at a series of events for all ages.

From Monday 18 July to Friday 22 July the Authority’s Maritime Archaeology Education and Outreach Officer James Brown will be running a guided walk called ‘Salty Secrets’ at Pennington Marshes.

The two-mile walk through the remnants of Lymington’s hidden salt production landscape will take you to where volunteers are currently excavating in an attempt to find the earliest evidence of salt production along the New Forest coast.

Along the way you will have the opportunity to learn about the long forgotten history of the salt boiling houses in Lymington, how they dominated the coastline, brought huge wealth to Lymington and some private individuals, before they went into rapid decline and nearly disappeared completely which is why the remaining examples are now so important.

Salt was a vital trade and the building which you will visit ceased production in 1865 - it was one of the last sea salt producers in the country to close. Evidence shows that at the industry’s peak in around 1730 there were 163 pans in the Lymington area. Between 1724 and 1766 Lymington exported 4,612 tons of salt in 64 ships - 12 cargoes were destined for Newfoundland, 33 to America and others to Norway, Ireland and the Channel Islands.

On Saturday 23 July an ‘Antiques Roadshow’ style event gives you the chance to bring along your archaeological finds to the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst.

Every year thousands of objects are discovered, many by metal detector users but also by people out walking, gardening or by going about their daily work. Such important discoveries offer valuable clues into our past.

Experts from the Portable Antiques Scheme and the National Park Authority will be at the free event to answer your questions, provide information and tell you a bit more about your finds.

James Brown, the Authority’s Maritime Archaeology Education & Outreach Officer, said: ‘These events showcase a small example of the rich cultural heritage of the New Forest National Park. The national “Festival of Archaeology” is a great opportunity to learn about your own local heritage, to get involved and see archaeology in action.

‘The “Salty Secrets” walks will offer people an insight into a lost trade that ceased over 100 years ago. Anyone who comes along will have a great time and have a chance to talk to some of our volunteers about the work they do.

‘I’m really looking forward to what I could potentially discover at the identification day. Who knows what we may find. That is the beauty of archaeology- you never know what is going to turn up next.’

For event times and dates visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/visiting/whats-on/salty-secrets

Recommended Reading: Lymington and Pennington (Then and Now)


Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Chilli Festival : Dorset will be hot in August

Event: Great Dorset Chilli Festival, a specialist food fair.
Venue: Kingston Lacy park, Wimborne, by kind permission of the National Trust.
Dates: Saturday 13th and Sunday 14th August 2011.

The Great Dorset Chilli Festival is a hot weekend of chilli fiesta, with stalls selling all things chilli, from chilli pepper plants, seeds and sauces to stranger combinations such as chilli chocolate, chilli cider and chilli ice cream. For the milder palate we have some really exciting local food producers, from artisan breads to Dorset charcuterie, traditional ginger beer to watercress burgers, chutneys, jams, amazing cakes, marinated olives, spice blends, superb snacks and smoked seeds.

FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Chilli eating competitions (only for the brave!)
  • Chilli-sauce competition (visitors get to try the sauces and vote for their favourite)
  • Cooking demonstrations including Masterchef winner and Dorset restaurateur Mat Follas
  • Chilli-growing talks including Dorset Naga developer Michael Michaud
  • Carefully selected delicious hot food stalls: paellas, burritos, enchiladas, curries, wood-oven pizzas, organic burgers and barbequed chorizo
  • Learn from the experts: discuss growing chillies at home or how to make your own sauces
  • BBC Radio Solent will broadcast their breakfast show live from the festival
  • Vibrant atmosphere, sublime cooking smells, bright colours, a real fiesta!
  • The party has already started on our Facebook page!

Miles Halton, director of SureFire Events who manage the Great Dorset Chilli Festival, says “There’s a fantastic food culture here in Dorset and across the South West, and chillies are playing an ever increasing part in this culture. It’s a perfect culinary combination: Dorset and chillies!”

Chillies are a very fashionable ingredient due largely to celebrity chefs showing us all how to use them. Migration, cheap global travel and the breaking down of cultural culinary boundaries have all had an impact. The development of the super-hot chilli, the Dorset Naga, has already put Dorset on the map for UK chilli enthusiasts.

Visit website www.greatdorsetchillifestival.co.uk for full details, opening times, admission, directions etc. Discounted tickets online. Also on Facebook and Twitter @grtDorsetChilli

Recommended Reading: The Complete Chilli Pepper Book: A Gardener's Guide to Choosing, Growing, Preserving, and Cooking


Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Tango in the New Forest

Learn, improve & dance the tango in Lymington

On Sunday 17th July - an afternoon of workshops with dancer & musician Alfredo Martin Espindola from London/Buenos Aires, followed by an evening of social dancing with live music from 'Moontangles' (Alice Williamson: clarinet, voice, piano & Martin Espindola: guitar, bandoneon, voice) drinks, nibbles and more.....

2-3pm Beginners' workshop: fun & relaxed session on the basics. 3.30-4.30pm Improvers (suited also to those beginners who attended the first workshop). £8 per workshop; £15 for both (tea and cake included).

7-10pm Milonga: social dancing with live music from 'Moontangles'. £12 for the evening including drinks and nibbles. Special price only £20 for the whole day

Venue: The Wellington Room, Lymington Community Centre, New Street, Lymington, Hants. SO41 9BQ. The Wellington Room is an attractive high-ceilinged ballroom 5-10 minutes walk away from Lymington Town train station; public carparks over the road.

Please contact Alice Williamson for further details & bookings: 01590 626358 / 07707628028 / Lacie@cantab.net

Recommended Reading: The Meaning of Tango: The Story of the Argentinian Dance


Monday, 4 July 2011

Rare fungus discovered during ‘wildlife bonanza’

Moths, fungus, bats, birds and an array of pond and sea life were just some of the many finds at this year’s ‘Bioblitz’.

Launch of the Bioblitz at Lepe Country Park with pupils from Blackfield Primary School
with New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes.

The 24-hour ‘wildlife bonanza’ aims to record as many species as possible in the New Forest National Park. Once again it revealed some exciting finds.

Experts were joined by excited families and wildlife enthusiasts at Lepe Country Park, Denny Wood and Bolderwood.

New Forest National Park Authority Ecologist Ian Barker, said: ‘Despite the downpours we still had a really good turn-out of people. We recorded over 400 species by the end of the 24-hours, but we hope this number will increase over the next week or so once all the records collected have been entered into our database.

‘There were a lot of exciting finds but the two that really stood out were the Splachnum moss which is very rare in the UK, and a large bracket fungus called Phellinus populicola which has never been seen in Hampshire before and had to be verified by Kew Gardens.’

Jim Mitchell, New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation Officer, said: ‘It is not just the numbers of species that was important - we have had a lot of contact with members of the public with really positive feedback from people taking part. Hopefully we will have instilled in our younger participants a passion for wildlife and some of those will become wildlife champions of the future.’

The 24-hour wildlife dash started at 4pm at Lepe Country Park with a woodland wander and beach safari with pupils from Blackfield Primary School.

This was followed by an evening bat and moth hunt until midnight and an early morning birdsong walk - finding birds such as hawfinch, firecrest and crossbill.

The event finished with a fun-filled activity day at Bolderwood that was packed full of guided events such as pond-dipping and searching for wildlife on the Forest floor.

Experts from the Hampshire Biodiversity Information Centre, Hampshire County Council, Forestry Commission, the Hampshire Wildlife Trust and the National Park Authority’s own ecologist were among the specialists helping people of all ages to discover the Park’s wide variety of plants, fungi and animals.

The data will be used to inform the National Park Authority’s work on how best to look after the New Forest wildlife.

All the events were profiled live on a Bioblitz blog which can be viewed at: http://bioblitzthepark.blogspot.com.

Unusual finds:

1. Bracket fungus Phellinus populicola found on a Grey Poplar tree at Bolderwood—showing how excellent the New Forest is for Fungi
2. Splachnum moss- grows on Pony poo and is rare in the UK, found on heathland near Bolderwood
3. Hidden-hole spider Cryphoeca silvicola- only a handful of records in the south-east being a northern British species; found at Bolderwood
4. Hawfinches seen at Bolderwood feeding on cherries. The hawfinch is famed for its spectacular beak, it likes the mixed trees of the New Forest
5. A tiny white bivalve called Loripes lucinalis, only 1cm across, native to northern Europe, and found at Lepe. Found by Jenny Mallinson, the last New Forest sighting was 40 years ago.

Thomas Bell with his find a ‘peppered moth’ at the Bioblitz activity day at Bolderwood.

Recommended Reading: A Year in the Life of the New Forest


Saturday, 2 July 2011

Minister Richard Benyon MP visits New Forest

Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon MP was in the New Forest yesterday (Monday 9 May) at the invitation of the New Forest National Park Authority to meet local organisations and learn more about the Forest.

Mr Benyon met National Park members and officers at the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst, and heard how successful education partnerships are making a real difference in helping people learn more about the unique landscape and wildlife in the New Forest.

Mr Benyon then visited a stream restoration project at Fletchers Thorns, off the Rhinefield Drive near Brockenhurst. The stream restoration is one of a number of projects funded by a Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme, which works to improve these internationally-important habitats and supports the ancient practice of commoning – so vital to the unique landscape of the New Forest.

(Left to right): Rachel Bailey of Natural England,
Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries Richard Benyon MP,
NPA Chairman Julian Johnson, Forestry Commission’s Acting Deputy
Surveyor Kevin Penfold (in hardhat), Verderer Richard Deakin and NPA
Chief Executive Alison Barnes view a stream restoration project near Brockenhurst.
During the site visit he met representatives from the Verderers, Forestry Commission, New Forest Association and Natural England, who worked in partnership to secure the largest HLS scheme in Europe – worth £16 million over 10 years.

Mr Benyon said: ‘Today has been a valuable opportunity to observe the effort and enthusiasm local people are putting into this ancient landscape. The New Forest has been a source of prosperity and enjoyment for many centuries. The work of the National Park Authority and its partners will ensure that this remains the case for years to come.’

National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson, who hosted the visit, said: ‘The Minister was particularly interested to learn how the National Park is supporting and promoting local produce through the New Forest Marque accreditation scheme, about the range of community projects under way, and how complex land management issues are in the Forest. We were keen to show the Minister that the New Forest can only thrive if the delicate balance achieved by working together is maintained and enhanced going forward.’

Kevin Penfold, the Forestry Commission’s Acting Deputy Surveyor of the New Forest, said: ‘The river restoration scheme is hugely important for the Forest and has only come about through strong partnership working between the FC, Natural England, the Verderers and the National Park Authority that has helped to secure the funding. Undertaking the work, such as seen at Fletchers Thorns, requires significant consultation with both the partners and local interest groups so we can agree what needs to be done and ensure the restoration is completed to the highest standard.'

Elected Verderer Richard Deakin told the Minister: ‘We are grateful for the HLS scheme in enabling commoning to keep going in pretty difficult circumstances and also for the legacy which it will provide.’

Recommended Reading: Agricultural Valuations: A Practical Guide

Useful link to: New Forest things to do