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Sunday, 26 August 2012

NFNPA - Sculpture unveiling marks beginning of national pilot project celebrating New Forest rivers

Becton Bunny, Jacobs Gutter, Highland Water and Dark Water - these are just some of the streams in the New Forest which are as fascinating as their names.

Now the New Forest National Park Authority has received a Defra awarded grant to devise a way for whole communities to work together for the benefit of their local rivers, streams and coastine, with the results contributing to a nationwide rollout.

The Millings Chandelier
by Trudi Lloyd Williams
at The Mill, Gordleton.
The project was launched with the unveiling of a striking sculpture entitled the ‘Millings Chandelier’ at The Mill at Gordleton Hotel & Restaurant on Sunday (August 19).

The Mill, at Silver Street, Hordle near Lymington, and which sits on the Avon Water, features a range of sculptures by high profile local and national artists. This latest dramatic addition by Lymington-based Trudi Lloyd-Williams is suspended across the river. It is made from upcycled waste from the hotel and restaurant - glass and plastic bottles and copper from water pipes and a hot water tank. - in keeping with the ethos of the business, which incorporates many environmentally-friendly practices.

Trudi has often used rivers as her inspiration for sculptures including a series of planted rafts for her Master’s degree floating on the River Lavant at West Dean College, West Sussex, and for a client in London.

She said: ‘I find the whole aspect of water, rivers and flooding fascinating, particularly where we live with the coastal area and the effect of the sea.

‘It’s the first time I have suspended a piece over the river, which is a very volatile stretch and can go up and down by over two metres!’

Liz Cottingham, owner of The Mill at Gordleton, said: ‘The river and caring for the environment is at the heart of my business and I love seeing the seasons change, so having a sculpture reflecting the river is a perfect addition to our range of pieces in the garden.

‘I am delighted the National Park is leading on this project to encourage more people to connect with their rivers as we do, and to collectively come up with a plan to sustain them.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘Rivers and streams are vital in sustaining our internationally-important and unique New Forest habitats which are home to a wide variety of wildlife species, many of which are rare.

‘We will be working with national charity Pond Conservation and local communities to look at what they value about their rivers, streams and coastline, what the main issues are and how we can work together to tackle them.

‘This beautiful sculpture is a real celebration of the river at The Mill and we hope a whole range of people and organisations will join us in valuing this precious resource and improving it for the future.’

The New Forest River Catchment Project is trialling a new locally-based approach to working with stakeholders to achieve a greater appreciation of the water environment and commitment to joint projects to improve it. The initial phase is now under way and has already started to talk with local partners and communities, with a report due by the end of the year. Work is currently concentrating on the Becton Bunny at Barton-on-Sea and the Sowley and Hatchet streams with their associated small lakes near Beaulieu. If this approach is successful we hope it will be continued to cover the other New Forest streams and coastline.

To have your say on the priorities for improvements to the New Forest’s water environment in general or one of the streams mentioned, or if you would like to be considered for any future practical volunteer opportunities, email wildlife@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

For more details visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/looking-after/wildlife/catchment-project

New Forest Streams:

  • Becton Bunny - at Barton-on-sea
  • Jacobs Gutter - at Totton
  • Highland Water - at Brockenhurst
  • Dark Water - at Lepe

Further reading: New Forest Wildlife

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

NFNPA - Discover the New Forest National Park in a day

Put Thursday 23 August in your diary for a jam-packed day of excitement, events and everything you ever wanted to know about the New Forest National Park.

This free event from 10:30am-4pm at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst will be bursting with children’s activities; guided walks around Lyndhurst and the Open Forest; tours of the historic Verderers’ Court which has been in place since the 13 century; games and an opportunity to visit the gardens of the historic Queen’s House.

To celebrate, the New Forest Tour is offering free travel to children from five to 15 years old on 23 August for one day only - a saving of £5 per child. The Tour has a handy stop just outside the New Forest Centre.

Gillie Hayball, Lead Ranger at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This is a great day for everyone to come along to. It offers a taster of what the New Forest has to offer and gives people an insight into the Forest’s ancient traditions and unique way of life.

‘With the New Forest Tour offering free travel for children it allows visitors to the New Forest Centre to explore even further afield, experience unparalleled views of the New Forest, and the chance to leave their car at home.’

Hilary Marshall, New Forest Centre Manager, said: ‘We are pleased to be working in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority to offer such a great day of activities. The New Forest Centre is the perfect place to start your visit to the New Forest.’

For more information about the event visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/visiting/whats-on/discover-your-national-park and for the New Forest Tour timetable go to www.thenewforesttour.info

Further reading: New Forest Wildlife

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

NFNPA - New Forest Tour advert aims to reduce animal accidents

A new ad campaign on this year’s New Forest Tour to remind drivers to look out for animals on roads in the north of the Forest is sure to catch people’s attention.

Last year there were 46 road traffic accidents involving commoners’ animals on the B3078 and B3079. These busy roads across the north of the New Forest bucked the overall trend of fewer accidents.

Now, for the first time, the entire back of one of the New Forest Tour’s open top buses carries an image of ponies at sunset with the slogan ‘Ponies don’t dent they die’, written by 14-year-old Oliver Smith, who won the 2011 competition ‘saving ponies through art’. Oliver was delighted to hear that his slogan is once again hitting the headlines. He said: ‘First it was a poster, then road signs and now it’s on the back of a bus!’

Nigel Matthews, Community and Visitor Services Manager at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This year has got off to a good start. The number of animal accidents across the Open Forest by the end of June was only 40, compared to 64 in the same period last year.

‘However, we wanted to remind drivers in the north to be careful. The image on the bus by photographer Mike Read reminds us that animals are on the road day and night.’

Head Agister Jonathan Gerrelli said: ‘It is the law to report all accidents as soon as possible, and within 24 hours. However 31 accidents were not reported last year. Not only is this distressing for the injured animal but also for the Agisters - we work long hours in often difficult circumstances. It is our job to find the animal and often to end its suffering. Failure to report an accident promptly may result in unnecessary suffering to the animal - something which could lead the Police to take further action.’

Graham Ferris, Chairman of the Commoners Defence Association, said: ‘The Commoners’ animals are vital to the New Forest since their grazing keeps the Forest the way we have all come to appreciate. The animals have right of way and don’t understand that cars are dangerous. By reminding drivers to watch out for the animals, we hope to reduce the number of accidents.’

The New Forest Tour is the perfect way to promote safe driving around the Forest. Not only is it seen by thousands of people but one of its main purposes is to reduce traffic on New Forest roads.

This specially-branded New Forest Tour bus is on the new red route which travels through Sandy Balls Holiday Centre at Godshill, Ashurst, Lyndhurst, Burley, Ringwood, and for the first time through the centre of Fordingbridge until 16 September.

If you witness or are involved in an accident involving a pony, donkey, cow, pig or sheep, call the Police (999 for an emergency or 101 if it’s not an emergency). Animal emergency hotline cards also give you the numbers to call if you see sick, injured or distressed animals. Cards are available from garages and Local Information Points across the New Forest. To stock the cards contact the New Forest National Park Authority at enquiries@newforestnpa.gov.uk.

For New Forest Tour route maps and timetables visit www.thenewforesttour.info

Further reading: New Forest Wildlife

Monday, 6 August 2012

NFNPA - Exploring the wonders of New Forest coast

Celebrate South East Marine Week by rolling up your trousers and getting wet exploring the New Forest coastline at Lepe Country Park.

Marine Wonders is a free event next Thursday and Friday (9-10 August) from 10am-4pm that offers an abundance of things to do and has something on offer for all ages.

This year will have rescue sessions of life-size dolphin and seal models with the British Divers Marine Life Rescue group.

There will be three beach safaris each morning at low tide to search for the ‘wonders’ of the sea such as crabs, anemones, brittle stars and barnacles.

You will also have the opportunity to speak to rangers and wildlife experts about how to identify creatures from this unique environment and be able to impress your family and friends with your newly-acquired knowledge.

The day will be jam-packed with activities including storytelling, clay modelling, travelling back in time with our archaeological treasure chest, exploring a marine grotto, making a shingle sculpture and an opportunity to try our ‘Fishy Quiz’ with top prizes drawn from a hat.

Leanne Atkinson, Education Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This event is the perfect way to explore our coastline above and below the water. The New Forest coast is buzzing with wildlife and has a great history. We want people to come along and find out more about this fantastic area of the New Forest.’

The event is organised in partnership with Hampshire County Council and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

For more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/visiting/whats-on/marine-wonders

Further reading: New Forest Wildlife