Simon King, best known for presenting Springwatch and Big Cat Diary, has produced three fascinating films, looking at the rich wildlife of the National Park’s internationally-important patchwork of ancient woodlands, lowland heaths and diverse coastline.
Rare species such as Sand Lizards, Goshawks and Dartford Warblers are featured in the online films, which highlight how the ancient rights of ‘commoning’ - including the right to graze free roaming ponies - have shaped the landscape over hundreds of years. The films will also enable better understanding of the Forest's natural beauty and will help people appreciate and conserve its special qualities into the future.
The New Forest was designated a National Park by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) on 1 March, 2005 – the first to be created in the UK for nearly 50 years.
The New Forest National Park Authority was created shortly after on 1 April, 2005, and was delegated full powers a year later.
National Park status offers the highest form of landscape protection in the UK, helping to conserve 220 square miles of fragile habitats, more than 200 ancient monuments and 17 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the New Forest.
National Parks also have a duty to help their communities prosper, and are responsible for ensuring residents and visitors can appreciate and enjoy its natural beauty.
Simon King has traveled far and wide to film some of the world’s rarest animals and most spectacular settings for our TV screens. Yet the New Forest remains a special place for him.
Simon said: ‘Ever since I was a child, the New Forest has held an unparalleled magic for me. The remarkable mix of ancient, natural and human history is a compelling cocktail for all lovers of the outdoors.
‘It’s made all the more tangible through giant relics in the form of mighty trees and swathes of heathland. This patchwork of habitats offers wild creatures a broad choice of homes and resources, enriching the New Forest with an extraordinary variety and density of life.
‘This wild community, together with a working model of sustainable human use of forest resources, makes the Forest a shining jewel in Britain’s natural crown.’
Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘These excellent films really do capture the special qualities of the New Forest National Park, and will help viewers better understand and appreciate its exceptional landscapes, animals and traditions.
‘The New Forest was created by William the Conqueror as a royal hunting ground more than 900 years ago, and I’m certain that he would recognise much of the Forest today. It’s a haven for wildlife and rare plants, but it’s also a working forest with vibrant communities, and a place to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. National Park status helps ensure the New Forest’s fragile landscapes will be protected and appreciated by future generations.’
Environment Minister, Lord de Mauley said: ‘The New Forest National Park may only be 10 years old but the stunning scenery stretches back centuries, boasting some of the richest wildlife in Britain and many of the oldest trees in Europe.
‘Its unique heritage is the cornerstone of the Park’s thriving economy and something of which we should all be proud.’
The three films have been produced by Simon King Wildlife TV, with thanks to Natural World UK. They are available on the New Forest National Park Authority’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/newforestnpa.
For more about Simon King visit www.simonkingwildlife.com