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Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Learn about the New Forest Ponies



Monday, 18 May 2015

Animal accidents map shows worst New Forest roads

New Forest organisations are appealing for motorists to take more care as a new map is published to highlight the worst roads for animal accidents.

New Forest animal accidents map
Click map for larger view
The map shows 138 accidents across the Forest in 2014, with more than a third of accidents taking place on just three roads:

  • B3078 from Cadnam to Godshill – 24 accidents
  • B3054 from Hatchet Pond to Portmore – 16 accidents
  • B3056 from Hatchet Pond to Lyndhurst – 13 accidents 

The map also shows a cluster of accidents from Picket Post to Burley Street and by Bolton’s Bench in Lyndhurst.

A number of Forest organisations work together to reduce the number of accidents including the Verderers, the Commoners Defence Association, New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire Constabulary, the Forestry Commission, New Forest District Council and Hampshire County Council.

The overall number of accidents fell in 2014 to 138 (from 181 in 2013). But Forest organisations are warning against any complacency, especially among motorists who travel across the Forest each day as most incidents involve people who live in or close to the New Forest. This is particularly important as many foals are born at this time of year.

Initiatives include fitting reflective pony collars, changing road warning signs to keep drivers’ attention, traffic calming measures, verge cutting to increase visibility and awareness campaigns.

The Commoners Defence Association has also developed a project, with funding from the Verderers, to have 80% of the time of a police officer and an infra-red speed camera to patrol Forest roads day and night. In March alone, 495 motorists were caught driving over the speed limit on unfenced roads where animals can wander into the road.

Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers, said: ‘New Forest ponies and cattle are free to roam the New Forest and it’s their grazing activity which shapes the iconic landscape. We hope this map will be a visual reminder to motorists to be aware of animals as they’re driving. Although accidents are spread across the Forest and their distribution changes every year, there are particular roads which always seem to have a high number of accidents.’

Nigel Matthews, Head of Recreation Management and Learning at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Local motorists should never assume that it won’t happen to them. One day that animal beside the road will step out at the last minute, so go slowly and give it a wide berth. The speed limit is 30 or 40mph for a reason. Animals are on the road day and night, and unfortunately have no fear of cars.’

Graham Ferris, Chairman of the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, said: ‘We hope that the presence of the mobile speed camera on the unfenced roads will encourage motorists to observe the speed limit and thereby give themselves a better chance of avoiding accidents which kill and injure commoners livestock and risk the safety of drivers and  passengers .’

Driving tips:

  • Be ready to stop - ponies may step out even when they’ve seen you approaching
  • Slow down, 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.
  • Consider travelling on the fenced roads (such as the A31, A337 and A35) so that you don’t have to cross the open Forest.
  • 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 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.

Please use the share buttons below to tell everyone you know about this important information.

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Three new bus services for the New Forest



Three new bus services will start in the New Forest later this month thanks to support from the New Forest National Park Authority.



The Authority is using Department for Transport (DfT) funding to support the three seasonal services, and encourage more car-free travel in and around the National Park.

If successful, these services will be paid for by passengers through ticket sales in future years rather than being dependent on public money for support. By appealing to visitors, better services can be provided for local people.

  • Forest Bus is a new improved service between Southampton and Lymington, via Lyndhurst and Brockenhurst. It upgrades the existing Bluestar 6 bus route with extra Sunday service and discounts at attractions. It will run hourly every day from 24 May to 31 October www.forestbus.info
  • Forest Bus Baby is a brand new weekend service, which will run across the Forest linking Hythe, Beaulieu, Brockenhurst, Burley, Ringwood and Moors Valley Country Park. The hourly service will run on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays from 24 May to 31 October, and it will also will also offer great value day tickets and discounts. Ticket holders can also enjoy a free cake, when they buy a hot drink, at selected cafes along both Forest Bus and Forest Bus Baby routes www.forestbus.info
  • The Summer Service X24 to Paultons Park will run from Southampton to Paultons Park, via Romsey. It will run every weekend and bank holidays from 23 May to 6 September, and it will become a daily service from 27 July during the school summer holidays https://paultonspark.co.uk/park-information/directions 

The open-top New Forest Tour and its three scenic routes will also return from 27 June to 13 September, and the Beach Bus will run from Hythe to Lymington via Lepe Country Park from 25 July to 31 August.

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the Authority, said: ‘These three new bus services, along with the existing New Forest Tour and Beach Bus, mean that there are now plenty of options for residents and visitors to leave their cars behind. This not only supports the local economy by encouraging visitor spending in towns and villages, but will help take cars off the road and reduce the pressure on the National Park’s fragile landscapes.

‘It’s also very important that these services become self-funding. We’ve recently seen how buses which are too reliant on public subsidies can be vulnerable to cuts. Whilst some support is needed to establish these services, the aim is to make them more financially viable through ticket sales rather than rely on ever decreasing pots of public funding.’

The buses are supported by the Authority and Hampshire County Council through the DfT’s Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which has helped enhance public transport and infrastructure, as well as promote walking and cycling.

The Forest Bus, Forest Bus Baby, New Forest Tour and Beach Bus are run in partnership with operators Go South Coast, whilst the Summer Service X24 to Paultons Park is run by Paultons Park and Xelabus.

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of Go South Coast, said: ‘We’re delighted that our partnership with the National Park Authority goes from strength to strength. The New Forest Tour and Beach Bus enjoyed record passenger numbers in 2014, and we’re sure that thousands more will hop on the Forest Bus and Forest Bus Baby from spring through to the autumn.’

Stephen Lorton, Commercial Director of Paultons Park, said: ‘The Summer Service X24 to Paultons Park will be a convenient way for families to get to us on weekends and during the school summer holidays, and enjoy Peppa Pig World and our new Critter Creek attraction. We know many of our visitors arrive by car but the X24 will now be a great alternative for guests travelling from in and around the Southampton area.’

For more information on National Park Authority supported buses visit www.forestbus.info, https://paultonspark.co.uk/park-information/directions, www.thenewforesttour.info and www.thebeachbus.info

Please do get the word out to everyone - use buttons below to share - thank you :-)

Monday, 4 May 2015

Community grants available to promote car-free travel in the New Forest



New grants of up to £15,000 are available for projects that promote car-free travel in the New Forest National Park.

Community Group Friends of Sway Station
Friends of Sway Station (l-r) Kevin Cripps, Tony Oakhill, Alan Cracknell and
Alastair Smith with their ‘Explore Sway’ walking and cycling information board and leaflets.
Community groups, local organisations and businesses can apply to the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund to encourage travel by rail, bus, bike or on foot.

The fund has already allocated £124,528 to 28 sustainable transport projects since 2013 including electric vehicle charging points, bike racks and storage facilities, shuttle bus services to events, and publication of bike and hike routes.

It has now been extended with a pot of £50,000 available for 2015/16, with a limit of up to £15,000 per project. This funding is supported by the Department for Transport’s Two National Parks Local Sustainable Transport Fund programme.

New projects could include:  

  • mini-bus services for major events in the National Park
  • production and promotion of walking and cycling guides for local journeys
  • support for visitor attractions and tourism providers to encourage their customers to arrive car-free.

One local group to benefit from the grant scheme was the Friends of Sway Station, who produced 10,000 ‘Exploring Sway’ leaflets and installed an information board at the rail station to guide visitors on the best walking and cycling routes in and around the village.

Alan Cracknell, from the Friends of Sway Station, said: ‘Without the grant, and assistance from the New Forest National Park Authority, we wouldn’t have been able to do this at all. We’ve had good feedback from visitors to the village, saying it’s helped them discover the best places to cycle or where to go for a walk out in the Forest. It’s really helped enhance their experience.’

To find out more visit the Sustainable Communities Fund section at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/grants or contact Fiona Wynne on 01590 646634 or by email fiona.wynne@newforestnpa.gov.uk

Friday, 1 May 2015

16th Annual Open Exhibition at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery Lymington



Open Exhibition 2014 highly commended Barry Freeman - The House of Madame Jublain oil on canvas
The House of Madame Jublain oil on canvas
by Barry Freeman
St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington will be holding its 16th annual Open Exhibition from Saturday, 13th June until Saturday, 25th July.

The ever-popular event is now firmly established in the regional arts calendar and, with a growing number of prizes on offer, it now draws some of the best paintings, prints and drawings by artists from across the south east competing with regular entrants from Hampshire and Dorset.

As the name suggests, the selling exhibition is open to both amateur and professional artists; there is no limitation as to subject matter or style as long as the artwork was created since January 2010, ensuring the display of an interesting and diverse range of works.

The chance to display artwork at the Open Exhibition is much sought after and highly competitive resulting in only the highest quality items being chosen by the panel of professional artists, which this year includes Bonnie Brown, Tim Craven and Gerry Dudgeon. As the quality continues to rise, the judges have an ever-harder task in selecting items to be included.

Prizes include the Clarke Willmott Award for overall merit (£250); Lymington Business Centre Award (£200); Mary Symons Memorial Award for the best print (£250); the Coastal Gallery Award for best contemporary abstract art (£300) and the Beaulieu Fine Arts Award for best work by a non-professional artist who will receive £50 worth of framing.

Open Monday-Saturday, 10am-4pm, the exhibition is a great opportunity for those seeking to purchase high quality, affordable art. Tickets, which include entry into the museum, cost £6 for adults, £5 for senior citizens and students, £3 for children aged five to 15 and £12 for a family of two adults and up to four children; under fives are admitted free of charge.

Artworks being submitted for selection must be delivered by the artist in person to St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery on either Thursday 28th or Friday 29th May between 10am and 4pm. For more details visit www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk or telephone 01590 676969.

The Open Exhibition is supported by Clarke Willmott, Lymington Business Centre and the Coastal Gallery.

St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, Hampshire
Saturday 13th June – Saturday 25th July (closed Sundays)
Adults £6, concessions £5, children £3 aged 5-15, family (2+4) £12
Tel: 01590 676969, www.stbarbe-museum.org.uk