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Monday, 21 September 2015

Mapping the lost archaeology of the New Forest with new technology

Using lights and pin boards to identify archaeological sites found by Lidar
Lawrence Shaw, National Park Authority Heritage Mapping Officer,
using one of the exhibits, a Victorian surveying instrument
with a rotating telescope for measuring angles, called a theodolite.
Budding archaeologists of all ages can learn about the New Forest’s fascinating past at a new interactive exhibition.

With activities, videos and high-tech gadgets, the display tells the story of how new technology has helped map the lost archaeology of the New Forest.

The free exhibition runs from 18 September 2015 to 24 January 2016 at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and charts the work of the Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme - a habitat restoration project run by the Verderers, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Natural England.

The scheme has been able to identify archaeological sites previously hidden beneath the tree canopy using a remote sensing technique known as Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar). The technique involves firing harmless lasers from a light aircraft to map potential sites.  

As well as reviewing the last five years of investigation, the exhibition will allow visitors to get hands on with heritage in a number of different ways, including:

  • Using lights and pin boards to identify archaeological sites found by Lidar
  • Becoming an armchair archaeologist and identify lost and forgotten archaeological features on an interactive touch table
  • Immersing yourself in interactive virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites, including a World War Two airfield and a Roman villa
  • Seeing Victorian surveying equipment provided by Ordnance Survey which would have once been used to map the New Forest.
  • Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman, said: ‘This exhibition gives people a chance to learn about the role that the Higher Level Stewardship scheme has played in protecting and managing the special habitats and heritage of the Open Forest.

‘I hope the interactive activities will help visitors find out more about how the scheme has utilised powerful new technology to peel back layers of the New Forest’s past.’

Dominic May, Official Verderer said: ‘The Verderers’ HLS scheme allows us to turn the clock back, restoring the New Forest by removing previous man-made interventions such as the deep channels dug in the 19th and 20th centuries to drain the timber plantations .

‘We have funded the Lidar project in order to improve our archaeological information. In turn that knowledge allows us to be careful not to disturb any ancient monuments, both those we knew about previously, and particularly those sites which the Lidar project has discovered for the first time.’

Shedding New Light on the New Forest’s Past runs 10am to 4.30pm daily from 18 September 2015 to 24 January 2016 at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. Entry is free.

Find out more about Lidar by watching the film at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/lidarfilm.

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Check out The New Forest: Its History and Its Scenery
(Classic Reprint)
by John R. Wise

Read more...

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Milford on Sea plans to improve wooded areas

Milford Conservation Volunteers working on restoring wooded areas.
Milford Conservation Volunteers restoring woodland footpaths.
Residents and wildlife in Milford on Sea are set to benefit from plans to improve wooded areas in the coastal village.

To ensure that the area’s woodlands continue to flourish, Milford on Sea Parish Council and the Milford Conservation Volunteers have worked with the New Forest Land Advice Service to develop a 10 year Woodland Management Plan.

Woodland covers 10 per cent of the parish, with many sites designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and Local Nature Reserves. These broad-leaved woodlands boast a range of impressive native trees, including oak, ash and alder.

However these sites also contain non-native plants and trees, which affect the vitality of the woodlands’ native flora and the wildlife they support.

The plan seeks to tackle these challenges through measures that include:

  • Removing a small number of trees each year to improve the overall health of the woodland
  • Surveying invasive non-native plant species and eradicating the most harmful
  • Improving habitats for butterflies and other insects by traditional coppicing of some trees, which involves cutting them down to ground level to stimulate new growth
  • Creating more open sunny glades and maintaining existing glades
  • Restoring footpaths and important heathland habitat.

Graham Wells, Parish Clerk of Milford on Sea Parish Council, said: ‘The Parish Council thanks the Land Advice Service for all their efforts in the production of the 10 year management plan for the woodlands. Thanks also go to the Milford Conservation Volunteers for their efforts helping to manage the site for wildlife and people.’

Keith Metcalf, Milford Conservation Volunteer, said: ‘We are delighted that the Parish Council has adopted the Land Advice Service’s woodland management plan recommendations.

‘Local conservation volunteers have been at the forefront of helping develop the plan and have been instrumental in bringing the conservation management of the Pleasure Grounds woodlands to fruition over the past 20 years. We shall continue to offer our voluntary services to the council to undertake much of the work, which under the management plan will continue at a measured pace.’

Angela Peters from the New Forest Land Advice Service, said: ‘It’s excellent news to see these fantastically diverse woodlands being managed better for wildlife and local people. We hope that this plan will help butterflies, native bluebells and many other plants and animals associated with British woodlands thrive for years to come.’

A copy of the full management plan is available at the Milford Parish Office on the High Street in Milford on Sea from 10am to 12pm on weekdays or by emailing Angela.Peters@nflandadvice.org.uk.

Details of the work of the Milford Conservation Volunteers, and how you can get involved, can be found at www.milfordcv.org

The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.

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