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Sunday, 17 January 2016

Totton young volunteer UK to open New Forest fair

This year’s expanded New Forest Volunteer Fair is set to be opened by the National Parks UK young volunteer of the year.

Karl Epps National Parks UK young volunteer to open 2016 New Forest Fair
National Parks UK young volunteer of the year, Karl Epps (left), at the 2015 New Forest Show. Karl is helping to build a cob wall with National Park Authority Archaeologist Frank Green.
Karl Epps from Totton received the prestigious national award after impressing the judges with his work as a volunteer with the New Forest National Park Authority over the last two years.

Now Karl, a wheelchair user, is set to welcome a record 40 organisations to this year’s fair, where local people can follow his lead and change their lives through volunteering.

Hundreds are expected to attend the free fair from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 30 January at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Organisations taking part include the RNLI, Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Scouts and the National Trust.

Opportunities on offer at the fair include recording wildlife, inspiring youngsters, restoring landscapes and helping some of society’s most vulnerable.

As well as helping local communities and the environment, volunteering is also good for volunteers, helping people find friends, reach out to the community, improve our mental and physical wellbeing and even advance our careers.

Karl is a Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Young Champion and has done a variety of volunteering roles, from helping to maintain gardens, to assisting in office work, to interacting with the general public.

Karl said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d won this award – I thought someone was playing a joke on me!

‘Volunteering helps other people out, keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering over the years, including working on a farm and helping visitors to the New Forest Show.

‘Volunteering is great – anyone interested should definitely give it a go. It makes you believe in yourself and helps you realise your own potential in life, it certainly did for me. The volunteer fair is the perfect way for people to get started. Come along, have a look around and find an opportunity that suits you.’

To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteerfair2016

Thursday, 14 January 2016

New Forest high-tech archaeology weekend for all ages

Join archaeologists and computer game specialists for an interactive weekend of gaming, history and cutting edge technology.
Archaeology and gaming weekend New Forest Centre Lyndhurst New Forest
Family at an interactive stand
at New Forest Heritage Weekend 2015

See how researchers have been able to use new technologies to bring the forgotten history of the New Forest to life and try your hand at a wide range of hands on activities:

  • explore virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites found in the New Forest and immerse yourself in augmented reality worlds
  • experience virtual reality through Oculus Rift goggles and through your phone with Google Cardboard
  • see 3D models of shipwrecks, produced the Maritime Archaeology Trust
  • try your hand at re-creating your own archaeological site with Minecraft 
  • have your Minecraft model judged - the best over the weekend will receive a personalised map, courtesy of Ordnance Survey.

Lawrence Shaw, Heritage Mapping and Data Officer, said: ‘If you have an interest in technology or archaeology you are certain to find something that excites you at this event.

 ‘Archaeologists will be on hand both days to talk you through their exciting discoveries and show you how to use cutting edge technology. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that the whole family can enjoy then please do come down and see us.’

The Digi Arc weekend also provides a last chance to see the popular exhibition Shedding Light on the New Forest’s Past. It charts the high tech approaches to discovering archaeology taken in the National Park and has attracted more than 15,000 visitors since September. The exhibition is open daily at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and runs until 24 January.

The exhibition covers 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.

Find out more about the Digi Arc weekend at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/digiarc

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

List of Guided Walks and Cycles in the New Forest - January

Get out and active in the New Forest this year by joining guided walks and cycles led by local experts.

Guided Walks and Cycles in the New Forest Hampshire UK
A guided walk through heathland near Beaulieu Road in the New Forest.
Run by the New Forest National Park Authority, these guided experiences highlight the natural beauty of the Forest and give you the chance to learn more about the area’s internationally important wildlife and habitats.

Guides will provide information on the history, nature and free roaming animals found along each route, while leading a healthy walk or cycle through beautiful scenery.

With a wide range of experiences covering a variety of topics, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The following events are scheduled for January:

Thursday 7 January - Get Out and Active in Nature. Guided walk, Ashurst.
Sunday 10 January - New Year, New Bike, New You. Guided cycle, Brockenhurst.
Sunday 17 January - Get Out and Active in the New Year. Family guided cycle, Sway.
Sunday 24 January - Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard and Back. Guided walk, Beaulieu.
Sunday 31 January - Downton Community. Guided cycle, Downton.

To book your place or find out more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/guidedexperiences

These events are free for anyone who arrives by bike, bus, train or on foot, helping take cars off the road and protecting the special qualities of the National Park.

If you have a query about an experience or wish to find out more about walking and cycling in the New Forest, please contact walking@newforestnpa.gov.uk

Saturday, 2 January 2016

Ashurst to Lyndhurst Cycle Route has been upgraded

A vital cycle route linking Southampton, Totton and Ashurst with the heart of the New Forest National Park has been upgraded.

New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) member and New Forest District Councillor for Lyndhurst Pat Wyeth officially opens the Ashurst to Lyndhurst route with local cyclists and (front left to right) NPA member David Harrison; Hampshire County Councillor (HCC) and NPA member Keith Mans; HCC Highway Engineer Steve Eleftheriou(correct); NPA member Sally Arnold; NPA Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre.
Based on feedback from cyclists, the 3.5km shared route along the Southampton Road from Lyndhurst to Ashurst and 1km of route either side of the A35 within Totton have been made more robust and resurfaced, making it suitable for all bikes as well as pedestrians.

Replacing the former gravel surface on the path next to the busy A35 with the smooth tarmac surface means commuters, students and people cycling for pleasure are now able to use the popular route away from the danger of traffic.

The work was paid for with £325,000 from the New Forest National Park Authority’s £2m cycling fund from the Department for Transport, with additional funding from Hampshire County Council. The upgrade has been delivered through Hampshire County Council’s Operation Resilience programme to improve the robustness of the county’s highway network.

Hampshire County Councillor’s Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Cllr Se├ín Woodward said: ‘This is a vital route in the area, providing access to employment, education and leisure opportunities so I’m delighted we have been able to act on feedback and make improvements for all as part of our Operation Resilience programme.’

New Forest National Park Authority member and New Forest District Councillor for Lyndhurst Pat Wyeth said she had been campaigning to improve the route for years.

She said: ‘Only people with tough mountain bike tyres were able to use the gravel surface previously so people commuting or using road bikes with thinner tyres had to either risk a puncture on the path or dodge the many lorries and cars in the road.

‘The upgraded path is already well-used as different sections have been opened. We’re keen to get more people out of their cars and using bikes as it’s better for the New Forest environment, as well as the health benefits.’

The route also forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 236 from Southampton to Lyndhurst. Pioneered by active travel charity Sustrans, the National Cycle Network celebrates its 20th birthday this year.