Search This Blog

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Shopping the New Forest way

You like to shop, yes?  And you love the New Forest?  So how about an experience that combines the two?

The Forest Store is a new on-line shop stocking unique or unusual gifts inspired by the New Forest National Park.  Every purchase supports work to look after the landscape, wildlife and culture that make the place so special.

There are three distinctive ranges: Forest Life which includes clothing and gifts; Forest Tribe for the young and the young-at-heart; and Forest Active for the great outdoors.  Items include:
  • Specially commissioned books, cards and canvas prints featuring beautiful photographs of the New Forest
  • Novel items such as a Forest trumps game, a recycled Frisbee and a magic photo mug that reveals a Forest picture when hot liquid is poured into it
  • Great outdoor items including a waterproof that doubles as a groundsheet, a welly bag, a bike-seat cover and an ice-scraper all with special New Forest messages
  • An attractive range of colourful T-shirts with chic designs inspired by the New Forest’s plants and animals.

New Forest Mug - Puttles Bridge
The products are kind to the environment wherever possible – for example, the T-shirts use organic cotton and water-based inks, while the ice-scraper is made from recycled UK number plates!

Martin O’Neill, Director of Information and Visitor Services for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘I hope that The Forest Store will appeal to visitors and people who live and work here whether they are looking for memories to take home, gifts for friends or a treat for themselves.

‘Every penny of profit from purchases will go back into the National Park Authority’s work which includes support for commoning, helping to prevent animal accidents and safeguarding the landscape that we all enjoy.

‘Each time you shop at the Forest Store you will be helping to look after the National Park too.’

The Forest Store is at

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Halloween! What lurks in and around the Beaulieu River by darkness

Come join New Forest Activities if you dare throughout half term week, Monday-Friday 25th – 29th October, from 18.00-20.00 to see what lurks in and around the Beaulieu River by darkness.

Beaulieu is well known for its hauntings, with sightings of apparitions such as Monks and other unexplained phenomena. Maybe you will see Isabella, Countess of Beaulieu who died in 1786, and is often seen walking the area.

You'll be guided by Canoe from your base at Baileys Hard, down along the Beaulieu River, exploring its mysterious creeks along the way, until you reach Bucklers Hard, the old Maritime Village. From Bucklers Hard you'll abandon your Canoes and head back to Baileys Hard on foot through the haunted woods alongside the river. Hold on to your loved ones!

Guests are invited to come in fancy dress (Please be aware you will still need to put a buoyancy aid on), best dressed will win a prize!

A drink of blood will be available to all guests on briefing (Mulled wine or Blackcurrant!). A torch or pumpkin is required, good footwear. A sense of fun and an open mind essential!

Great for families and friends who are looking for a different way to enjoy Halloween!
For more information and to book please visit or call 01590 612377.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Swashbuckling half term holiday ideas

Are you looking for a new way to keep the children entertained this summer? And on a budget? New Forest Treasure Trails has the perfect solution. They have created 10 treasure hunt adventures in local towns and villages which will give you a fun and exciting day out, without the theme park price tag.

As every parent knows, finding activities to keep everybody in the family entertained can be a challenge and getting them to do something in the outdoors that is healthy and educational at the same time sounds too good to be true! For just £5 a Treasure Trail will engage the whole family in solving an intriguing mystery and will show you a multitude of fascinating, historical and unusual things about your town that you probably wouldn’t have otherwise seen.

The Trails are completed in your own time and are Treasure Hunt, Murder Mystery and Spy Mission themed walks. An easy to follow route will take you to the most beautiful and interesting places in that area and answers to the clues are located on existing monuments and buildings. Gary Lineker is just one of the growing host of fans, having had lots of fun with his then fiancée Danielle on a Treasure Trail around Armagh last year.

Dawn Thomas and her family recently completed the Burley Treasure Trail and said ‘What a great idea! We saw so much more of the Village than if we had just wandered around aimlessly. It was a great (and cheap!) way to get the family to visit somewhere new and have fun whilst learning a bit of history. Thanks, I’ll be buying more!’

Tony & Lisa started Treasure Trails Hampshire in 2008 with the aim of getting local people and visitors to see and learn more about the area. He said ‘We all know that British weather can be a bit unpredictable but walking, exploring and solving clues is just as much fun in the sunshine as in the rain! Treasure Trails are a great activity for the whole family to complete together as children, parents and grandparents can all get involved in finding and solving our exciting, innovative and fun mysteries.’

So if you are stuck for something to do this summer, whether at home or on holiday, for just £5 for your group a Treasure Trail will help the whole family explore and learn on an exciting adventure.

Go to to find our more. Or telephone Lisa on 07787 453898 for more information.

Monday, 27 September 2010

New Forest Marque - a truly local experience

When you buy food that states it’s local, you want a guarantee it really is.

The New Forest Marque does just that. It is the only contracted scheme of this type that audits its farmers and producers to ensure a minimum New Forest content. A series of stringent standards have to be adhered to before the product receives its ‘marque’ of approval.

Sarah Richards, New Forest Marque Manager, said: ‘We work very hard to make the New Forest Marque a success and as far as we are aware it is the only scheme of its kind in the country. All our food and produce is locally sourced and is to a very high standard; it’s disturbing to read recent press reports about mislabelled food claiming to be local.

‘Buying Marque produce is important; it helps local farmers and businesses, supports the local economy, encourages people to buy ‘local’ and reassures the customer that they are getting a quality New Forest product.’

New Forest Marque produce can be found throughout the New Forest in shops, hotels, B&Bs and restaurants. There is also a cook-book featuring delicious New Forest recipes.

For more information on stockists and the recipe book visit

Friday, 24 September 2010

Sign of the times

A project to remove old and intrusive road signs from a key New Forest road is moving to the next stage thanks to the New Forest National Park Authority and Hampshire Country Council.

Nine road signs are being removed from the B3054 (between Lymington and Dibden Purlieu) in order to make way for four new triangular warning signs and supplementary plates that have been designed to help reduce animal accidents on this busy road.

Each new warning sign will have a ’Wild Animals’ triangular sign accompanied by a supplementary plate carrying a short message that will be changed every three months.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor and Recreation Services at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This scheme is aimed especially at those of us who use this route regularly.

‘The current signs have been in place a long time - some were in bad condition and people travelling through the Forest were taking them for granted.

‘The B3054 is one of the worst roads in the Forest for animal accidents. By changing the messages on the signs and keeping them topical we can remind drivers about the risks.

‘In recent years there have been between 20-30 animal accidents on this road. Half of these accidents happen in daylight; animals sometimes step out in front of passing cars at the last moment - we need to give them a wide berth or be ready to stop.’

Councillor Mel Kendal, Hampshire County Council's Executive Member for Environment, said: ‘The new road signs convey simple, clear messages. The background colour of each message will also be different, attracting the attention of local people who think ‘it will never happen to them’.

‘The Highway Authority is committed to removing old, ineffective signs as part of its programme of sign rationalisation. If the B3054 pilot project works, we’ll look to extending it to other parts of the New Forest in future years.’

This scheme is a joint partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority and Hampshire County Council.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Gearing up for a two-wheeled weekend of family fun
in the New Forest National Park

Cyclists young and old are gearing up for a festival with a difference in the New Forest National Park.

As well as three popular on and off road events on 2 and 3 October - part of the nationwide Wiggle Super Series – the two-day cycle festival will appeal to beginners and experienced riders of all ages.

The festival will include children’s competitions, live music, bike safety checks, face painting, fun cycling skills sessions, food and stalls at Brockenhurst College and is open to everyone.

Participants can choose from a mountain bike/cyclocross event, a hill climb event, and the main road sportive event, with three different levels of difficulty:

Saturday 2 October
Mountain bike/cyclocross riders will be able to choose from a 44-mile route, a 25-miler or a family fun 10-mile option.

The hill climb event on Saturday afternoon could be the perfect warm down for those in action earlier in the day – or a warm up for the road sportive riders. Prizes will be awarded to the top 10 riders in two categories (road and ‘knobbly tyred’) as they climb the 1km course near Brockenhurst. The event is being run in partnership with New Forest Cycling Club.

Sunday 3 October
The road sportive remains the main event. Three routes are on offer: the Epic 100-mile route, the Standard 66-miler or the 44-mile option. The course takes in some challenging but short hills such as the 25 per cent Blissford Hill.

Entry fees include electronic timing, feed stations, free sports nutrition, event photography, bike wash facilities, and well-signed courses. To sign up to these cycle events visit

Chris Gregory, Transport and Tourism Officer at the New Forest National Park, said: ‘We are pleased to be supporting the first New Forest Cycle Festival – a weekend of fun and excitement with superb cycling in the heart of the New Forest. There are opportunities to explore the best of the off-road gravel track network and to challenge yourself in the Wiggle Super Series road sportive. Back at the College there’s a chance to celebrate cycling and to have fun while encouraging people to cycle safely.’

For more details about the cycling festival visit:

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

From Paraguay to the New Forest –
Natural History Museum experts explore rare habitats

The exotic country of Paraguay seems far removed from William the Conqueror’s New Forest – a wildlife haven nestled between Bournemouth and Southampton.

Yet two teams from the Natural History Museum are focussing on these remarkable landscapes to map the hugely varied species that can be found there.

Supported by the New Forest National Park Authority and funded by public donations to the Museum, the first team has already started collating a New Forest inventory of the area’s wildlife and environment. This will provide a snapshot in time of the New Forest against which changes over the next 10 years can be mapped.

Left to right: New Forest National Park Authority Ecologist Ian Barker  Paul Eggleton,
Head of the Natural History Museum’s Soil Biodiversity Group and
Museum researcher Dr Dan Carpenter collect samples in Whitley Wood, Lyndhurst.

The New Forest is one of the most important areas for wildlife in the UK as it is home to a wide range of species and habitats. This landscape’s unique qualities are largely due to grazing by New Forest ponies who roam the ancient woodlands and heathlands as part of a traditional commoning system. Yet there are still huge gaps in our knowledge about the species that can be found here and how widespread they are.

New Forest National Park Ecologist Ian Barker said: ‘The New Forest National Park is the most densely populated National Park in the UK and has over 13 million visitors each year.

‘Despite these pressures, thanks to good management by a wide range of organisations, the New Forest continues to be a magnificent landscape with an abundance of really special wildlife.

‘Over half the national park is designated as being internationally or nationally important for nature conservation – a higher density than any other national park in England.

‘The team is studying some of the less popular aspects of the Forest ecology – insects, lichen and soils – which are the building blocks of biodiversity but are often overlooked because people are generally more interested in the bigger species such as birds.

‘It is an exciting opportunity to obtain baseline data in a scientific way and the fact that it will be repeated and the information will be captured over five and 10 years is extremely useful.

‘It is vitally important that we work with experts such as the Natural History Museum to find out as much information as possible about the habitats and wildlife here and to establish how we can best look after it.’

Paul Eggleton, insect expert and Head of the Museum’s Soil Biodiversity Group, said: ‘This is one of the most important areas for biodiversity in Britain. This will allow us for the first time to get a very good handle on what is happening to nature in the New Forest.’

Dr Dan Carpenter, of the Museum’s Soil Biodiversity Group, said 40 plots within six habitats spread across the New Forest are being used to sample lichens, algae, insects and soil in order to document patterns of biodiversity across the forest. 

He explained why the New Forest was chosen for the survey. He said: ‘The New Forest is an ideal area to sample in this way because it is one of the most important areas of pasture woodland, heathland and valley mires in Europe. It is also a UK (and often European) biodiversity hotspot for many groups such as lichens, flowering plants, fungi, bats and birds. As it’s in the south it is likely to be strongly affected by climate change, species invasion, land use change and pollution. The way it has been historically managed through commoning makes it even more interesting.’

Meanwhile another group of Museum scientists is preparing to embark on a fieldtrip to Paraguay in November to conduct a biodiversity survey, also funded by public donations. The area is the largest dry forest in South America and the continent’s most extensive forested region after Amazonia. Very little is known of its flora and fauna.

They will be working in collaboration with Paraguayan counterparts and sharing skills and expertise both in the field and in the local Museum of Natural History.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Best season ever for New Forest Tour

The New Forest Tour has had its best season yet, with over 17,600 people choosing to leave their cars at home and explore the New Forest National Park from an open-top bus.

The Tour which finished on 12 September had an increase of 13% on passenger journey numbers in 2009 and carried 100 extra bikes, a staggering increase of 214%.

Visitor attractions en route, including the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu and Exbury Gardens and Steam Railway, have also seen similar increases in visitors dropped off by the New Forest Tour.

Chris Gregory, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Transport and Tourism Officer, said: ‘Despite poor weather in August, this is the Tour’s fifth consecutive year of growth. It’s great that visitors and local people are choosing to experience the National Park in this unique and exciting way.’

‘This year we made it easier for people to join the tour, offering free travel on the 112 bus from Hythe to Beaulieu, and on selected routes from Bournemouth and Southampton.’

Friday, 17 September 2010

Stylish Events Fourth Spectacular Wedding Fair this coming Sunday 19th September

After three previous highly successful Wedding Shows, Stylish Events are holding a fourth at the stunning Legacy Botleigh Grange Hotel this coming Sunday, 19th September.

Highland cattle, stunning grounds including two magnificent lakes and horse drawn carriage previously greeted future Brides & Grooms at their past Wedding Fayres.

This coming event will feature Spectacular Fashion Shows by Times Two Productions. Pus every Bride will receive a Clanns Gift Bag and for the first 200 Brides, a free copy of Your Hampshire Wedding Magazine.

On the day potential Brides & Grooms are able to meet up to 45 different exhibitors offering a wide range of wedding services plus as the venue is licensed for weddings meet the very experienced in house team responsible for wedding bookings who will only be too delighted to discuss what The Legacy Botleigh Grange can do for you on your wedding day.

Venue details: The Legacy Botleigh Grange Hotel, Hedge End, Southampton. Sunday 19th September 2010. 11am till 4pm. Entry fee: £2.00 with free parking.
Further information visit: or email:

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

New Forest National Park Authority reveals
what lies beneath the waves

People can find out about the New Forest National Park’s rich coastal heritage whether they are below the waves, on the water or on the shore thanks to a unique underwater heritage trail.

The New Forest National Park Authority has placed four bright yellow buoys in the Solent to help reveal the area’s fascinating maritime history. People sailing past can phone the number printed on the buoy to hear a recorded message revealing the history of the wrecks beneath.

Exploring the Margaret Smith Wreck
Soon divers will be able to take waterproof information ‘slates’ with them with advice about diving safely on the wrecks and revealing the historical significance of what they can discover on the seabed. The slates will be made available from local dive operators, clubs and shops.

Those confined to land are not excluded either. A leaflet giving more details about some of the 75 wrecks in the Solent along the National Park coastline is also available on the National Park’s website (, from dive shops and charter boats, and tourist information centres.

Buoy Marking - Margaret Smith Wreck
The team is also developing a dvd of underwater footage of the wrecks to take into schools.

James Brown, Maritime Archaeologist with the New Forest National Park Authority, said it is the only heritage trail in this country marking a series of wrecks.

He said : ‘Archaeology is a window on the past and underwater archaeology has the greatest potential to add the most information as it’s relatively unexplored – the underwater heritage trail is about finding the links to our history and telling the story of humans in times past.

‘By increasing people’s understanding and enjoyment of the National Park’s coastal heritage, we hope people will appreciate it more and want to care for it for future generations.’

The four wrecks which have been marked with buoys are:
  • The Serrana – a steam ship torpedoed by a German U-boat in the First World War with the loss of five lives
  • The Fenna – a timber two-masted Dutch schooner which sank in bad weather in 1881
  • The Ceres – a steam barge which was caught out by strong winds and sank in 1898
  • The Margaret Smith - a dredger carrying a cargo of gravel which sunk in 1978. This represents the archaeology of the future, allowing archaeologists and divers to monitor how the ship deteriorates.

Monday, 6 September 2010

AFC Totton New Stadium Opening October

AFC Totton's New 3,000 capacity multi-purpose sports Soccer Stadium will be completed during October. Their goal is to turn the Stadium into one of the South's leading Sports facility.

This is going to be an exciting milestone in the Club's history and is already creating a massive buzz, not only with the local community, but across many southern counties in which the Teams play in their respective Leagues. Their website alone gets over 13,000 hits per week.

They anticipate a lot of media interest and would like to invite local businesses to share in their future success and media exposure. This can be achieved through a number of very attractive Sponsorship packages they have to offer. They would like the opportunity to make an appointment to visit companies within their catchment area and talk in person about how being part of AFC Totton can greatly benefit their business.

For further information, please contact Steve Lodge by email
AFC Totton Website:

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Celebrate the Bounty with Harvest VegEvent

Following on from the success of the Spring VegEvent held in February, Transition Fordingbridge is running a Harvest VegEvent on September 18th in the Victoria Rooms, Fordingbridge.

The objective is to celebrate the bounty of the season and to help anyone interested to grow, preserve, forage and eat more local produce. The Harvest VegEvent has a full programme kicking off with a talk on foraging at 10.30 am. by Lucy Cowles then at 11.30 am Natasha Moore of Perfect Preserves will demonstrate Pickles, Jams and Chutneys. Charles Dowding, author and commercial grower who was so well received at the Spring event will return at 1.30 pm to talk about extending the cropping season and storing vegetables for Winter consumption.

Throughout the event there will be stands offering relevant goods for sale and also small demonstrations such as apple juicing and seed saving. Emma Cooper, author and Blogger will be running a seed-swap. The only UK supplier of Kilner jar spares will be showing a selection of old preserving jars and selling the parts you need to get your dusty, rusty jars back into service. A number of other local suppliers will be there to show you their products and to answer questions.

Entry is free, however to help cover expenses donations for the talk by Charles Dowding will be welcome, this will be by way of a draw to win £50 worth of Garden Centre vouchers sponsored by Fairweathers of Beaulieu.

The already famous VegEvent stew will be served from 12am so that no one goes hungry during the day and of course there will be yummy cakes too.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

War and Peace in the New Forest

A beautiful Autumn morning in the New Forest in Hampshire and a place where the biggest bomb ever to land in Britain was dropped in 1945. The site is now marked by the Ordance Survey as a Tumulus (OS GR SU200141). It's a good walk - but if you can't get there, just sit back and watch the video.

Many thanks to hawker121 on YouTube for a truely excellent video presentation on the New Forest.