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Thursday, 28 October 2010

Drive safely this winter

People who regularly drive across the New Forest are being urged to be extra careful this winter.

The New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers want to remind people to be extra vigilant on their way home from work after the clocks go back this weekend.

Nigel Matthews, Head of Visitor and Recreation Services at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘It can often take a while for people to adjust to the darker evenings. In 2009 there were more animal accident deaths in October and November compared to any other time of year.

‘A lot of ponies wear reflective collars but many don’t, so drivers should look out for dark-coloured ponies which are often more difficult to see. It is important to drive at a sensible speed and to make sure you can stop if an animal steps onto the road at the last moment. Ponies have no road sense so it is up to the driver to be extra cautious.

‘It’s not just the animals that are at risk in an accident. If the driver is speeding the results could be catastrophic for their passengers too.’

Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers added: ‘Now is a timely reminder that we all need to be extra careful when driving in the New Forest, especially at the moment. There is a large glut of acorns this year so there are more ponies on the verges than usual trying to eat them.

‘Animal accidents are not only difficult for the people involved but also for the Agisters whose job it is to find the animal, which may have been suffering for hours.

She continued: ‘Hit and runs are the most distressing of accidents – it’s vital that you report an accident straight away. Anyone who gives information leading to a prosecution can claim a reward of up to £1000.’

Driving tips:
  • Be ready to stop - ponies may step out even when they’ve seen you approaching
  • Drive slowly, 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
  • Remember that deer easily jump the fences alongside roads like the A337, A31 and A35 and when there is one deer more will usually follow
  • 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 an accident:
  • Call 999 in an emergency or 0845 045 4545 in a non-emergency to report any road traffic accident involving a pony, cow, donkey, sheep, dog or deer.
  • Call the Verderers’ Office on 023 8028 2052 (Monday-Friday 9am-5 pm) or the Forestry Commission on 023 8028 3141 (24 hours) to report sick commoning animals.
Be prepared:
  • Carry an animal accident hotline card, it tells you who to call and display an ‘I go slow for ponies’ car sticker. Visit for more information on how to get a card and sticker.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Picture the New Forest by Macie Sherwood

Below are a selection of beautiful photographs depicting various New Forest scenes by Macie Sherwood who is a keen local photographer. You can contact Macie at

When we were out in the New Forest on a Sunday, we came across this lovely lake near Lymington. So we stopped to have a walk around. A great place to visit for a walk/picnic or to take photos of animals in a natural setting.

Another photo by Lymington Lake.

Again at the Lake, Lymington. This horse thought the grass would be better in the lake than around it!

I went to the New Forest to do a portrait photo shoot, but I wanted to take some that were different and shot the model entering the stream. This stream was near Beaulieu and it is a lovely place to go and take photos or go for a walk.

Friday, 22 October 2010

Latest Information on Defra's Review of National Parks Governance Arrangements

Yesterday's meeting (21/10/10) with Alison Barnes (CEO, NFNPA) and David Illsley (NFNPA) was very positive and I am delighted to tell you that the New Forest NPA will be holding a series of public consultation meetings during the Review.  Further details of these meetings will follow soon after Defra launch their Consultation Document, probably mid-November.

We understand that the consultation period will be 12 weeks and that the outcome should be announced by Defra in the Spring 2011.  Alison has specifically delayed the publication and distribution of the Autumn/Winter edition of "Park Life" so that further details can be announced.  This will be especially helpful in reaching all residents in the National Park, and particularly those who do not have computers.

We also understand that Defra's consultation document will be in the format of a questionnaire; so One Voice and the NFNPA will work together to ensure this will be available for download from both websites as well as provision of hard copies at the public meetings.

We have decided not to launch the One Voice online survey because the Defra questionnaire is likely to cover the same points and issues on accountability.

This is all very good news for everyone, especially after the doom and gloom of yesterday's spending review!

Sue Baillie
Tel: 01425 621889 Fax: 01425 620063

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Marchwood Power turns to SETA for new technician

Southampton-based apprenticeship provider SETA is celebrating after Marchwood Power Limited turned to them for the first time for a new trainee technician.

Ryan Doran at work at SETA
 Ryan Doran is part of the new in-take of apprentices at SETA – Southampton Engineering Training Association - and is employed by the firm running the new £380m natural gas combined cycle power plant on the Marchwood Industrial Estate.

The 18-year-old from Alton is training to be an Electrical/Control and Instrumentation Technician at the plant. He will spend his first year at SETA working towards an NVQ 2 and starting his BTEC Engineering before going on site at the Power Station next year, where he will do an NVQ 3 on the job.

It is anticipated he will have to do a four-year apprenticeship, with a view to a permanent role at the power station.

Ryan, who has had Hampshrie county trials for rugby and athletics, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity for me to learn and develop my engineering skills and abilities at SETA and then put them to work at Marchwood.

“SETA is a great place to learn and I am picking up really important new skills and processes that will help me when I go and work on the site.”

Marchwood Power Limited generates enough electricity to supply the needs of nearly one million homes - equivalent to the combined energy needs of Southampton, the New Forest and Winchester.

The facility uses the latest technology to ensure maximum energy efficiency and minimal impact on the environment and is one of the most efficient generators of electricity in the UK.

David Hamlyn, training manager at Marchwood Power, said: “We are excited about this new relationship with SETA. We often need skilled staff and the grounding they get at SETA stands an apprentice in good stead for working on our site.”

Richard Heighington, Chief Executive of SETA, said: “We are delighted that Marchwood Power has recognised the quality of the apprenticeship programmes we have here and become the latest big employer in the south to turn to us for their new engineering recruits.”

Recommended Reading: Nuclear Or Not?: Does Nuclear Power Have a Place in a Sustainable Energy Future? (Energy, Climate and the Environment)

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Independent Inspector backs National Park’s first set of planning policies

An independent Government Planning Inspector has endorsed the first dedicated set of planning policies for the New Forest National Park, concluding that the Authority’s ‘Core Strategy’ provides an appropriate and sound basis for planning within the National Park.

Inspector Neil Pope also commended the Authority’s work in simplifying the hundreds of existing planning policies from five plans that currently cover the National Park into a succinct set of 42 policies. The Core Strategy document will be used to guide decisions on planning applications within the whole of the National Park up to 2026.

The Inspector concluded that the Core Strategy meets all the legal requirements and is judged to be ‘sound’ in that it is justified, effective and consistent with national policy. He recommended it should be adopted, subject to a very limited number of changes (available to view, with the Inspector’s report, at

The Inspector’s report follows examination hearing sessions held in early September at which he invited a wide range of organisations and individuals to give evidence. He also took into account all comments received on the draft plan during the public consultation held earlier this year. Around 10,000 people have been involved in the consultation over the last two years.

The Inspector said: ‘…the NPA has undertaken an extensive and lengthy consultation process with a very wide range of public and private sector organisations. Representations were received from a wide cross-section of the local community, including those representing business interests. There was adequate opportunity for those wishing to take part in the consultation process to do so.'

The Inspector supported the modest level of housing development proposed within the National Park, highlighting its role in maintaining the vitality of local communities and in sustaining local services. The Authority’s proposals to increase the proportion of local affordable housing sought on development sites within the main villages were also endorsed.

Steve Avery, Director of Strategy and Planning at the National Park Authority, said: ‘We welcome the independent Inspector’s positive endorsement of the Authority’s proposed planning policies. Once formally adopted in December the Core Strategy should significantly simplify the planning policy framework for the National Park. After an extensive consultation process, we believe the Core Strategy strikes the right balance in seeking to enhance and protect the New Forest environment whilst sustaining the social and economic well-being of the national park communities.’

New Forest National Park Authority members are expected to formally approve the document at their meeting on 9 December. This adoption date allows for a planned transition from the existing to the new planning policies for the National Park. All planning applications decided after 9 December 2010 will be made in accordance with the new Core Strategy policies.

Monday, 18 October 2010

D*I*V*O*R*C*E with a Difference

New Law Firm Opens in Southampton

Catherine Sousa
A law firm, with a difference has recently opened. ‘Catherine Sousa Solicitors’ champions family law. It answers the need for clear, practical advice and results, in what can be confusing, emotional territory. And, this approach is so much in demand that the firm now welcomes an expanded team in to brand new premises in College Place, Southampton.

Principal Solicitor, Catherine Sousa, says “the legal profession has a reputation for being antiquated and pompous. Our society is changing and so must we. High-profile divorce and separation cases are making the public more law-savvy but we ensure that our clients have a real understanding of their options – so that the very best outcome can be achieved.”

Family Law applies at every stage of a relationship. Pre-nuptial, Civil Partnership and ‘Living Together’ agreements are now more popular than ever. And - at the breakdown of a relationship, divorce is not the only answer. In fact, divorce is at its lowest level since 1976*. Conversely, the UK has seen a surge in separation. As collaborative lawyers, members of Resolution, and accredited specialists in family law, Catherine Sousa Solicitors can help couples agree responsibilities and rights to money and property; ensuring any children are best looked after – out of court where possible.

Different too – clients are offered flexible appointment times, to suit their lifestyle demands. All initial consultations are free of charge conducted by a specialist family solicitor.

Catherine Sousa has practised family law for 10 years, across Hampshire managing high-level divorce cases, including complex children issues, financial matters and property disputes upon divorce and separation.

She concludes “Our focus is on achieving the best outcome for the family as a whole and exploring all of the options available for the client. Our clients are people not numbers and we take exceptional care to ensure that any children of the family are looked after not only financially but emotionally. We are a modern, dynamic group – our watchword is clarity and we hope to ring the changes to family law in Southampton”.

Catherine Sousa offers the following advice for those considering separation or divorce:

  • The earlier you get advice, the better.
  • Don’t agree a financial settlement before seeking guidance. This will not be legally binding and either partner may attempt to claim more, at a later date.
  • Don’t rush in to ‘angry decisions’ and don’t feel pressured by the other partner.
  • Don’t hide away from financial problems. Keep all financial documents safe. 
  • Be realistic – the family finances may well have to support two households in future and cutbacks may be necessary.
  • Consider the children. Where possible, both parents should calmly explain what is happening.

Catherine Sousa Solicitors also undertake residential and commercial conveyancing and deal with  wills, probate and Lasting Powers of Attorney.

Call 02380 713 060 or email for an appointment. Visit for more information.

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Hands-on harvest celebration in the New Forest

Around 270 school children celebrated the harvest season with an event to learn more about where their food comes from.

The New Forest National Park’s education team teach
children from the New Forest School at Nomansland
about harvest time in the New Forest.
The schools were invited to Sandy Balls Holiday Centre near Fordingbridge to experience first-hand the traditions of New Forest coppicing, beekeeping and rearing New Forest ponies, pigs, cows, and sheep. They also saw cookery demonstrations of local food and took part in bug hunts and harvest crafts, topped off with a competition and local produce lunch.

Organised by the New Forest National Park Authority, Sandy Balls, New Forest Marque, Hampshire Country Learning and the New Forest Trust, the harvest celebration welcomed  five schools and 80 parents today (Thursday, 7 October).

The children, aged seven to 11, came from Hythe Primary School, The New Forest School at Nomansland, Mansel Park Primary School in Southampton, Downton Primary School and Bassett Green Primary School, Southampton.

Children from The New Forest School, Nomansland,
learn about Dexter cows from owner Peter Niccolls.
Sarah Richards, Manager of the New Forest Marque for local produce at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The aim of the event was to get children to connect with what happens in nature and to give them a better understanding of where they live and the wonderful variety of local food available.

‘We want them to understand that what you buy in the supermarket often comes from thousands of miles away and is out of season. What you can get locally is really tasty, of good quality, and it is interesting to find out where it has come from as well as supporting local businesses.’

(Left to right) New Forest producers Natasha Moore of Perfect
Preserves, Sarah Richards of the New Forest Marque produce
scheme at the National Park Authority and Steph Lowe
of New Forest Biscotti tell the children about the benefits
of local food.

Fuller’s Inns provided lunches for the children, with Paulton’s Park providing competition prizes. The National Park Authority also gave travel grants to subsidise the cost of the Southampton schools getting to the event.

 Sandy Balls Managing Director Tim Howells said: 'Sandy Balls has a long-standing commitment to protecting its environment, with a string of David Bellamy Gold awards for an outstanding contribution to conservation. It is also home to one of the fastest growing farmers' markets in the region, helping to support local producers, crafts people and artisans.

'We think it is vital that the next generation of shoppers knows about the wealth of local seasonal food.'

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Fit it in to Your Lifestyle

Eating well and maintaining our fitness keeps us looking and feeling great.  So why do we find it easy to slip in to unhealthy habits?  Why do we subject ourselves to the latest fad diet or sign up to the gym, only to lose interest after the initial burst?

Spencer Cuckney owns Fit Woman Boot Camp, based on the South Coast.  He explains: “We all have demanding lifestyles and time pressures and sometimes we forget to look after ourselves in the race to get everything done.  The reality is, the better we eat and the fitter we are; the more energy we have to make the most out of our lives.  It’s not about starving ourselves – there are no nutrients in that.  It’s about enjoying life, eating abundantly but with foods which will fuel our bodies and give us what we need to be at our best.  Getting good levels of exercise not only means looking great in jeans; it’s a necessity to stave off stress, prevent health problems and to keep our bodies, minds and spirit in full working order!  Good health has a positive impact on every area of our lives, so it’s important that we get it right.”

Fit Woman Boot Camp runs residential boot camps around the New Forest and Christchurch, making the most of its enviable terrain.  Groups are small and each resident is treated as an individual.  “We show each woman how to fit in exercise and healthy eating in to their lifestyle.  We also make sure that they have fun and are inspired after they leave, in contrast to exhausting and humiliating military style boot camps.   Activities range from cycling and hiking through the forest, to Thai and Kick boxing with World Champions and also kayaking and surfing across Bournemouth, Christchurch and Boscombe.  It’s a varied programme and often introduces residents to new sports.  We make sure each woman leaves knowing how to get the most out of exercise and how to execute to perfection – saving on time and injuries!  There’s no doubt it’s challenging but we get results, with many women losing up to a stone and a dress size across the course of the week.  We have a nutritionist who teaches healthy culinary skills each day and shows food can be used to get the most from our bodies.  We also have a life coach who addresses attitudes to food and fitness.  Residents leave healthier, slimmer and fitter; armed with a diet and exercise plan and a different, happier approach to life.”

Go to or call 01425 477090 for availability, prices and special offers.


Chloe Stokes, 19, recently attended Fit Woman Boot Camp. “I am fairly fit but have just been travelling and definitely got out of my normal routine and really wanted to get back in to shape.  I liked the look of Fit Woman Boot Camp because it was local but also because of the range of activities – I wanted to enjoy my time there!  I loved paddle boarding and also Thai Boxing.  To be honest, it was all challenging.  No matter, how fit you are – you work as hard as you can.  Over six days, I lost 18lbs and dropped a dress size.  I lost eight inches all over and had a 7.9% reduction in body fat – pretty good!   I was so pleased and am definitely going to book another course.  Overall, it gave me the motivation to keep up my fitness again.  I’m now at Southampton University taking Sports Studies and I’d like to be a personal trainer when I finish.”

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Thought for food at first New Forest Local Food Summit

 Promoting local food was on the menu as over 70 delegates from the producer, tourism, hotel, restaurant and farming sectors joined forces with consumers at the first New Forest Food Summit.

Set up by New Forest Transition, the New Forest National Park Authority, and New Forest District Council, the Summit looked at how to overcome difficulties in local food production, distribution and retail.

The delegates agreed to create a Local Food Strategy aimed at increasing the production and consumption of local produce and strengthening the local economy.

The Local Food Strategy will cover:
  • Increasing supply
  • Processing issues (especially the need for local abattoir facilities)
  • Creating a strong distribution system
  • Developing an educational package for schools
  • More effective marketing/publicity and communications

(left to right): New Forest food producers Natasha Moore (Perfect Preserves),
Jane Overall (Setley Ridge Farm Shop and Mange Tout catering),
Roy Hunt (Tatchbury Manor Farm), Will Abraham (Coles Farm),
 Alison Barnes CEO of the New Forest National Park Authority,
Peter Niccolls (Hatchet Herd of Dexter cows) at the first New Forest Food Summit.

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Local food has a significant role to play in shaping the future of the New Forest. We know that farming here is mainly small-scale and that we are losing farms and farmers every year.  We also know that farming and commoning are vital to our local rural economy and to the unique habitats and landscapes of the New Forest National Park.

‘It’s essential that the necessary conditions remain or are generated to ensure there is a viable future for New Forest farmers.  The development and strengthening of a vibrant market for local food is a key factor in doing this.’

The event, hosted by Beaulieu’s Countryside Education Trust, was the culmination of the New Forest Food Challenge (NFFC) run by New Forest Transition and funded by the National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund. The challenge to individuals, families, schools, colleges and businesses in the New Forest area is to find ways of using more local food produce.

Richard Barnett, NFFC project manager, said: ‘It was a tremendous event which showed the importance that local food has for this area. A great many positive ideas and suggestions emerged to help strengthen the local market.'

Anthony Climpson, Employment and Tourism Manager at New Forest District Council, said: ‘Local food is a vital ingredient in the local economy and the Summit showed how much passion there is to get the produce out to a strong market. We are very pleased to be able to support the project – it will form a key part of the Eat and Grow Local element of the Brand New Forest campaign.’

The summit was also supported by the National Farmers Union, Fullers Brewery and the New Forest Marque.

To become involved in developing the new Local Food Strategy contact Richard Barnett at or call 023 8029 2531.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Keeping traditional building skills alive

Subsidised courses for making repairs to timber-frame buildings, cob walling and using lime plaster and render are now on offer to small businesses in the New Forest.

The New Forest National Park Authority has secured £20,000 of funding from the New Forest RDPE (Leader) programme*, to deliver two years of subsidised training for small businesses of fewer than 10 employees, who are based in the New Forest.

Kathryn Boler, External Funding Officer, said: ‘The New Forest has a rich cultural heritage with a wide range of historic buildings which require specialist skills to maintain. There is a high demand from property owners for craftsmen with traditional skills and an understanding of how to repair and look after historic buildings.

‘The subsidised courses will offer workshops for local building companies and architects who wish to specialise in this type of work. It is important that historic buildings are well restored and preserved for future generations to enjoy.

‘The training also opens up new avenues for local craftsmen, allowing them to be more competitive and take on new areas of work.

‘We have already had a number of businesses sign-up and many more are expressing an interest.’

The project provides training at a third of the usual cost and will take place at a number of local rural craft centres.

If you would like to learn more visit or to find out what courses are on offer contact Kathryn Boler by email at or telephone 01590-646690.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Poaching priority for Forest Watch

Forest Watch police officers will be conducting operations throughout the New Forest during the coming months to identify and target poachers.

Sergeant Louise Hubble heads up the Forest Watch partnership project to tackle rural community issues including wildlife and environmental crime in the New Forest.

The initiative is led by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire Constabulary and partners to look at everything from fly-tipping to poaching, arson and nuisance vehicles.

Forest Watch also relies on expertise from the Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Natural England, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, National Farmers Union and New Forest District Council.

Sgt Hubble said this time of year traditionally sees an increase in poaching throughout the countryside.  Hare coursing begins once the crops have been harvested, game birds are plentiful as the shooting season approaches, fishing lakes are well stocked and deer become a target on the approach to the festive season.

She said: ‘Poaching can no longer be portrayed as the romantic image of one man and his dog taking a rabbit or a pheasant for the pot.  Modern day poachers tend to work in organised gangs, often causing damage with 4x4’s and have a number of dogs and weapons including firearms.

‘They have scant regard for the countryside and no regard for the wildlife they injure or the land that they destroy. They seldom consider animal welfare issues. It is rare that animals are poached merely for food and it is more often the case that animals are pursued for sport or financial gain.

‘Previous incidents in the New Forest have involved deer being injured with cross-bolts and left to die a slow and agonising death, game birds being targeted with catapults and fish being taken by illegal methods.’

Sgt Hubble is asking people who see anything suspicious to contact the police on 101 (non-emergency) or 999 (emergency).

However she said landowners, game keepers and members of the public should be bear in mind that poachers may well have firearms, weapons and dogs and should consider their own welfare.

She urged people to record the location, time, date, description and registration number of any vehicles, and descriptions of any people and dogs present and pass them on to the police.

For more information about Forest Watch scheme, contact Sgt Hubble on 01590 646667, email

To report any non-emergency issues in the New Forest dial 101.

Friday, 1 October 2010

Still time to enter photography competition

There is still time for keen photographers who love taking pictures of the New Forest National Park to enter an exciting competition with great prizes.

The ‘dream view’ photography competition will be closing on Friday 22 October.

Martin O’Neill, Director of Information and Visitor Services for the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Our annual photography competition with the Forestry Commission is getting more popular every year. We’ve already received a high calibre of photographs but we want to remind people there is still time to enter.

‘This year we want people to take pictures of what they love most about the New Forest and for them to capture their “dream” view.  Autumn is a special time in the Forest so you might yet capture the winning view.

‘This can be of anything - it could be a picture from your “dream” day out or even your “dream” pub lunch!’

There are four categories and winners will receive photography vouchers of:
  • First prize £500
  • Second prize £250
  • Third prize £100
  • Best under 16 £150

The winners and runners-up will have their work displayed at the New Forest Centre and their pictures may also be used to promote the New Forest National Park.

The ‘dream view’ is part of the ‘dream visit’ competition the National Park is running to encourage visitors and residents to shop local, visit local attractions and to leave their car at home.

For more information about the competition, how to enter and terms and conditions visit

To organise a dream visit and be in for a chance to win a prize visit