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Friday, 24 June 2011

Equine Forum and National Park Authority invite views on planning guidelines

Draft planning guidelines about horse-related development have been prepared by the New Forest National Park Authority working in partnership with the New Forest Equine Forum.

The guidelines acknowledge the economic benefit that horse riding brings to the local economy, and aim to ensure that any related development does not have an adverse impact on the special qualities of the National Park.

A six-week consultation on the draft will be launched on 29 June and the National Park Authority is asking people to send in their views.

The New Forest Equine Forum was established in 2009 as an independent forum whose membership is drawn from a range of local interests including: commoners, Verderers, New Forest pony enthusiasts, equine businesses, local residents, parish councils and nature conservation groups.

Steve Avery, Director of Park Services at the National Park Authority, said: ‘The Authority has been working closely with the Equine Forum for the last two years and the draft guidelines aim to help with planning matters relating to horse-keeping in the National Park.’

Vet and dressage trainer Fiona Macdonald is Vice Chairman of the New Forest Equine Forum. She said: ‘The Equine Forum was born from the early days of unrest in the Forest as a result of the first draft of the National Park Plan. The change in approach from the Authority allowed the creation of some workshops and from them the Equine Forum was born.

‘The Forum members all share enthusiasm and passion not only for horses and ponies but also for the Forest. I am proud of the Equine Forum’s contribution in producing what we consider very satisfactory and practical guidelines.’

The public consultation period will run from 29 June to 10 August. Following the consultation the National Park Authority and the Equine Forum will consider the comments received. The final guidelines will be presented for formal adoption as a Supplementary Planning Document at the next National Park Authority meeting in September.

Once the guidelines are adopted they will form part of the Local Development Framework for the National Park, and will be considered when determining planning applications within the Park.

The draft guidelines can be viewed at the National Park Authority’s offices and can also be viewed on line at

Please send your comments to the Policy Team, New Forest National Park Authority, South Efford House, Milford Road, Lymington SO40 0JD or email by 5pm Wednesday 10 August 2011.

Recommend Reading: New Forest Ponies: Architects of the Forest

Thursday, 23 June 2011

NFNPA Chairman and Deputy Chairman re-elected

Julian Johnson and Vicky Myers have been re-elected as Chairman and Deputy Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority following today’s Authority meeting.

Julian Johnson said: ‘I feel greatly privileged to be re-elected Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority. I have really enjoyed my time in this role and once again I am honoured to have the opportunity to be so closely involved in the workings of the Forest.

Vicky Myers added: ‘I have learnt so much in my first year in this position and I look forward to another year working closely with and supporting Julian.’

Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘Our Chairman and Deputy Chairman have been a great asset to the Authority over the past year and I look forward to continuing to work closely with them and the wider membership for the benefit of the Forest.’

Recommended Reading: New Forest National Park: Short Walks

Sunday, 12 June 2011

All Ability Bikes get first outing

Students from Oak Lodge School in Dibden Purlieu have spent this morning (Thursday 9 June) exploring Blackwater in the New Forest National Park on a new range of ‘all ability bikes’.

Pupils from Oak Lodge School on the ‘all ability bikes’
with National Park Authority Members and Officers

The group of 10 pupils with special needs were using bikes that have been adapted for a wide-range of requirements.

The nine new bikes have been made available thanks to a successful bid for £30,000 from Hampshire County Council’s Aiming High for Disabled Children fund, £5,000 from the National Park Authority and £1,000 from New Forest District Council.

Chris Gregory, Transport and Tourism Officer at the National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest National Park is a popular destination for cyclists and has an off road cycle track network extending over 100 miles. It offers one of the best family cycling experiences in the UK. However, before this scheme, it was difficult for young people with disabilities to enjoy the experience of exploring the New Forest National Park by bike.

‘These highly-specialised bikes cater for young people with a range of disabilities. By getting out in the fresh air and enjoying the National Park we hope the quality of life and well-being of these young people and their families will be given a real boost.’

‘We are excited to be the first group to use these bikes,’ said Beverley Hawker, Head Teacher at Oak Lodge School. ‘These specially-designed bikes offer pupils at Oak Lodge School an opportunity to explore the New Forest, increasing their confidence outside the classroom.’

The bikes are available from Brockenhurst cycle hire operator Cyclexperience. Ross Kempson from Cyclexperience said: ‘Cyclexperience is delighted to be working in partnership with the National Park Authority on this community scheme that is going to benefit so many local people who would not otherwise be able to enjoy the local off-road cycle trails.

‘We are pleased to be able to offer such a comprehensive package of bikes and the New Forest is going to become a better place for accessible recreation and exercise as a consequence!’

A survey in 2010 of visitors and residents showed that around 10% of visitors to the New Forest have a long-term health issue or disability which impacts on their daily activity. Feedback from Cyclexperience staff also shows there is a demand for all-ability cycles, some of which can be operated by hand, or carry wheelchair-users as passengers.

The bikes can also be used for individual hire and group sessions, where they will be delivered to specially-selected Forest sites, from which suitable trails can be accessed.

Recommended Reading: Dorset, New Forest and the Isle of Wight with Kids (Footprint Travel Guides) (Footprint Dorset, New Forest & Isle of Wight with Kids)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Come and join in the fun at a 24-hour New Forest National Park wildlife dash

Launch of 24 hour wildlife ‘Bioblitz’ and beach safari!
Date: 17 June 2011
Time: 3:30pm
Location: Lepe Country Park

National Park Officers and Ecologist will be available for media interviews to talk about the 24-hour wildlife bonanza; what they hope to find and how families can get involved. Also attending from 3.30pm will be schoolchildren from the Blackfield Primary School and Fawley Infants School. Starting at 4pm on Friday and finishing at 4pm on Saturday this jam-packed event explores the diverse habit of England’s smallest National Park – for media contact details see bottom of release.

Launch of the 2010 New Forest National Park Bioblitz

Following on from its success last year the 24-hour wildlife record dash is back for the second year. Come and join in the many activities designed for all of the family; from bug hunts and seashore safaris to experiencing the dawn chorus and learning more about things that go ‘bump in the night’.

This free event starts at 4pm on Friday 17 June to Saturday 18 June with the aim of getting as many people as possible involved in recording as many wildlife species as possible in the New Forest National Park.
Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘This event is so important; it provides a ‘snapshot’ of the wildlife living in the National Park.

‘Last year we were joined by hundreds of wildlife enthusiasts. We recorded approximately 500 species including the ‘Scarce Merveille du Jour’ moth in Denny Wood near Lyndhurst. This species is classified as rare nationally and is the subject of a special protection plan in Hampshire, as well as being a New Forest speciality.

‘These types of events are great for getting younger participants interested in wildlife and who knows, they may choose to become a wildlife expert in the future.’

Ian Barker, the New Forest National Park Authority’s Ecologist, said: ‘The New Forest National Park has a higher concentration of sites of national or international importance for nature conservation than any other English national park. We have 61 square miles of heathland – a habitat which is rarer globally than rainforest - and around 700 species of wildflowers are said to grow in here – nearly a third of the total found in Britain.

‘These are just a few of the reasons why we’re Bioblitzing the Park – there is such an abundance of wildlife here and there are still large gaps in our knowledge. We’d like everyone to join us to discover more.’

The 24 hour event will have specialists from the New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Hampshire County Council, all with an expert knowledge of wildlife, trees, birds, plants and animals.

For updates follow the newforestnpa on twitter or the New Forest National Park Authority on Facebook or for more information visit


Beach Safari:
Friday 17 June 4-6pm
Lepe Country Park
Suitable for all ages
Free event
Grid reference SZ 455 986
Join us at Lepe Country Park to launch the 2011 Bioblitz and find out about all the creatures you can find living on the New Forest coast.

Early morning bird-song:
Saturday 18 June 6:30-8:30am
Please book in advance by calling 023 8028 6840
Free event
Grid reference SU 242 086
Join bird expert and National Park Officer Nigel Matthews early Saturday morning and learn how to identify different birds by song. You may recognise Nigel, he was on Countryfile last year identifying the dawn chorus by sound alone.

Bioblitz activity day:
Saturday 18 June 10:30am-4:00pm
Free event
Grid reference SU 242 086
A full day of activities including tree surveys, bird walks, insect and bug hunts and much, much more. Wildlife activity walks leave at 11am, 12 noon, 1pm and 2pm. Total species number announced at 4pm.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

A cycling first for students from Oak Lodge School

Media call from the New Forest National Park Authority

A cycling first for students from Oak Lodge School
Date: 9 June 2011
Time: 10:30am
Location: Blackwater car park (grid reference: 266046)

Pupils from Oak Lodge School, Dibden Purlieu, will be exploring Blackwater on specially-adapted trikes and tandems this Thursday as part of a scheme by the New Forest National Park Authority and Cyclexperience. The 10 all ability bikes have been funded by the National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council with the aim of opening the New Forest up to young people with disabilities.

Oak Lodge School will be the first of a number of groups to take part in these sessions during 2011.

If you would like to attend the event or arrange an interview in advance or on the day please contact Karen Evans on the details below.

Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Penny Jackman joins National Park Authority

The New Forest National Park Authority welcomes new member Councillor Penny Jackman to the Authority.

Mrs Jackman said: ‘I am looking forward to being a member of the New Forest National Park Authority.  The Authority works with a large number of organisations and local people and I’m looking forward to getting involved and making a difference on the ground.’

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park added: ‘We welcome Cllr Jackman onto the Authority and I look forward to working with her. She will bring a wealth of knowledge with her and she is actively involved in her local community; sitting on a number of different committees. Being a commoner she also understands the complexities of the New Forest.’

Mrs Jackman is one of two Councillors for the Pennington Ward where she has been a councillor for the past four years. She was one of the founding members of Forest Uprising in 2008 that worked closely with the Authority on a number of policies relating to recreational horse-keeping; she also helped establish the independent Equine Forum which is now central to this work.

She is a practising commoner and in her spare time she enjoys showing her New Forest Ponies with her daughters.

Recommended Reading: New Forest National Park: Short Walks

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Fascinating Forest Revealed On Open Top Tour Bus

New Forest Tour Bus in action
What do witches, snakes, smugglers, bouncing bombs, and a murder mystery all have in common? They all feature in a new exciting tour bus experience in the New Forest starting this summer.

The successful New Forest Tour has run for several years in the south and east of the Forest, taking in Lyndhurst, Brockenhurst, Beaulieu and Exbury.

A record 18,000 people climbed aboard the hop-on hop-off buses last year and now, following demand from customers, businesses and communities in the north and west of the Forest, an additional route will start this summer.

People taking the new circular tour route can visit Ringwood, Fordingbridge, Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, Ashurst, Lyndhurst and Burley.

The fascinating commentary along the way includes a history of the village of Burley – famed for its witches, natural history at Liberty’s Raptor and Reptile Centre, smuggling stories from the Ringwood area, World War II links, and asks: ‘Who fired the fatal arrow that killed King William II?’.

The new route has been made possible by a partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Wilts and Dorset and Sandy Balls Holiday Centre.

Chris Gregory, the National Park’s Transport and Tourism Officer, said: ‘This is a spectacular area of the National Park and from the open top deck you will get a view of the Forest like no other.

‘Using the tour to get around the National Park makes so much sense. You see more than you could in a car, and fewer cars in the National Park is better for everyone's enjoyment of this magical place.’

Brett Turner, Operations Director of Sandy Balls Holiday Centre, said: ‘We’re really pleased to be a part of this new route, which is a great new attraction for visitors and will be a real boost to businesses in the north and east of the Forest.’

Leon Wellman, Brand Manager at Wilts and Dorset, said: ‘The growth of the existing route has given us confidence to expand. We look forward to a successful season.’

The north/west route runs for six weeks from 23 July to 4 September, while the established south/east route has a longer season from 25 June to 18 September.

Also new for 2011 is a partnership between the New Forest Tour and the innovative ‘Brand New Forest’ campaign, backing local business. The popular Brand New Forest card will be included with every ticket transaction, giving New Forest Tour customers access to the full range of offers available at businesses along the route, including places to eat and drink, shops, and attractions.

For 2011 a range of flexible ticket options are being introduced to encourage customers to get more out of the New Forest Tour. These include a new two-day ticket which will be valid on both routes (Adult £12).

For more information on the New Forest Tour, including timetable, route map and advance ticket sales, please visit

Recommended Reading: New Forest (Landmark Visitor Guide)