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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Winners collect their tasty sausages

Two lucky families received an early Christmas present of unique New Forest Marque sausages this week made to their winning recipe.
Chris Oakes (New Forest Marque butcher) and children with the winning sausages.

The families entered the Marque’s ‘design your own sausage competition’ to celebrate National Sausage Week in November. Their recipes were made into delicious, tasty sausages by Marque member Chris Oakes, of Oakwood Butchers at Setley, Brockenhurst.

Matthew Welch (nine years old) from Brockenhurst came up with the unique idea of a cheesy chip sausage. He said: ‘Cheesy chips and sausages are my favourite dinners and I thought it would be great to have them in a sausage.’

Other recipes that Chris brought to life were a New Forest forager’s sausage with mushrooms, walnuts and crab apple jelly, a bonfire banger with roasted pumpkin and chilli and an apple and Isle of Wight garlic sausage.

Chris said: ‘It’s been great to be part of this competition. National Sausage Week plays an important role in getting people involved in buying good quality pork. I’m passionate about producing high-quality local produce. All my Lop pigs which I rear and butcher spend their lives in the New Forest and Hurn Forest near Ringwood.

Sarah Hunt, Manager of the New Forest Marque, said: ‘The ethos of the New Forest Marque is to work with local producers and farmers to help them promote their produce.

‘We have so much delicious food and craft on offer that it’s important to celebrate and enjoy it. The winners will have a great Christmas eating their way through their specially-made sausages.’

To learn more about the New Forest Marque visit and for more information on Oakwood Butchers go to

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Photography exhibition at Moors Valley Country Park

Brighten up your winter by taking a trip to Moors Valley Country Park’s Visitor Centre to visit the free ‘Dream View’ photography exhibition.
Winning photograph Jason Chalk picture Mr & Mrs Donk

The exhibition celebrating what people enjoy most about the New Forest is part of a competition run by the New Forest National Park Authority and Forestry Commission.

Julian Johnson, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The standard of the competition was exceptionally high.

‘By exhibiting the winners and runners-up we hope to inspire more people to explore the New Forest and to take in its “special qualities”. Taking pictures enables you to stop and take in your surroundings. You might have visited a place many times before but stopping to take a picture might show you something new and interesting.’

To celebrate the Olympic Games coming to London in 2012 the 2011/12 competition has a special Olympic theme with the categories of gold, silver and bronze.

So your photograph, painting, sculpture, story or poem of the New Forest National Park might feature golden sunsets, sliver light on water, bronze autumn leaves or New Forest ponies in early morning light

There is total prize-fund of £1,000:

  • First prize £500 vouchers
  • Second £250 vouchers
  • Third of £150 vouchers
  • Best under-16 entry £100 vouchers

For more information visit

The exhibition at Moors Valley finishes on 15 January 2011.

Friday, 16 December 2011

Make it a New Forest Christmas

If you are staying home and entertaining visitors over the festive season, the New Forest National Park has some top tips to help you make it a real New Forest Christmas.

For an authentic New Forest experience why not use local food, buy Forest-inspired presents, decorate your tree using only natural decorations and walk off dinner with a Boxing Day stroll.

Top tips for a New Forest Christmas:

  • Get some fresh air and walk off your Christmas excesses in the New Forest while learning more about its history and traditions. There are a range of walks to suit every ability. Download one of four audio tour walks or print off the commentary from
  • Looking for a present no one else will have? Visit the Forest Store on-line or at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst for unique and New Forest National Park-inspired gifts. There is exclusive outdoor gear and a range of gifts including a pony safety-promoting ice-scraper and a photo mug with a picture that magically appears when you pour hot water in it. All profits go to back into looking after the New Forest National Park
  • For delicious local produce and handmade presents visit the New Forest Marque website. For stockists
  • New Forest Christmas trees are available from the Forestry Commission at New Park, Brockenhurst. Trees are on sale from 10am-4pm until 21 December

Monday, 12 December 2011

New Forest National Park Authority welcomes Panel report on forestry

The New Forest National Park Authority has welcomed an interim report by a panel set up to look into the future of England’s woodlands.

The Independent Panel on Forestry sets out a broad vision of providing a wider range of benefits to more people, and will explore the role of not just the public forest estate but all woodlands, including those in other ownerships, in delivering more for society, the environment and the economy.

Responding directly to one of the issues it was asked to address, the progress report states that the Panel sees a continuing role for a national public forest estate in England.

New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Julian Johnson said: ‘I have read the report with interest and am pleased to see the Panel has recognised the value of the public estate and that woods are good for nature, good for people and good for the economy.

‘We look forward to hearing from the Panel about the details of its visit to the New Forest which is planned for 28 February, prior to the publication of its final report. It will be important for them to meet a wide range of organisations and local people to gain an understanding of the complexities of how the Open Forest is looked after, through the ancient practice of commoning and the efforts of a wide range of partners working together.

‘It is important that the Panel understands the particular characteristics of the New Forest – the pressures on the landscape, the diversity and the numbers of visitors who come here.’

The Government launched a consultation on the future of the public forest estate managed by the Forestry Commission in January 2011. This includes the Crown land in the New Forest National Park. The Panel, chaired by The Right Reverend James Jones Bishop of Liverpool, was then set-up to advise the Government on the future of England’s forests and woods.

The Panel says it is working towards recommendations that will increase the benefits generated from all forests in England, including to the people that enjoy them, to nature and to the businesses that rely on them.

The Panel also recognises it will need to take a longer term view and its recommendations – in a final report to Government in spring 2012 – will reflect this.

Friday, 2 December 2011

New Forest Volunteer Fair - Handy tips on getting involved

If you are an organisation looking to recruit volunteers then come along to the second annual New Forest volunteer fair next March.
Alison Steele from Hampshire County Council Countryside Services with Ruth Croker from Ringwood and Fordingbridge Footpath society at the 2010 Volunteer Fair

Organised by the National Park Authority this event offers a chance for people to find out more about the different and exciting projects going on in the New Forest.

The event will be full of potential volunteers looking for opportunities to explore, learn new skills, meet people and protect the New Forest.

Bob Morris, Member of the National Park Authority, said: ‘There are over 60 organisations attending this event so far at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Volunteering is at the heart of the New Forest.

‘Last year the fair attracted over 300 people who were keen to make a difference. We were overwhelmed by people’s enthusiasm and the organisations involved said it was a great opportunity to network with potential volunteers.

‘This year’s show promises to be even bigger and better and we are hoping that more organisations will come along and get involved.’

Organisations attending so far include: the Forestry Commission, Furzey Gardens, Hampshire Ornithological Society, The National Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, RPSB and Sir Harold Hillier Gardens.

‘The National Park has been working with volunteers on projects that range from archaeology digs to marine surveying to supporting the New Forest Marque as well helping local community groups create nature reserves and village greens,’ said Jim Mitchell, Interpretation Officer at the New Forest National Park Authority.

‘Their help is invaluable and through these projects we have been able to build up a bank of volunteers. We were recently successful in securing Heritage Lottery Funding to investigate the role the New Forest played in World War II which we will need a number of volunteers for.’

Volunteer Jenny Austin said: ‘I was involved in a coastal heritage project with the National Park. Volunteering during the university summer holidays was a good opportunity to get out into the field and do some practical work. I even got to show BBC presenter Matt Baker a thing or two when Countryfile came to film.’

The free Volunteer Fair will be on Saturday 3 March 2012 from 10:30am-4:00pm at Lyndhurst Community Centre. If you are from a volunteer organisation which would like to get involved email For more information about the event go to