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Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Discover your National Park Day with Free Family Activities

Discover your National Park Day at the New Forest Centre
Families are being invited to discover the New Forest National Park with a host of free activities in Lyndhurst on Saturday (August 16).

There will be free entry to the museum at the New Forest Centre from 10am to 4pm with a number of children's activities including making your own hobby ponies.

Rangers will lead guided walks to the Open Forest and children aged five to fifteen can go free on the open-top New Forest Tour, which stops just outside the New Forest Centre.

There will also be tours of the historic 13th century Verderers’ Court, and an opportunity to visit and picnic in the gardens of the historic Queen’s House.

Gillie Hayball, Lead Ranger at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: 'Discover your National Park Day is great fun and great value with a number of free activities. It also offers a taster of what the New Forest has to offer and gives people an insight into the Forest’s ancient traditions and unique way of life.'

Hilary Marshall, New Forest Centre Manager, said: ‘We are pleased to be working in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority to offer such a great day of activities. The New Forest Centre is the perfect place to start your visit to the New Forest.’

For more information visit and for New Forest Tour timetables go to

Monday, 11 August 2014

Beach Bus and open-top New Forest Tour Bus are enjoying a busy summer

Beach Bus at Lepe Country ParkPassenger numbers for New Forest buses are at an all-time high as visitors and residents swap their cars for green transport.

The seasonal Beach Bus and open-top New Forest Tour are enjoying busy summers thanks to new stops and discount offers, improved ferry links and a largely dry summer.

Both services are run by operators More bus and Bluestar in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, as part of a Department for Transport (DfT) funded campaign to encourage more people to travel without a car in the National Park.

Twice as many people caught the Beach Bus in its first week (26 July to 1 August) compared to the same period last year, with 1,552 passengers in 2014 compared to 719 in 2013.

The daily summer service, from Hythe to Lepe, Beaulieu and Lymington, has proved popular with visitors and residents thanks to great value tickets and a free ferry link from Southampton. Passengers also enjoy 20% discounts at attractions like Buckler’s Hard as well as free ice creams at Lepe beach.

The New Forest Tour has so far attracted 15,977 passengers compared to 15,388 in the same period last year (28 June to 2 August). Last year a record 40,600 passengers hopped on the open-top’s three routes around the National Park during its 11-week season.

Numbers for the green route around the south east of the New Forest are significantly higher thanks to a new link with Hythe Ferry, whilst the red route in the north of the Forest has benefited from new stops at New Forest Wildlife Park and Longdown Activity Farm near Ashurst. The timetable for the blue route along the south coast has also been revised so all three routes run eight times a day, seven days a week.

Edward Heron, Deputy Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘These figures show that by providing a better experience, better value and regular services you can encourage visitors and residents to swap their cars for greener forms of transport.

‘The good weather has been very important. But we had a warm and dry summer in 2013, so to improve on last year’s figures is significant.

New Forest Tour Bus
‘The New Forest Tour and Beach Bus also help to protect the fragile landscapes of the National Park by reducing congestion and carbon emissions, as well as providing a boost to local businesses. Last year the New Forest Tour saved around 223,000 private car miles and contributed an estimated £660,000 to the local economy.’

Andrew Wickham, Managing Director of operators More bus and Bluestar, said: ‘We’re very pleased with the summer we’ve had so far. The new link for the New Forest Tour with Hythe Ferry has been particularly popular as people ferry across from Southampton rather than driving their cars.’

The Beach Bus and New Forest Tour are supported in part by a £3.8m sustainable transport fund from the DfT, shared with the South Downs National Park. The aim is to encourage 370,000 people to get out of their cars and use greener transport by the end of March 2015.

The Beach Bus runs until 31 August. For more information visit, and

The New Forest Tour’s three routes run until 14 September. For more information and a 10% online discount visit, and

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Picket Post a must see Panoramic View of the New Forest National Park

Exit the A31 signposted Burley and Services. Follow the road round signposted Burley and within a couple of hundred yards there is a small gravel car park signposted Picket Post. Drive in to the car park and you are confronted with one of the most magnificent panoramic views of the New Forest National Park. Immediately before you is a valley stretching miles. In the far distance the landscape inclines to reveal a forest skyline.

You could literally sit there for hours with a pair of binoculars and survey the endless heathland terrain. While I was there I took four photos using my iPhone (shown below). I don't think I captured the true spender like a professional photographer, but I'm sure they will give you some idea of the magnificent views from Picket Post. Enjoy and do visit if you are in the area.

Further historical in-depth reading can be found at


Twenty splendid short country walks in the New Forest National Park - The New Forest is the jewel of Hampshire's crown. Relatively unchanged for centuries, it continues to provide wonderful opportunities for the walker to experience both its unique woodland and rare wildlife. The New Forest is a working, living landscape consisting of peaceful lawns and wild heather moorland, all of which set it apart as a place for the peaceful enjoyment of nature. Its proximity to the commuter belt of the south east means that it is ideally placed for weekend walks, while it continues to attract visitors from much further afield, who come to stay and explore the area for a week or two. Read more...

Saturday, 9 August 2014

A picture story of life in the New Forest

There is a saying that "a picture is worth a thousand words". That in mind, this post is simply a slideshow of 32 photographs taken depicting a story of life in the wonderful New Forest. Many thanks to Paul Chambers ( for sharing these fantastic photos. Enjoy!

The New Forest by Matthew Conway
Featuring a mixture of history, folklore and stories of interest, this book explores the culture and wildlife of the New Forest. From it deer, which for centuries were hunted exclusively by the Kings of England, to the thousands of trees that were the cornerstone of the English Navy, this fascinating volume illustrates how flora and fauna are interwoven with the forest's heritage, and pays special attention to its wildlife. As well as providing a backdrop of history, this affectionate look at the forest will inspire readers to explore the area themselves. Read more...

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Southampton Maritime Festival - Motorists book parking space now

Organisers of Southampton Maritime Festival have today issued advance advice for motorists ahead of 22/23 August.

Southampton Maritime Festival, the popular family heritage event, last year attracted over 12,000 and this year organisers hope event more visitors will come down to the docks to see heritage boats, buses, trams and performers. They advise, however, that the event doesn't have a large public car park – so if you want to bring a car you will need to buy an advance ticket to park close to the event.

Motorists turning up on the day will be directed to nearby public car parks, excepting blue badge holders. From city centre car parks Festival visitors will be able to catch a FREE vintage shuttle bus to the Festival gates. The FREE heritage buses will pick up from West Quay Car Parks, Southampton Coach Station, Southampton Central Rail Station (London side), SeaCity Museum, City West Quay and Platform Road.

The free shuttle service will also help to alleviate congestion in what is a busy area of the city.

More information and tickets are available at

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Minister learns of New Forest Special Qualities during National Parks Week

Environment Minister Lord de Mauley visited the New Forest during National Parks Week and saw a showcase of life in the National Park.

Lord de Mauley, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for natural environment and science with responsibility for National Parks, heard about the National Park Authority’s work to encourage green transport in the Forest, reducing car journeys while helping to protect the iconic landscape.

Lord de Mauley with NFNPA Julian Johnson and CExec Alison Barnes
Environment Minister Lord de Mauley (centre) with
New Forest National Park Authority Member
Julian Johnson and Chief Executive Alison Barnes.
During his visit to the New Forest Show last week (31 July) he met business and community leaders who support National Park projects such as the New Forest Tour, which last year saw a record 40,653 passenger journeys on the three open-top bus routes and contributed £660,000 to the local economy.

Alison Barnes, New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive, said: ‘We were also able to tell the Minister about the special qualities of the New Forest – over half of the National Park is designated as being internationally-important for nature conservation – and how it is vital we work together to protect it for the future.

‘A £2.9 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant has been earmarked for the New Forest with 10 organisations busy planning over 20 projects ranging from habitat restoration, to developing Forest skills, and inspiring a new generation to become involved in caring for this precious landscape.’

Natural Environment and Science Minister Lord de Mauley, said: ‘The New Forest National Park is among our greatest natural assets, and a huge contributor to the local economy and tourism industry, which is why it’s important to celebrate its success.

‘I’m grateful to the local businesses, farmers and forest authority officials who I met at the show to discuss how we can protect this unique environment and grow our rural economy to help boost opportunities for the local community.’

The Minister was presented with a hamper of New Forest Marque local produce. Supported by the National Park Authority, the New Forest Marque scheme has around 130 members and gives local businesses a distinctive ‘New Forest’ banner to sell their goods. He also visited the Local Food and Farming Area at the Show to meet some of the producers.

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Campers have fun with new activities in the New Forest

A new seasonal ranger will help campers have fun in the New Forest whilst helping them protect the National Park’s animals and landscapes.

Chris Marshall will lead bug hunts, forest games and craft activities exclusively for families at four Camping in the Forest campsites throughout the summer.

Seasonal Ranger Chris Marshall  (blonde hair, brown T-shirt)
leading activities with camping families at
Hollands Wood campsite near Brockenhurst.
Campers at Roundhill, Ashurst, Holmsley and Hollands Wood will be treated to a wild time of adventure and discovery, with walks from the campsites to learn more about the flora and fauna, how the New Forest got its name and why ponies have played such an important role in shaping the landscape.

The fun activities will also show visitors how to care for the Forest and be responsible campers, reinforcing important messages such as not feeding the animals and leaving the forest as it was found.

The new role is being supported as a joint partnership between the New Forest National Park Authority, Camping in the Forest and the Forestry Commission.

Gillie Hayball, Lead Ranger at the National Park Authority, said: ‘Chris is a great addition to the ranger team. By helping campsite families to explore the Forest and discover its natural wonders, they will be better able to appreciate its fragility and help protect its special qualities during their stay.’

Rob Ganley, Camping in the Forest’s Senior Communications Manager, said: ‘We’re dedicated to helping holidaymakers learn more about the Forest and their natural surroundings, so we’re delighted to work with the National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission, this summer.

‘The National Park Authority Rangers have a fantastic knowledge of the New Forest and we hope those that stay with us take the opportunity to learn more about this unique area.’

A Forestry Commission spokesperson said: ‘This is a great opportunity to engage with visitors to the Forest and to demonstrate how the forest is sustainably managed for people, the environment and the economy while having fun and enjoying the peaceful surroundings. We are very pleased to be able to support this initiative alongside our partners.’

The seasonal ranger will lead family activities at the following campsites between 4pm and 7pm throughout the summer:

Mondays – Roundhill
Wednesdays – Ashurst
Thursdays – Holmsley
Saturdays – Hollands Wood

Guided Ranger walks will be held every Thursday from 10am to 12.30pm from one of the four campsites. Members of the public are welcome on the Guided Ranger walks, although booking is essential through individual campsites. Visit for more details.

Monday, 4 August 2014

Controlled Burning of Heathlands in the New Forest

The heathland habitat is maintained by controlled burning or cutting and baling the heather. These can appear very destructive, but they are very important management methods.

Heathland areas are subject to controlled burning only once in a generation - about every 25 years - and nature recovers surprisingly quickly. Burning revitalises many of the plants on the heaths, removing old growth and allowing a nutritious flush of new young growth for animals and wildlife to graze. It also provides thick cover for nesting and shelter.

Controlled burning is carried out between the beginning of November and the end of March.
Extract from NFNPA

Member of the Controlled Burning team New Forest UK

Controlled Burning on Roger Penny Way

New Forest National Park photo showing controlled burning

Photos by Paul Chambers ( who stumbled across the controlled burning on Roger Penny Way in the heart of the New Forest National Park on 16th March 2014 at 16.15pm. He spoke to a member of the burn team who told him it's the cheapest and best way to control the gorse and it also helps wildlife.

Forests in our changing world: New Principles for Conservation and Management
by Joe Landsberg and Richard H. Waring
Scientists tell us that climate change is upon us and the physical world is changing quickly with serious implications for biodiversity and human well-being. Forests cover vast regions of the globe and serve as a first line of defence against the worst effects of climate change, but only if we keep them healthy and resilient. Forests in Our Changing World tells us how to do that. Authors Joe Landsberg and Richard Waring present an overview of forests around the globe, describing basic precepts of forest ecology and physiology and how forests will change as earth's climate warms. Drawing on years of research and teaching, they discuss the values and uses of both natural and plantation-based forests. In easy-to-understand terms, they describe the ecosystem services forests provide, such as clean water and wildlife habitat, present economic concepts important to the management and policy decisions that affect forests, and introduce the use of growth-and-yield models and remote-sensing technology that provide the data behind those decisions. Read more...

Saturday, 2 August 2014

NFNPA welcomes Government fracking announcement

The New Forest National Park Authority welcomes the Government’s intention to safeguard protected landscapes against fracking.

In opening the bidding process for companies seeking licences to explore for onshore oil and gas, Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon also provided some additional planning guidance for National Parks.

In a press release from the Department of Energy & Climate Change and Department for Communities and Local Government, Communities Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon said: ‘We recognise there are areas of outstanding landscape and scenic beauty where the environmental and heritage qualities need to be carefully balanced against the benefits of oil and gas from unconventional hydrocarbons.

‘For this reason, I am today making clear our approach to planning for unconventional hydrocarbons in National Parks, the Broads, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and World Heritage Sites.

‘Proposals for such development must recognise the importance of these sites.’

Paul Walton, Head of Environment and Rural Economy at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘The New Forest is a world-class landscape with over half of it recognised as being internationally-important for nature.

‘We welcome the Government’s intention to safeguard National Parks to ensure these iconic landscapes continue to receive the highest status of protection.

‘As with all major forms of infrastructure, oil and gas development should only be permitted within our finest landscapes in exceptional circumstances, where the reasons for National Parks being created would not be compromised and where it can be demonstrated that they are in the public interest.’

The recently-adopted Hampshire and New Forest Minerals and Waste Plan already emphasises that any proposal for oil and gas should not be located in the New Forest National Park except in exceptional circumstances and where the reasons for National Park designation are not compromised.

A licence would provide the first step to starting drilling. In addition to a licence, any further drilling application would require planning permission (from the National Park Authority for sites within the National Park), as well as permits from the Environment Agency and agreement from the Health and Safety Executive.

An FAQ factsheet can be viewed on Hampshire County Council’s website.

Please do take this opportunity to give your views on fracking in the Comments below.