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Wednesday, 25 February 2015

TV presenter Simon King wildlife films to mark 10th Anniversary of NFNP

TV presenter Simon King
Wildlife films celebrating the world-class landscapes of the New Forest, have been produced to mark its 10 year anniversary as a National Park.

Simon King, best known for presenting Springwatch and Big Cat Diary, has produced three fascinating films, looking at the rich wildlife of the National Park’s internationally-important patchwork of ancient woodlands, lowland heaths and diverse coastline.

Rare species such as Sand Lizards, Goshawks and Dartford Warblers are featured in the online films, which highlight how the ancient rights of ‘commoning’ - including the right to graze free roaming ponies - have shaped the landscape over hundreds of years. The films will also enable better understanding of the Forest's natural beauty and will help people appreciate and conserve its special qualities into the future.

The New Forest was designated a National Park by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) on 1 March, 2005 – the first to be created in the UK for nearly 50 years.

The New Forest National Park Authority was created shortly after on 1 April, 2005, and was delegated full powers a year later.

National Park status offers the highest form of landscape protection in the UK, helping to conserve 220 square miles of fragile habitats, more than 200 ancient monuments and 17 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the New Forest.

National Parks also have a duty to help their communities prosper, and are responsible for ensuring residents and visitors can appreciate and enjoy its natural beauty.

Simon King has traveled far and wide to film some of the world’s rarest animals and most spectacular settings for our TV screens. Yet the New Forest remains a special place for him.

Simon said: ‘Ever since I was a child, the New Forest has held an unparalleled magic for me. The remarkable mix of ancient, natural and human history is a compelling cocktail for all lovers of the outdoors.

‘It’s made all the more tangible through giant relics in the form of mighty trees and swathes of heathland. This patchwork of habitats offers wild creatures a broad choice of homes and resources, enriching the New Forest with an extraordinary variety and density of life.

‘This wild community, together with a working model of sustainable human use of forest resources, makes the Forest a shining jewel in Britain’s natural crown.’

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘These excellent films really do capture the special qualities of the New Forest National Park, and will help viewers better understand and appreciate its exceptional landscapes, animals and traditions.

‘The New Forest was created by William the Conqueror as a royal hunting ground more than 900 years ago, and I’m certain that he would recognise much of the Forest today. It’s a haven for wildlife and rare plants, but it’s also a working forest with vibrant communities, and a place to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. National Park status helps ensure the New Forest’s fragile landscapes will be protected and appreciated by future generations.’

Environment Minister, Lord de Mauley said: ‘The New Forest National Park may only be 10 years old but the stunning scenery stretches back centuries, boasting some of the richest wildlife in Britain and many of the oldest trees in Europe.

‘Its unique heritage is the cornerstone of the Park’s thriving economy and something of which we should all be proud.’

The three films have been produced by Simon King Wildlife TV, with thanks to Natural World UK. They are available on the New Forest National Park Authority’s YouTube channel at

For more about Simon King visit

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Marine Artists exhibition at St Barbe Museum

Painting by Royal Society of Marine Artists
The Royal Society of Marine Artists (RSMA) is holding a selling exhibition, Celebrating the Sea, at St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington from Saturday, 7th March until Saturday 18th April.

A focal point for much of Britain's finest contemporary marine art, the RSMA includes many of the country's leading artists on the subject. The society last exhibited at St Barbe in 2003, when it was received with great enthusiasm by the museum’s visitors.

This country is an island nation with a proud maritime heritage; the coastline presents a huge variety of often spectacular scenery. Members' work is generally representational, but styles, subject matter and medium vary enormously. Some artists specialise in thoroughly researched historical subjects, others capture the thrill of modern yacht racing or enjoy muddy creeks and quiet harbours; others find beauty in super-tankers and cargo vessels and some find inspiration from the sea while others explore what's under the water. The unifying factor is that the sea is always the main source of inspiration.

Tickets to the Royal Society of Marine Artists Celebrating the Sea exhibition, which include entry into St Barbe Museum, cost £6 for adults, £5 for senior citizens and students, £3 for children aged five to 15, and £12 for a family of two adults and up to four children; under fives are admitted free of charge. St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery is open between 10am and 4pm, Monday to Saturday (closed Sunday).

For more details visit or telephone 01590 676969; further information about the society can be found on The RSMA exhibition is sponsored by Thesis Asset Management.

St Barbe Museum & Art Gallery, Lymington, Hampshire
Celebrating the Sea Royal Society of Marine Artists selling exhibition
Saturday 7th March -  Saturday 18th April (closed Sundays)
Adults £6, concessions £5, children 5-15 £3, family £12
Tel: 01590 676969,

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Monday, 2 February 2015

Nominations open for CLA and NFNPA New Forest awards

Catherine Shutler of Cyril’s Soap Shed collects her Best Supporter of Local Produce award from VisitEngland Chief Executive James Berresford.
Catherine Shutler - 2014
Local Produce Award winner.
Nominations are now open for an awards scheme to recognise those making an outstanding contribution to conserving the unique landscape and traditions of the New Forest.

The CLA and New Forest National Park Authority Awards is looking for nominees across four award categories:
  • Young Farmer/Commoner of the Year
  • Best Supporter of Local Produce
  • Sustainability Champion
  • Rural Diversification.
You can nominate a friend, family member, colleague, or even yourself, anytime between now and 1 May. The shortlisted nominees will have the chance to show their work to a panel of judges made up of experts from local organisations. Those lucky enough to reach the final stage will be presented with a trophy at this summer’s awards ceremony, held at the New Forest Show on 29 July.

This year’s awards builds on a successful 2014 edition, which culminated in VisitEngland Chief Executive James Berresford presenting the awards to the winners in the main show ring at the New Forest Show.

Catherine Shutler, owner of goat milk soap maker Cyril’s Soap Shed, was named Best Supporter of Local Produce in 2014 and said: ‘I am passionate about local produce, and try and help other producers as much as possible, so to be recognised with this award was a very special moment.

‘I never thought I would win, but I knew it would be good publicity for my business, and a chance to promote myself a bit. The judging day was particularly enjoyable – the judges came out one morning and it was great fun chatting to them and telling them what I do.

‘The awards took place during the grand parade at the New Forest Show, and when they announced I was the winner I was so proud! Through publicity of the awards after, in the newspapers and on radio, my business has really flourished and I would certainly encourage others to enter.’

Robin Edwards, CLA Director South East, said: ‘The CLA is proud to be working in partnership with the National Park Authority again to present these awards, and to introduce the new Rural Diversification category.  Business diversification is an essential component of a thriving modern countryside, and there are fantastic examples of exciting and inventive diversification successes in the New Forest.

‘All these awards go some way to recognising and thanking the people and businesses working as custodians of the unique New Forest landscape and its rural communities.’

New Forest National Park Authority Chief Executive Alison Barnes said: ‘After two successful years of this awards scheme, it’s a pleasure to be teaming up with the CLA again to celebrate those at the heart of the living, working forest. We hope that by supporting commoning, local produce, sustainability and rural diversification we will help to maintain the unique landscape of the New Forest.

‘I look forward to meeting all the winners at the New Forest Show in July and wish all the nominees the very best of luck.’

Nominations for each category can be made online at and full criteria and rules can be viewed at

To request a paper copy of the nomination form please phone 01590 646650.

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