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The New Forest and Waterside Blog has been created to tell the world about what is happening within the boundaries of the New Forest National Park Hampshire UK and surrounding areas. It is local and will bring you regular news about people, events, attractions, leisure, business etc. There are also many links to Attractions, Places to Visit, Accommodation including BandB, Hotels, Holiday Cottages and Campsites. Enjoy!
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    Beach Bus 'Route 99' at Lepe Beach
    Beach Bus at Lepe Country Park
    The Beach Bus will return to the New Forest a week earlier this summer – renumbered ‘Route 99’ to highlight its free ice cream offer.

    Passengers can claim their ice cream at Lepe beach on the summer service from Hythe to Lymington, which will now run every day from 19 July to 31 August.

    Last year nearly 8,000 passengers hopped on board the Beach Bus which is run by operator morebus in partnership with the New Forest National Park Authority, as part of a campaign to encourage more car-free travel in and around the National Park.

    Passengers can again buy good value day tickets and enjoy 20% discounts at many attractions on route including Exbury Gardens, Buckler’s Hard, the National Motor Museum at Beaulieu and a new stop at Lymington’s Sea Water Baths.

    There’s also free travel on the Hythe Ferry from Southampton, when passengers buy their Beach Bus ticket in Southampton at the Red Jet terminal.

    Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the National Park Authority, said: ‘The Beach Bus makes it easy to access places like Lepe beach and Buckler’s Hard, which for many people could previously only be reached by car. We’re so pleased nearly 8,000 people chose to ride the Beach Bus last year, and I’m sure thousands more will do so this year, helping take cars off local roads, reduce pollution and the pressure on the National Park’s unique habitats.’

    Ed Wills, operations director at morebus, said: ‘The Beach Bus only launched in 2013, but it has quickly become a popular service. More and more passengers are buying day tickets, hopping on and off at several places and making a real day of it. The free ice creams at Lepe have been particularly popular, to such an extent that we’ve changed the bus service number to “Route 99”.’

    The Beach Bus is supported by New Forest Ice Cream, ExxonMobil at Fawley and My Journey Hampshire. For timetables and full details of offers visit www.thebeachbus.info

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    Gruber family at Family Tree Planting event.
    Sian, Rosie, Nik and Owen Gruber at a tree planting event.
    Families are invited to celebrate a birth, marriage or life of a relative this year with the planting of a community woodland in the New Forest.

    Anybody looking to celebrate a family member or life event can take part in the Family Trees scheme, run by the New Forest National Park Authority.

    Registration is free and open to all, with the tree planting event taking place in Sway in the New Forest on 28 November. Anyone who registers will receive a free personalised certificate as a memento, even if they cannot attend the tree planting day.

    Trees and woodlands are a key feature of the natural beauty of the New Forest and they also make an important contribution to the appearance of towns and villages within the area. As the Family Trees woodland grows and matures it will provide a legacy for future generations and provide a lasting memory of a loved-one.

    Barry Rickman, Sway Parish Councillor and New Forest National Park Authority member said: ‘Planting a tree is a wonderful way to mark an important life event, celebrate a birth or remember a loved-one, as it keeps the memory of a family member alive for generations.

    ‘Sway is the perfect location for the first Family Trees community woodland in the New Forest as it’s a village with a population of all ages, from young families to senior citizens. I hope everyone who attends the tree planting event in November will enjoy visiting us and being part of creating a new woodland.’

    The Family Trees project is supported by Sway Parish Council and Wessex Tree Surgeons.

    To reserve your place for free visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/familytrees.

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    Boultbee Cottages Almshouses Emery Down
    Boultbee cottages almshouses Emery Down.
    Photo by: David Balfour
    Work to transform historic almshouses in Emery Down near Lyndhurst has received a Royal seal of approval.

    The 140-year-old Victorian Boultbee Cottages have been given a prestigious award by the Prince of Wales after undergoing a £600,000 restoration programme.

    The Trustees of the Grade II listed almshouses worked closely with planners and building conservation experts at the New Forest National Park Authority to ensure the buildings were brought up to modern standards but maintained the traditional character of the buildings.

    Almshouses provide affordable housing for the vulnerable or needy and are run by local charitable trusts. The Emery Down Almshouses Trust has spent over five years raising the funds to restore and extend the five cottages which had become uninhabitable.

    Jan Smart, Chairman of the trustees, said: ‘This is an unexpected honour and marks the completion of a long and frequently-daunting project. Emery Down is a very small village and without local support the plan to restore and extend the Almshouses would never have been attempted. The renovated cottages are a source of pride and the homes they provide are a joy to their tenants.

    ‘The intense interest shown in this scheme has emphasised the severe shortage of affordable housing to locals within the National Park. We are delighted to have been able to make a small contribution and at the same time to enhance the appearance of our picturesque village.’

    Prince Charles is the patron of the Almshouses Association and gave his Patron’s Award to the Emery Down scheme, one of only two awarded this year. The awards celebrate excellence in architectural and living standards and recognise outstanding projects and developments.

    Commenting on the scheme HRH the Prince of Wales said: ‘I hope the Award scheme will encourage all trustees who are considering building or altering the almshouses of which they are custodians to strive for the highest standards and thus to leave a legacy of which we can be justly proud.’

    Pat Wyeth, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority Planning Committee, said: ‘The Grade II Boultbee cottages are an important part of the National Park’s heritage. Our planning and building design teams have been working with the trustees and architects since they first approached us in 2010 to ensure the restoration scheme of these Grade II properties was the best for the Forest and for future tenants. Advice included looking at traditional materials and keeping the modest scale of the buildings so they still look like traditional almshouses but at the same time bringing them up to modern standards. We’re delighted to see the finished scheme and that it has won such a prestigious and well-deserved award.’

    The trustees are hoping the Prince will visit the Grade II listed cottages to present the plaque personally.

    Much of the restoration cash came from the Almshouses Association, the Homes and Communities Agency and local donations. The Trust has had to take out a £240,000 mortgage to cover the rest of the cost and the trustees are appealing for donations. They can be sent to: Clerk to the Trustees Roger Riley, Home Farm, Emery Down, Lyndhurst, SO43 7FH.

    Today there are around 1,800 almshouse charities. They provide 31,000 almshouses in the United Kingdom accommodating around 36,000 people.

    Boultbee Cottages facts

    • The cottages are named after Emery Down’s main benefactor Admiral Frederick Boultbee
    • He moved to the village in 1856 and built the church in 1864, with the school and almshouses constructed in 1871
    • The almshouses cost £120 to build
    • The architect of the cottages was William Butterfield of the Oxford Movement and they are Gothic revival in character
    • Admiral Boultbee died in November 23rd 1876 and is buried in Christ Church, Emery Down.

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    Family at Boltons Bench Lyndhurst for New Forest Walking Festival
    Family at Bolton's Bench in Lyndhurst
    at the New Forest Walking Festival
    The New Forest Walking Festival will return this autumn with 80 guided wildlife walks, history hikes and wild play adventures.

    The expert-led walks will reveal the history, heritage and wildlife of the Forest during the festival from 17 October to 1 November, including half term.

    The National Park is particularly dazzling during the autumn, with flat, accessible landscapes making it ideal for all ages and abilities. Prices vary, but many walks are free or discounted for those who travel by public transport, by bike or on foot.

    Established by the New Forest National Park Authority with support from Forest organisations and businesses, the festival is sponsored by Stewarts, more than just Garden Centres.

    Walks include discovering:

    • Free-roaming pigs, ponies and the traditional rights of commoning 
    • Ancient woods and the Forest’s largest oak tree
    • Wild play and family adventure walks
    • The Japanese practice of ‘Forest bathing’
    • World War II secrets from a prisoner of war camp
    • Guided packhorse and alpaca walks
    • Photography workshops in stunning locations.

    Martin Stewart, owner of Stewarts, said: ‘We’re delighted to sponsor the New Forest Walking Festival for another year, and are thrilled to hear that it’s growing from strength to strength. The New Forest is unique and precious, and as a local family business we’re very supportive of local events that highlight its special qualities. We’re sure that all those who attend will care as passionately for it as we do.’

    New Forest National Park Authority Deputy Chairman Edward Heron said:  ‘The New Forest Walking Festival only started two years ago with 11 guided walks, so to have 80 guided walks for 2015 shows how popular it has become.

    ‘The beauty of the New Forest’s autumn scenery is plain to see. But what really attracts people to the festival are the local experts, discovering surprising stories in the Forest’s unique landscapes.

    ‘Many walks finish near some wonderful local pubs and cafes, which helps support the local economy. The festival also reduces carbon emissions, by starting many walks from train stations or bus stops and offering car-free discounts, which will help protect the National Park for future generations.’

    The New Forest Walking Festival is partly funded by a Department for Transport grant to encourage car-free travel in and around the New Forest National Park.

    The festival is also supported by many local organisations including New Forest Destination Partnership, Brand New Forest, the Forestry Commission, New Forest District Council, New Forest Association and Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

    For full details, including booking, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/walkingfestival

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    New Forest Centre Lyndhurst for National Park Day
    New Forest Centre for
    Discover your National Park Day
    Families are being invited to discover the New Forest National Park with a host of free activities in Lyndhurst on Saturday (August 22).

    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 (small charge for hobby ponies).

    National Park Rangers will lead guided walks to the Open Forest to learn more about its history, culture and of course the ponies. The historic 13th century Verderers’ Court will be open, including a chance to visit and picnic in the gardens of the historic Queen’s House.

    Gillie Molland, Lead Ranger at the New Forest National Park Authority, said: 'The Discover your National Park Day is one of the most popular family events of the year. It’s a great way to discover more about the New Forest, it’s ponies and ancient traditions.’

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

    For more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/nationalparkday

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    Packhorse walking across the New Forest Hampshire UK
    The sight of packhorses working on the New Forest is set to return after an absence of nearly 100 years thanks to the efforts of one Hampshire woman.

    Gale Gould has started The New Forest Packhorse Company to reintroduce this ancient form of transport into the 21st century and promote the New Forest pony as a modern working breed. She regularly takes guests on walking trips across the National Park but instead of being laden with goods, which would have been the case in the early 20th century, the ponies carry picnics or guest’s belongings.

    Gale said; “Walking in the company of a New Forest pony is one of the the best ways of experiencing the New Forest National Park. The ponies offer companionship and interest to our guests on their walks, plus a little bit of history. New Forest ponies would have been employed extensively as pack animals before the introduction of motorised forms of transport made their use redundant. Our packhorse walks represent a low-impact and leisurely way of experiencing the stunning scenery of the New Forest, and encountering the wildlife and the commoner’s free roaming animals. It’s a step back in time that harks back to a distant horse-drawn era.  Additionally, our ponies have been born and bred or roamed wild on the Open Forest and act as ambassadors for their breed by demonstrating the all-round capabilities and excellent temperaments of these amazing animals.”

    The ponies used by The New Forest Packhorse Company have been trained to wear packing gear specifically designed for working animals and go unshod or wear special equine-boots to protect their feet. Gale is hoping to add more New Forest ponies to her string giving the breed, which is listed as ‘rare’ by the Rare Breeds Survival Trust, a ‘grown-up’ use.

    The packhorse walks take place all year round in the northern part of the National Park where people, walking along the tracks and pathways, are accompanied by a New Forest pony (which would have born or roamed wild on the Open Forest) and a host (Gale Gould).  Guests can choose from one hour, a half-day or full-day walk, which may included a picnic. See The New Forest Packhorse website – www.newforestpackhorse.co.uk - for more information.

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    Farmer Simeon Morgan with Rhys Morgan discussing New Forest Commoners Grant Scheme
    Farmer Simeon Morgan with Rhys Morgan
    of the New Forest Land Advice Service.
    A new grants scheme has launched to provide commoners in the New Forest with much-needed funds to support their traditional way of life.

    Commoners make use of ancient rights attached to their property to turn out livestock onto the open areas of the New Forest. This new scheme is intended for commoners with animals such as ponies, cattle and pigs grazing on the National Trust’s Northern Commons, which are:

    • Hale Purlieu
    • Bramshaw Commons
    • Ibsley Common
    • Rockford Common
    • Hightown Common.

    The fund is administered by the New Forest Land Advice Service on behalf of the National Trust’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, providing individual grants of up to £1,000 for improvements such as:

    • Fencing for back up grazing sites where animals could be introduced
    • Replacing or renovating farm structures to support stock management      
    • Establishing livestock handling facilities
    • Introducing water supply to enable grazing
    • Creating hard-standing storage and feeding areas within a smallholding.

    New Forest Land Advice Service Manager Julie Melin-Stubbs said: ‘We look forward to working with commoners who put animals out to graze on the Northern Commons by helping them apply to this new grants scheme.

    ‘Working in partnership with the National Trust, we hope to encourage commoners to undertake innovative work which will benefit their farms, livestock and the New Forest in general.’

    Lee Hulin, National Trust Lead Ranger, New Forest Northern Commons, said: ‘Commoners’ free-ranging livestock are essential to the New Forest National Trust Commons, continually supporting the conservation of these precious open heath landscapes.

    ‘The National Trust is pleased to work with the Land Advice Service in offering grant support for sustainable commoning practice on our commons, to benefit the conservation of these areas for many years to come.’

    Commoner Rick Manley, from Cadnam, said: ‘There are many challenges we face as commoners, including the ever-increasing cost of looking after animals and turning them out onto the Forest. This grant scheme should help commoners to maintain and improve the infrastructure that is essential if we are to continue with our traditional way of life.’

    If you would like to find out more about applying for this grants scheme, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/LASgrants. Alternatively email enquiries@nflandadvice.org.uk or call land adviser Rhys Morgan on 01590 646688.

    The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.

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    Milford Conservation Volunteers working on restoring wooded areas.
    Milford Conservation Volunteers restoring woodland footpaths.
    Residents and wildlife in Milford on Sea are set to benefit from plans to improve wooded areas in the coastal village.

    To ensure that the area’s woodlands continue to flourish, Milford on Sea Parish Council and the Milford Conservation Volunteers have worked with the New Forest Land Advice Service to develop a 10 year Woodland Management Plan.

    Woodland covers 10 per cent of the parish, with many sites designated as Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) and Local Nature Reserves. These broad-leaved woodlands boast a range of impressive native trees, including oak, ash and alder.

    However these sites also contain non-native plants and trees, which affect the vitality of the woodlands’ native flora and the wildlife they support.

    The plan seeks to tackle these challenges through measures that include:

    • Removing a small number of trees each year to improve the overall health of the woodland
    • Surveying invasive non-native plant species and eradicating the most harmful
    • Improving habitats for butterflies and other insects by traditional coppicing of some trees, which involves cutting them down to ground level to stimulate new growth
    • Creating more open sunny glades and maintaining existing glades
    • Restoring footpaths and important heathland habitat.

    Graham Wells, Parish Clerk of Milford on Sea Parish Council, said: ‘The Parish Council thanks the Land Advice Service for all their efforts in the production of the 10 year management plan for the woodlands. Thanks also go to the Milford Conservation Volunteers for their efforts helping to manage the site for wildlife and people.’

    Keith Metcalf, Milford Conservation Volunteer, said: ‘We are delighted that the Parish Council has adopted the Land Advice Service’s woodland management plan recommendations.

    ‘Local conservation volunteers have been at the forefront of helping develop the plan and have been instrumental in bringing the conservation management of the Pleasure Grounds woodlands to fruition over the past 20 years. We shall continue to offer our voluntary services to the council to undertake much of the work, which under the management plan will continue at a measured pace.’

    Angela Peters from the New Forest Land Advice Service, said: ‘It’s excellent news to see these fantastically diverse woodlands being managed better for wildlife and local people. We hope that this plan will help butterflies, native bluebells and many other plants and animals associated with British woodlands thrive for years to come.’

    A copy of the full management plan is available at the Milford Parish Office on the High Street in Milford on Sea from 10am to 12pm on weekdays or by emailing Angela.Peters@nflandadvice.org.uk.

    Details of the work of the Milford Conservation Volunteers, and how you can get involved, can be found at www.milfordcv.org

    The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.

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    Using lights and pin boards to identify archaeological sites found by Lidar
    Lawrence Shaw, National Park Authority Heritage Mapping Officer,
    using one of the exhibits, a Victorian surveying instrument
    with a rotating telescope for measuring angles, called a theodolite.
    Budding archaeologists of all ages can learn about the New Forest’s fascinating past at a new interactive exhibition.

    With activities, videos and high-tech gadgets, the display tells the story of how new technology has helped map the lost archaeology of the New Forest.

    The free exhibition runs from 18 September 2015 to 24 January 2016 at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and charts the work of the Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme - a habitat restoration project run by the Verderers, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Natural England.

    The scheme has been able to identify archaeological sites previously hidden beneath the tree canopy using a remote sensing technique known as Light Detection and Ranging (Lidar). The technique involves firing harmless lasers from a light aircraft to map potential sites.  

    As well as reviewing the last five years of investigation, the exhibition will allow visitors to get hands on with heritage in a number of different ways, including:

    • Using lights and pin boards to identify archaeological sites found by Lidar
    • Becoming an armchair archaeologist and identify lost and forgotten archaeological features on an interactive touch table
    • Immersing yourself in interactive virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites, including a World War Two airfield and a Roman villa
    • Seeing Victorian surveying equipment provided by Ordnance Survey which would have once been used to map the New Forest.
    • Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, New Forest National Park Authority Chairman, said: ‘This exhibition gives people a chance to learn about the role that the Higher Level Stewardship scheme has played in protecting and managing the special habitats and heritage of the Open Forest.

    ‘I hope the interactive activities will help visitors find out more about how the scheme has utilised powerful new technology to peel back layers of the New Forest’s past.’

    Dominic May, Official Verderer said: ‘The Verderers’ HLS scheme allows us to turn the clock back, restoring the New Forest by removing previous man-made interventions such as the deep channels dug in the 19th and 20th centuries to drain the timber plantations .

    ‘We have funded the Lidar project in order to improve our archaeological information. In turn that knowledge allows us to be careful not to disturb any ancient monuments, both those we knew about previously, and particularly those sites which the Lidar project has discovered for the first time.’

    Shedding New Light on the New Forest’s Past runs 10am to 4.30pm daily from 18 September 2015 to 24 January 2016 at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. Entry is free.

    Find out more about Lidar by watching the film at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/lidarfilm.

    --------------------------------------------------

    Check out The New Forest: Its History and Its Scenery
    (Classic Reprint)
    by John R. Wise

    Read more...

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    Pondhead Conservation Trust volunteers Derek Tippetts
    and Dave Dibden are presented with their
    Community and Voluntary award, presented by
    Gemma Lacey from The Southern Co-operative.
    Volunteer projects returning traditional skills to the New Forest have been recognised by a countryside awards scheme.

    Pondhead Conservation Trust and Buckler’s Hard Shipwright School were victorious in the annual Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) Hampshire awards.

    Both projects are funded by the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund (SCF), which aims to strengthen the well-being and sustainability of communities within the National Park.

    The CPRE Hampshire Countryside Awards was established in 2007 to recognise projects that enhance the environment and quality of life in the county.

    Winner of the Green Buildings category was the Shipwrights School at Buckler’s Hard, which received a £20,000 SCF grant and is now home to students on rotation from the International Boatbuilding Training College in Portsmouth. It is hoped that the school will also help visitors to the attraction near Beaulieu will gain a better understanding of the industry which gave the village a place in British naval history.

    Pondhead Conservation Trust won the Community and Voluntary category for its volunteers’ work to manage Pondhead Inclosure near Lyndhurst using traditional woodland skills. The charity received £23,000 from the SCF and aims to encourage a greater diversity of wildlife and plant life in the inclosure, as well as making the area more accessible for local people.

    Marian Spain, National Park Authority Member, said: ‘I’d like to congratulate both these projects on their awards; they’re excellent examples of the benefits of the Sustainable Communities Fund.

    ‘We’re continuing to support projects that conserve the biodiversity of the National Park or encourage people to travel car-free and I look forward to supporting many more award-winning schemes in the future.’

    Derek Tippetts, from Pondhead Conservation Trust, said: ‘Our project was set up to support and continue our coppice manager, Dave Dibden’s restoration work in this 76 hectare area of woodland in the heart of the New Forest in order to improve its biodiversity and public enjoyment.

    ‘We regard this prestigious award in our first year of operation as the "icing on the cake". It would not have been possible without our willing band of volunteers who turn up come rain or shine so this award is very much their award. If you would like to join us it's easy to do so on our website at www.pondheadconservation.org.uk.’

    The SCF is a grants scheme run by the New Forest National Park Authority that helps promote sustainable living and working within the National Park, with grants available for up to 75 per cent of a project’s cost.

    This year the fund is looking to support projects that:

    • Provide sustainable transport options, to help enable visitors and residents to travel car-free in the New Forest and reduce the impact of traffic. 
    • Conserve the biodiversity of the National Park by supporting local landowners to deliver wildlife conservation improvements and resilience against climate change.

    To find out more visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/grants.

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    Sandy Poynter New Forest Open Art exhibition winner
    Sandy Poynter (right) with her People’s Prize
    winning painting and New Forest Centre
    manager Hilary Marshall.
    A Brockenhurst-based artist Sandy Poynter has scooped a prize for her painting after record numbers of visitors saw the New Forest Open Art exhibition.

    Over 14,000 people attended the exhibition at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst this summer, viewing dozens of pieces of art inspired by the wildlife, landscape and traditions of the New Forest.

    More than 800 votes were cast by visitors to the annual exhibition, and Sandy Poynter’s painting was the clear winner, earning her a £100 prize.

    The exhibition and associated competition were run by the New Forest National Park Authority and the New Forest Centre, and were sponsored by ExxonMobil at the Fawley Refinery.

    Sandy said: ‘I’m thrilled to have won the People’s Prize in this year’s New Forest Open Art exhibition at the New Forest Centre. I’ve always had a passion for horses and I’m delighted that so many people have recognised and shared that passion with me through my painting.’

    John Pemberton, New Forest National Park Authority member and trustee of the New Forest Centre, said: ‘It is easy to see why Sandy’s painting received the most votes from visitors to this summer’s Open Art exhibition. I congratulate her for triumphing over so many other accomplished artists, all of whom take their inspiration from the special qualities of the New Forest.’

    If you’d like to see more of Sandy’s award-winning art, you can view her gallery on www.equestrianartists.co.uk.

    View a video of the preview evening and an online photo gallery of this year’s entries at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/openart2015.

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    New Forest ponies and a fireworks display.
    Fireworks display organisers in the New Forest are being asked to be aware of New Forest PoniesNew Forest Ponies and other animals to avoid causing them injuries and distress. 

    The livestock in the National Park can be easily frightened by loud bangs and bright lights on Guy Fawkes Night, causing them to panic and to run into the road or into fencing and injuring themselves.

    Fiona Macdonald, Chairman of the New Forest Equine Forum, said: ‘We want everyone to enjoy the Bonfire night celebrations. However, we would ask that anyone thinking about organising a local firework display speak to their neighbouring landowners first so that those responsible for grazing animals can take necessary precautions to safeguard their stock. Horses are easily spooked by a sudden burst of fireworks, which can cause them a great deal of distress.’

    Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘We would ask people to bear in mind that the ponies and cattle on the Forest are greatly affected by fireworks and that frightened animals can run onto the road.’


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    WWI Indian wounded soldiers at Forest Park Hotel.
    Wounded Indian soldiers heading to their tented
    accommodation in the grounds of Forest Park Hotel.
    c1914. Credit: Topfoto.co.uk
    Volunteers with a fascination for the New Forest’s history are being sought to help uncover details of war-time activity a hundred years ago.

    During World War I, the Forest was home to several hospitals for wounded New Zealand and Indian troops, training schools and camps which left a lasting impression on the landscape.

    Now thanks to support from Exxon Mobil at Fawley, the New Forest National Park Authority is piecing together what life was like in the Forest during 1914-18.

    So far seven volunteers are scouring thousands of pages of censored letters from Indian troops on the British Library website to find material relating specifically to the New Forest, but many more people are needed to help with the research.

    The personal accounts and photographs will become part of an online archive of the Forest’s war-time history (www.newforestheritage.org) and will form an exhibition next year in the New Forest Centre, Lyndhurst.

    WWI project officer Gareth Owen said: ‘There’s a huge number of aspects of the war years which the New Forest is best placed to tell – we know the old race course at Lyndhurst was a camp for thousands of soldiers before they set off for the front; there were military hospitals for the wounded; a naval air station at Calshot; a bomb school at Lyndhurst and even a training school for dogs helping on the frontline.

    ‘These very personal accounts helps us understand more about the role the New Forest played in the First World War and will create a legacy for future generations.’

    To get involved in the the New Forest Remembers World War I Project contact Gareth Owen at archaeology@newforestnpa.gov.uk or call 01590 646652.

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    Volunteers from the Blackwater Conservation Group
    stand behind a mound of the non-native, invasive
    Himalayan balsam plant.
    A community-led conservation project is marking three successful years helping nature thrive in the New Forest.

    Across the National Park, dedicated bands of nature-lovers are standing up for their local environment by tackling plant invaders, reinvigorating common land and sprucing up woodland.

    The Community Wildlife Plans project encourages local communities to record, map and conserve wildlife in their local area and is supported by the New Forest National Park Authority.

    Eight communities have taken part across the Forest, with over 200 people involved with conserving and monitoring their local green spaces to find out what wildlife lives on their doorstep.

    The groups have become increasingly independent over the last two years, and recently came together for a celebration evening to share their experiences of the project. The event also marked the end of the first phase of the project, though groups will continue to work to recruit new volunteers and protect their local environment.

    The information collected by the wildlife champions over the last three years has helped to produce Community Wildlife Plans for their parish. These documents bring together knowledge about habitats and species and look at the opportunities for improving wildlife sites locally.

    Improvements carried out by volunteers during the project include:

    • Removing more than 2,000m of the invasive Himalayan balsam plant from the banks of the River Blackwater in the north of the New Forest and conducting a national pilot study of its water quality
    • Reintroducing ponies to Barton Common in New Milton for the first time in over 50 years to encourage wildlife and support New Forest commoners
    • Improving habitats for butterflies and other insects by introducing traditional woodland management practices such as coppicing in Milford Pleasure Grounds.
    • Angela Peters, Community Wildlife Officer, said: ‘Over the last three years it has been inspiring to meet so many people who want to protect their community’s wildlife for future generations.


    ‘Nature is under so much pressure from human activity across the country, but we can all make a difference through small actions that help wildlife habitats in our local area flourish.’

    Tony Boyle, volunteer with the Blackwater Conservation Group, said: ‘The Community Wildlife Plans project came at a most opportune time for the creation of our group. The Blackwater River is highly regarded by local residents and as a result the group was formed in 2013 with the objective of protecting the river valley and environment for future generations.

    ‘We are extremely grateful to Angela Peters and the project for the invaluable support and guidance given to us during the past three years. As a result we are able to look to the future with greater confidence.’

    The community groups involved in the celebration evening were:

    • Milford Conservation Volunteers
    • Blackwater Conservation Group
    • Hordle Environment Group
    • Transition Lymington
    • New Forest Area Conservation Volunteers
    • Volunteers from Barton Common.

    To see the groups' achievements and get involved visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/cwp

    The Community Wildlife Plans project was established with EU funding through New Forest LEADER and supported by a grant from the New Forest National Park Authority’s Sustainable Communities Fund.

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    England’s largest environmental improvement scheme has reached its halfway point, after five years of impressive achievements in the New Forest.

    Beaulieu Road Sales Yard as part of environment improvement scheme
    Beaulieu Road Sales Yard - improvements to the New Forest's pony sales site are a key achievement
    from the first five years of the New Forest HLS scheme.
    The New Forest Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) scheme funds projects to support commoners and conserve the fragile habitats of the New Forest Crown Lands.

    The 10 year agreement with Natural England is worth £19m and is held by the Verderers and managed by them in partnership with the Forestry Commission and the New Forest National Park Authority.

    The scheme works to increase the New Forest’s resilience in the face of habitat loss and modern day pressures, such as increased visitor numbers. It is a rare opportunity to conserve fragile habitats and support commoners on such a large scale, and has achieved an exceptional amount since 2010:

    • Commoning– crucial grants and expert advice have been provided to hundreds of commoners to continue their ancient way of life turning out ponies and cattle onto the New Forest
    • Wetland restoration– nine miles of artificially straightened drainage channels have been restored to natural streams, protecting the New Forest’s internationally-important wetlands by slowing water flow.
    • Archaeology– 12,000 hectares, equivalent to 17,000 football pitches, has been surveyed; finding and recording thousands of historical sites to stop them being lost forever
    • Education - More than 11,000 children have gained a greater understanding of the New Forest through school visits
    • Habitat management– invasive rhododendron and other non-native species have been removed or reduced across approximately half of the New Forest, helping native plants flourish.
    These improvements are helping protect the New Forest’s precious habitats and ancient way of life, preserving this beautiful landscape for future generations.

    Richard Stride, local commoner, said: ‘Overall, this scheme is a good thing for commoning. The best part is the lawn restoration as this has increased the grazing for our animals. In addition, the funding is helping commoners to have better facilities for animal management.

    ‘On the whole the wetland restoration is proving to be a success, and the condition of the restored streams will continue to be monitored and maintained where necessary.’

    Dominic May, Official Verderer, said: ‘The New Forest HLS scheme allows us to turn the clock back, restoring the New Forest by removing previous man-made interventions such as the deep channels dug in the 19th and 20th century to drain the timber plantations. This can help improve the grazing for the free-roaming animals, which are after all the architects of our beautiful New Forest landscape. The HLS supports the commoning community and helps build resilience into long term management of this important habitat.’

    More detailed highlights of the first five years of the HLS scheme include:

    Commoning

    The HLS scheme has funded improvements to Beaulieu Road pony sales yard, including mains water and mains electricity, wash-down facilities, toilets and removable lighting, which have helped to bring the yard up to modern health and safety and trading standards.

    A small grants scheme has supported 43 commoners with a total of £42,000 for a range of items, such as fencing, water supply, barns and hurdles.

    The scheme funds the New Forest Land Advice Service, which has provided expert advice to hundreds of commoners on land management and subsidy schemes.

    Wetland restoration

    The Victorians first straightened some Forest streams to form deep drainage channels for intensive agriculture and forestry, with harmful results for the Forest’s environment.

    The projects involve re-instating former meanders in streams, infilling deep man-made drains, and reducing the erosion of boggy mires. Research by independent experts The River Restoration Centre has shown considerable success for this scheme. At Fletchers Thorns, near Brockenhurst, restoration ‘achieved significant nature conservation and ecosystem service benefits in a very short period of time.’ Read more at www.hlsnewforest.org.uk/restoration.

    So far, nine miles of drainage channels have been restored to natural streams, based on evidence of old meanders, protecting the New Forest’s internationally-important wetlands for future generations.

    Historic environment

    Volunteers have spent hundreds of hours surveying 12,163 hectares of Open Forest to find and record historical sites and stop them being lost forever.

    A temporary exhibition explaining the HLS heritage work is attracting an average of 6,000 visitors a month at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and runs until 24 January.


    Bird surveys

    Surveys of Dartford warbler, nightjar, woodlark and nesting waders took place during 2013 and 2014. The results showed that the populations of these rare birds, for which the New Forest is a stronghold, had previously fallen or were holding steady. This illustrated how important it is that the HLS scheme is continuing its work to improve habitats for these birds.

    Education

    More than 11,000 children have learnt about the New Forest through school visits run by National Park Authority and New Forest Centre educators over the last five years. They cover topics including land management, and the often-conflicting needs of the environment and people.

    Local school teachers attend an annual conference to help them understand how to embed learning about the New Forest into their school's curriculum.

     Habitat management

    Over the last two years, work has begun to clear overgrown areas of the New Forest, which would traditionally have been heathland or grassland. These habitats and ‘lost lawns’ are important for rare ground nesting birds, such as lapwing.

    So far more than 326 hectares has been cleared, equivalent to 456 football pitches, and over six hectares of ‘lost lawns’ have been returned to their former glory.

    In addition, invasive rhododendron bushes have been removed or reduced from just under half of the New Forest to ensure they don’t overrun native plant life.

    To find out more about the HLS scheme visit www.hlsnewforest.org.uk.

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    A vital cycle route linking Southampton, Totton and Ashurst with the heart of the New Forest National Park has been upgraded.

    New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) member and New Forest District Councillor for Lyndhurst Pat Wyeth officially opens the Ashurst to Lyndhurst route with local cyclists and (front left to right) NPA member David Harrison; Hampshire County Councillor (HCC) and NPA member Keith Mans; HCC Highway Engineer Steve Eleftheriou(correct); NPA member Sally Arnold; NPA Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre.
    Based on feedback from cyclists, the 3.5km shared route along the Southampton Road from Lyndhurst to Ashurst and 1km of route either side of the A35 within Totton have been made more robust and resurfaced, making it suitable for all bikes as well as pedestrians.

    Replacing the former gravel surface on the path next to the busy A35 with the smooth tarmac surface means commuters, students and people cycling for pleasure are now able to use the popular route away from the danger of traffic.

    The work was paid for with £325,000 from the New Forest National Park Authority’s £2m cycling fund from the Department for Transport, with additional funding from Hampshire County Council. The upgrade has been delivered through Hampshire County Council’s Operation Resilience programme to improve the robustness of the county’s highway network.

    Hampshire County Councillor’s Executive Member for Economy, Transport and Environment, Cllr Seán Woodward said: ‘This is a vital route in the area, providing access to employment, education and leisure opportunities so I’m delighted we have been able to act on feedback and make improvements for all as part of our Operation Resilience programme.’

    New Forest National Park Authority member and New Forest District Councillor for Lyndhurst Pat Wyeth said she had been campaigning to improve the route for years.

    She said: ‘Only people with tough mountain bike tyres were able to use the gravel surface previously so people commuting or using road bikes with thinner tyres had to either risk a puncture on the path or dodge the many lorries and cars in the road.

    ‘The upgraded path is already well-used as different sections have been opened. We’re keen to get more people out of their cars and using bikes as it’s better for the New Forest environment, as well as the health benefits.’

    The route also forms part of the National Cycle Network Route 236 from Southampton to Lyndhurst. Pioneered by active travel charity Sustrans, the National Cycle Network celebrates its 20th birthday this year.

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    Get out and active in the New Forest this year by joining guided walks and cycles led by local experts.

    Guided Walks and Cycles in the New Forest Hampshire UK
    A guided walk through heathland near Beaulieu Road in the New Forest.
    Run by the New Forest National Park Authority, these guided experiences highlight the natural beauty of the Forest and give you the chance to learn more about the area’s internationally important wildlife and habitats.

    Guides will provide information on the history, nature and free roaming animals found along each route, while leading a healthy walk or cycle through beautiful scenery.

    With a wide range of experiences covering a variety of topics, there is something for everyone to enjoy. The following events are scheduled for January:

    Thursday 7 January - Get Out and Active in Nature. Guided walk, Ashurst.
    Sunday 10 January - New Year, New Bike, New You. Guided cycle, Brockenhurst.
    Sunday 17 January - Get Out and Active in the New Year. Family guided cycle, Sway.
    Sunday 24 January - Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard and Back. Guided walk, Beaulieu.
    Sunday 31 January - Downton Community. Guided cycle, Downton.

    To book your place or find out more information visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/guidedexperiences

    These events are free for anyone who arrives by bike, bus, train or on foot, helping take cars off the road and protecting the special qualities of the National Park.

    If you have a query about an experience or wish to find out more about walking and cycling in the New Forest, please contact walking@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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    Join archaeologists and computer game specialists for an interactive weekend of gaming, history and cutting edge technology.

    Archaeology and gaming weekend New Forest Centre Lyndhurst New Forest
    Family at an interactive stand
    at New Forest Heritage Weekend 2015

    See how researchers have been able to use new technologies to bring the forgotten history of the New Forest to life and try your hand at a wide range of hands on activities:

    • explore virtual reconstructions of archaeological sites found in the New Forest and immerse yourself in augmented reality worlds
    • experience virtual reality through Oculus Rift goggles and through your phone with Google Cardboard
    • see 3D models of shipwrecks, produced the Maritime Archaeology Trust
    • try your hand at re-creating your own archaeological site with Minecraft 
    • have your Minecraft model judged - the best over the weekend will receive a personalised map, courtesy of Ordnance Survey.

    Lawrence Shaw, Heritage Mapping and Data Officer, said: ‘If you have an interest in technology or archaeology you are certain to find something that excites you at this event.

     ‘Archaeologists will be on hand both days to talk you through their exciting discoveries and show you how to use cutting edge technology. If you’re looking for something to do this weekend that the whole family can enjoy then please do come down and see us.’

    The Digi Arc weekend also provides a last chance to see the popular exhibition Shedding Light on the New Forest’s Past. It charts the high tech approaches to discovering archaeology taken in the National Park and has attracted more than 15,000 visitors since September. The exhibition is open daily at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst and runs until 24 January.

    The exhibition covers the work of the Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship scheme - a habitat restoration project run by the Verderers, New Forest National Park Authority, Forestry Commission and Natural England.

    Find out more about the Digi Arc weekend at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/digiarc

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    This year’s expanded New Forest Volunteer Fair is set to be opened by the National Parks UK young volunteer of the year.

    Karl Epps National Parks UK young volunteer to open 2016 New Forest Fair
    National Parks UK young volunteer of the year, Karl Epps (left), at the 2015 New Forest Show. Karl is helping to build a cob wall with National Park Authority Archaeologist Frank Green.
    Karl Epps from Totton received the prestigious national award after impressing the judges with his work as a volunteer with the New Forest National Park Authority over the last two years.

    Now Karl, a wheelchair user, is set to welcome a record 40 organisations to this year’s fair, where local people can follow his lead and change their lives through volunteering.

    Hundreds are expected to attend the free fair from 10.30am to 4pm on Saturday 30 January at Lyndhurst Community Centre. Organisations taking part include the RNLI, Exbury Gardens, Hampshire Scouts and the National Trust.

    Opportunities on offer at the fair include recording wildlife, inspiring youngsters, restoring landscapes and helping some of society’s most vulnerable.

    As well as helping local communities and the environment, volunteering is also good for volunteers, helping people find friends, reach out to the community, improve our mental and physical wellbeing and even advance our careers.

    Karl is a Campaign for National Parks Mosaic Young Champion and has done a variety of volunteering roles, from helping to maintain gardens, to assisting in office work, to interacting with the general public.

    Karl said: ‘I couldn’t believe it when I was told I’d won this award – I thought someone was playing a joke on me!

    ‘Volunteering helps other people out, keeps me busy and gives me something to look forward to. I’ve done all sorts of volunteering over the years, including working on a farm and helping visitors to the New Forest Show.

    ‘Volunteering is great – anyone interested should definitely give it a go. It makes you believe in yourself and helps you realise your own potential in life, it certainly did for me. The volunteer fair is the perfect way for people to get started. Come along, have a look around and find an opportunity that suits you.’

    To find out more about the New Forest Volunteer Fair visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/volunteerfair2016

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    New Forest walking groups
    Walkers take part in a Walking for Health stroll
    near Fordingbridge.
    Help is at hand for those looking to start walking more in 2016, with the launch of two new healthy walking groups in the New Forest.

    The groups are based in Ringwood and led by trained volunteer walk leaders, supported by the New Forest National Park Authority. Leaders are on hand to support and encourage all walkers, irrespective of their speed or ability, helping you to get active and stay healthy.

    These walking groups are part of the Walking for Health scheme, a partnership between Macmillan Cancer Support and The Ramblers, which offers over 3,000 walks each week across the UK.

    Taking part in regular short group walks at a comfortable pace is a great way to stretch your legs, explore what’s on your doorstep, make new friends and improve your health

    The Ringwood walks start from Ringwood Medical Centre, The Close, Ringwood, at 1.30pm on the first and third Tuesday in the month, with the first walk taking place on Tuesday 2 February.

    The Poulner walks starts from Cornerways Medical Centre, Parkers Close, Ringwood, at 1.30pm on the second and fourth Wednesday in the month, with the first walk taking place on Wednesday 10 February.

    Craig Daters, New Forest National Park Authority Ranger, said: ‘A nice walk around beautiful scenery can provide us all with a break from our busy lives. There’s nowhere better than the New Forest to get some fresh air, reduce stress, exercise and relax.

    ‘We’re delighted to be helping to launch these new walking groups around Ringwood and I hope they will help local people enjoy a healthier, more active life this year.’

    The majority of the routes will be on paved footpaths, but some short sections may cross soft or uneven ground, so please wear suitable footwear.

    For more information visit www.walkingforhealth.org.uk or contact Craig Daters on 01590 646 671 or craig.daters@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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    A New Forest scene as shown in one of
    New Forest Commoners tweets.
    Each tweet on Twitter is like a mini blog post. Every day on my profile at @forestwaterside I scroll through my followers tweets reading the wealth of interesting information.

    For some time now I have been particularly interested by the tweets put up by New Forest Commoner @Forest_Commoner. In the main, the tweets are comprised of very interesting facts about the New Forest.

    Their Twitter Profile states: "Keeping the history, ecology and cultural traditions of the New Forest alive through practice of 'commoning'. Sharing information about #NewForest & #commoning."

    I have listed here a dozen of the tweets they have published and hope you find them as interesting and informative as I have. For many more interesting and informative tweets go and follow them at @Forest_Commoner - enjoy!

    • During the Victorian heydays of insect collecting, the #NewForest was a popular destination for specimen hunters! #minibeasts
    • Did you know that the #NewForest has 26 miles of coastline?
    • Combating the number of livestock killed on the roads is one of the Verderers’ chief concerns in managing agriculture of the #NewForest.
    • In 1079AD William the Conquerer created his 'Nova Foresta' to be preserved for royal hunting. The #NewForest nearly a 1000 years old!
    • A 'Society for the improvement of New Forest Ponies' was founded in 1891 to encourage owners of good stallions to run them on the Forest.
    • An Act of Parliament in 1877 upheld the rights of the #NewForest commoners, which had been encroached by naval plantations for shipbuilding.
    • In 1653 a group of #Southampton merchants were given permission by the Commonwealth govt. to prospect for coal in the #NewForest.
    • Henry of Huntingdon said of William I: "If any one killed a stag or a wild boar, his eyes were put out". #conqueror #Normans #ForestLaw
    • In January 1900 Emily Whitehouse, of Lyndhurst Parish, was fined 2s. 6d., with costs of 7s., for being drunk and disorderly! #NewForest
    • The Royal Oak, Fritham, was a favourite meeting place for smugglers on the #NewForest to plan their 'free-trading'.
    • DYK that Richard, Duke of Bernay, son of William I (the elder brother of Rufus, King William II) was gored to death by a #NewForest stag?
    • Old rural rhyme about wood: 'Oak and maple dry and old, help keep out the winter cold.' (Oak and maple need to be well seasoned before use.)

    Please do leave a comment below and why not share with others by clicking on the share buttons below.





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    Dogs are considered as man's best friends because of their loyalty and affection. They are sweet and cuddly, not to mention cute! You'll be surprised that owning a dog also has benefits on your health, and there are several of them.

    If you don't have a dog yet, you'll be encouraged on getting one after reading this post. One of the things that you'll notice about dogs is that they are active and playful. They are perfect buddies for walking or running. Making it a habit to walk or run with your pet around the neighborhood is a good exercise for you. As you know, this is a vital part of staying fit and healthy.

    Dogs are amazing stress relievers, as they help decrease the chemicals in your body that make you feel bad, while increasing the chemicals that make you feel good. Lower stress level also contributes to lower blood pressure.

    According to a study, participants who had interactions with dogs had lower blood pressure even when they were under a stressful situation. Dogs can also help combat depression. One of the reasons for this is that they are good listeners allowing owners to talk to them without having to worry on what they have to think or say.

    To give you a better insight on the healthy benefits of dogs to humans, we created this amazing infographic.

    Check out the eye-catching illustration below and be wowed with the positive impact of dogs to your health:

    22 ways dogs make humans healthier
     
    Guest post: Many thanks to HEREPUPhttps://www.herepup.com for a most informative infographic about how your dog can keep you healthy.

    Please spread the love by clicking and sharing using one of the buttons below. Please do leave your thoughts in the comments below.




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    Dogs and cats are the two most common pets. They are constant companions, and for real dog and cat lovers, they would have more than one pet around with them. Dog owners would have whole kennels of dogs and puppies if they had the space to spare. Of course, the ultimate cat lover would be the cat lady who takes care of more than a dozen pet cats.

    Taking care of pets is not an easy task. Besides food and shelter, the owner also has to ensure the good health of the pets. If he had a lot of dogs or cats, a single one of them getting sick might spread the disease with the rest of the household. In the same manner, the owner has to ensure that the foods that the pets eat are healthy and not something that may be toxic.

    New pet owners have this mortal fear that their pets would just fall over and die on them. The truth is that there are some types of food which are naturally toxic to dogs and cats. Usually, these toxic foods also happen to be healthy for humans.

    Consider it as a form of deadly allergy for pets. The food may not harm a person, but it might kill his pet. That is a real threat and there are a few common food which can be easily found in the kitchen.

    This infographic shows some foods that are beneficial to humans but toxic to dogs and cats. This is a must read for all pet owners or those who plan to get dogs or cats as pets.

    what dogs can eat
    Guest post: Many thanks to HerePup https://www.herepup.com for a most informative article about toxic foods and dogs. Please share and pass on to others!



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    shared by National Trust www.nationaltrust.org.uk

    Whether you’re a first-time camper, a seasoned pro, or somewhere in-between, there’s something truly magical about spending a night under canvas.



    With campsites at various places we look after across the country, you can camp on a working farm or near a watermill, pitch your tent in a stunning coastal landscape or relax in rolling countryside, nestled in peaks and dales.


    Cotswold Outdoor is proud to be our official outdoor retailer and they’ve shared some of their top tips to make your camping trip one to remember (for all the right reasons). Read on to ensure you’re not one of those people with all the gear but no idea.

    1. Bare essentials

    As well as checking there is ample room for everyone to sleep comfortably, you need to allow plenty of room for your gear, so a tent with a porch area is ideal. Remember to take some spare tent pegs and a roll of duct tape for emergency repairs.

    Along with a camping stove, pans and spare gas canisters, make sure you take enough plates and cutlery for everyone. ‘Sporks’ are great, as they triple-up as a fork, spoon and knife. Use frozen cartons of juice and milk as a space-saving alternative to freezer blocks. In the morning, everything in your coolbox will be fresh, ready for your hearty breakfast.

    2. Camping in comfort

    Choose a sleeping bag which not only keeps you at a comfortable temperature, but allows you as much space to move around as you need. When selecting a sleeping mat or inflatable airbed, make sure it fits in the inner section of your tent, without touching the sides.

    Camping chairs come in all shapes and sizes, from basic folding seats to full luxurious loungers, complete with built-in pillows and footrests. Pick the one you like, sit back and relax.

    3. Enjoy good, old-fashioned fun

    A camping trip is the perfect opportunity to get away from it all and make wonderful lasting memories with loved ones. Get active with a game of catch, an impromptu cricket match or a swingball tournament. Take a torch and a lamp so the fun can continue long after the sun has set, playing card games, board games or just reading your favourite novel.

    4. Be a pampered camper  

    Going camping does not mean you have to ‘rough it’ completely. Far from it; most campsites have toilet blocks with shower facilities, so pack your washbag, a fluffy towel and don’t forget your toothbrush.

    5. Be prepared

    It’s a good idea to take a simple first aid kit with you, plus insect repellant and sunscreen in the summer, so that you’re ready for anything. For light sleepers, an eye mask and ear plugs will help you slumber in peace for longer.

    See what the experts say

    For more hints and tips on camping, visit Cotswold Outdoor, where you’ll also enjoy 15% off everything with your National Trust membership*. So all you need to do is gather everyone together and get ready for your next adventure.

    *This is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer or discount. Selected lines are exempt. This offer is redeemable on production of your National Trust membership card in store or email partners@cotswoldoutdoor.com with your National Trust membership number to receive a discount code to use online. Offer expires 31.12.17.

    Original article: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/features/five-top-tips-for-camping-success

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    The New Forest National Park is a great place for walking, dog walking, cycling and horse riding. When you’re enjoying healthy exercise, fresh air, beautiful surroundings and the rich wildlife, please help us to care for this very special place.


    Article and photo from: New Forest NPA

    Birds: To help ground nesting birds rear their young safely, keep yourself, dogs and ridden horses on the main tracks from the beginning of March to the end of July.

    Dogs: To minimise disturbance to wildlife, livestock and other people, please keep your dogs close by you and visible at all times - if necessary use a lead.  Pick up after your dog, especially around car parks, on paths and where people play or picnic, and take bagged waste home if there is no litter bin.



    Parking: To avoid damage and obstruction, please park only in designated car parks, not on a verge or in gateways. Lock your car, taking any valuables with you and leave Forestry Commission car parks by dusk.

    Driving: The ponies and other animals have no road sense and frequently stand or walk on the unfenced roads, so give them (and walkers, cyclists and horse-riders) a wide berth and be especially careful when driving at night.

    BBQs and fire: To reduce the risk of damaging wildfires, campfires are not permitted without the landowner’s permission. Disposable BBQs are welcome at Bolderwood, Blackwater and Wilverley where stands and water are available. Raised non-disposable BBQs are allowed on the hard-standing areas of car parks, providing water is available. You can hire fixed stand party-sized BBQs from the Forestry Commission (call 0300 067 4601), and two barbecue sites are available for hire at Lepe Country Park provided by Hampshire County Council (please book in advance at: www.hants.gov.uk/lepe).

    Cycling: Cycling is allowed only on the waymarked tracks and other designated routes. When approaching people and animals, call out a warning and pass slowly and wide. Try to leave gaps for overtaking vehicles and never ride more than two abreast. Keep to a safe speed, wear bright colours to be visible and always use lights in the dark.

    Camping: Please note that camping in the wild and overnight parking is not allowed. There are 10 campsites in the New Forest run by Camping in the Forest, and a number of private sites.

    Forest management: Stay safe by taking note of warning signs and keeping away from work sites and vehicles.

    Litter: Your food and litter could harm the ponies and donkeys. Please take your litter home if bins are full.

    Ponies, donkeys, cattle & pigs: For their safety and your own please leave the animals alone - although owned and cared for by local people called commoners, they are unpredictable and best treated as wild. Please don’t feed or pet them; there is plenty of natural food and it’s best that they don’t come to rely on people’s attention. They may look friendly but they can bite and kick, especially mares with foals.

    Fungi: Please leave fungi for other people to enjoy. Fungi are essential to the New Forest’s internationally protected ecosystem.  Foray leaders must apply for permission for educational excursions from the Forestry Commission in advance. If you suspect or see commercial picking please call the Forestry Commission on 0300 067 4600 or the National Trust on 01425 650035.

    Unidentified objects: Areas of the New Forest were used to test bombs in World War I and II. Please keep away from objects that might be dangerous and notify the police immediately on 999.

    Horse riding: Horse riders have open access to the New Forest, but to reduce damage to the ground please use tracks when it’s wet.

    Ticks: Check your dog and yourself for ticks when you get back home – they can lead to Lyme Disease.