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A year of opportunity for the New Forest National Park

2014 marks a moment of opportunity for the New Forest with a wide range of organisations that play a key role in Forest life coming together to ensure this delicate landscape is in a good position to survive the challenges of future years.

Photo caption: Waterside pony by Luke Parkinson

We were excited to hear at the end of 2013 that the ‘Landscape Partnership’ bid we’ve been leading was awarded ‘first phase approval’ by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)– one of only two schemes approved this year within a highly competitive field for the south-east region.

This means that a £2.83m HLF grant has now been ear-marked to support our proposals, subject to a development phase being completed with our partners by March 2015. It will be match-funded by a range of partners taking the total to £4.5m worth of projects between 2015 and 2020.

Much of our existing funding supports projects to look after the core ‘Open Forest’ at the centre of the National Park, including the £16m Higher Level Stewardship Scheme to support commoning and habitat restoration. This application focuses on the surrounding enclosed lands, looking outwards from the centre of the Forest. This is an unprecedented opportunity to work together to increase the robustness of the area’s habitats and cultural heritage, and to better equip the Forest and its communities to thrive through change and modern-day pressures.

Alison Barnes for Blog

Photo caption: Alison Barnes (front row, right) with partners from the Higher Level Stewardship Scheme at the Beaulieu Road Sales Yard

The partnership involves key partners such as the National Trust, Forestry Commission, the New Forest Centre, Beaulieu Estate, Cadland Estate, Environment Agency, the Commoners Defence Association, the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, the New Forest Land Advice Service and Natural England.

The programmes of work are as follows:

  • ’Grow the Forest’ – reconnecting the core Forest with its surrounding landscape to increase biodiversity, build connectivity and provide a buffer for the core Forest from future changes
  • Re-establish the traditional skills needed to care for the unique natural heritage and built heritage of the New Forest
  • Establish links with the surrounding communities who may be less connected to the Forest but can play an essential role in looking after their local built and natural heritage
  • Encourage, enthuse and inspire a new generation of people to be involved in learning about, championing and caring for the New Forest
  • Maximise the contribution of the local economy (tourism, commoning, farming and forestry) in supporting a sustainable landscape.

We have been recruiting for a Landscape Partnership Development Manager and Community Engagement Officer to lead this exciting work and look forward to providing more updates throughout the year.

This entry was posted by Alison Barnes on Monday 13/01/2014


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