Leadership team

Deadman Hill

The Leadership Team supports the members with expertise across a range of disciplines including conservation, recreation, planning, resources and communications.

Alison Barnes, Chief ExecutiveAlison Barnes, Chief Executive

Alison joined the Authority in June 2010 from Natural England, where she was Regional Director for London, leading engagement with large regeneration programmes such as for the Olympics, as well as taking organisational lead on landscape and green infrastructure.

Earlier in her career Alison led on local biodiversity policy within Defra and was Head of Advocacy for English Nature, using her expertise on the natural environment in both roles to advise on engaging with local and regional programmes to secure delivery. At English Nature she was responsible for policy engagement across Parliament, Whitehall and Europe, including supporting the passage of the NERC Act. She also worked for a number of years within Scottish local government, giving ecological advice and in particular focussing on restoration schemes for opencast.

Alison is on the Board of Directors for Business South and is appointed to the Forestry and Woodland Advisory Committee of the Forestry Commission.

Alison grew up in nearby Wimborne, Dorset. She was inspired to follow a biological science (Oxford) and a conservation degree (UCL) by her time spent on the Forest and exploring the heathlands and coasts of the area. In her spare time, she enjoys sailing and walking, especially around the Solent and along the south coast. She plays the flute and likes to engage in community music projects, particularly with Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra.

Steve AverySteve Avery, Executive Director Strategy and Planning

Steve joined the New Forest National Park Authority as Head of Development Control in 2006. Prior to joining the National Park Steve spent eight years working as a Principal Planner with New Forest District Council. Steve has also previously worked for other local planning authorities in Essex and Cornwall.

As Executive Director Strategy and Planning, Steve leads the Authority's planning team as well as the Authority's other statutory functions in relation to the conservation and enhancement of the natural environment, cultural heritage, access to the countryside and preparation of the National Park Management Plan.

Steve currently chairs the Royal Town Planning Institute's Management Board and Activities Committee for the South East Region.

Nigel matthews

Nigel Matthews, Head of Recreation Management and Learning

Before moving to the New Forest in 2006, Nigel worked for Kent Wildlife Trust as Head of Wildlife Awareness and Education. He played a key role in developing visitor centres, volunteer and outreach initiatives, public events, interpretation and educational work with schools.

Nigel’s current role is to lead much of the Authority’s activities aimed at promoting opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of the New Forest, balancing this with the need to protect the Forest into the future. This work includes links with schools, interpretation, recreation, the team of rangers, and sustainable tourism and transport.

In recent years Nigel has helped build productive partnership approaches to encouraging safer driving, responsible dog walking and cycling. 

ELTPaul Walton, Head of Environment and Rural Economy

Paul’s role is to lead the Authority’s work in conserving the landscapes and habitats of the National Park and foster a healthy local economy that can sustain the Park’s special qualities.

Paul has considerable experience of working in protected landscapes.  He has come to the New Forest having previously worked in Cornwall, as a General Manager for the National Trust for five years and prior to that as the first Partnership manager of the Cornwall Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.  He also worked as an Area Manager for the Sussex Downs Conservation Board prior to the creation of the South Downs National Park. 

In 2011 Paul completed a Masters degree in Town and Country Planning.


Organisation structure

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