New Forest Land Advice Service

LAS with landowner at Keyhaven

Land management advice

The core work of the New Forest Land Advice Service involves a wide range of advice to anyone who owns and/or manages land in the area. The majority of people who come to us for help are New Forest commoners, equine owners and landowners/farmers. We give advice on over 100 land holdings each year.


    Sites of Interest for Nature Conservation (SINCs)

    Within the geographical area covered by NFLAS there are approximately 550 Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINCs) covering 5,050 hectares.

    These sites have been designated at a county level as important places for wildlife and are often in private ownership, although many are owned by public bodies such as Town and Parish Councils. These sites are important fragments of wildlife habitat which still exist amongst our settlements, farming and industry and act as 'stepping stones' for nature.

    They are a mixture of woodland, grassland, wetland, heathland and coastal habitat, many with rare and declining species.

    Many are under managed, others are managed inappropriately and many people don't even know they have one. We are keen to be contacted by the owners and managers of these SINCs and can give free advice on management, help to find grants and may sometimes be able to organise volunteers to carry out beneficial tasks.


    Equine holdings

    The New Forest Land Advice Service can offer free site visits to equine holdings to give advice on good practice management of grassland, manure, watercourses, hedgerows, trees and other environmental features around the holding.

    We have produced some written guidance on various topics relating to equine holdings and if you request a site visit these documents will be brought along for you. There are also a range of other useful resources available from other organisations and projects in the country which are carrying out similar work in protected areas. All this information is available by clicking the 'Equine holdings' link on the right of this page.

    How to get the best out of your paddock

    We and the New Forest Equine Forum ran this two-part course in Lyndhurst in February 2013. Speakers included a vet, an equine nutritionist and two experts on paddock management.

    For more details of the content, and copies of some of the presentations given click on the 'Equine advice' box to the right.


    Hedgerows

    Hedgerows and other field boundary features in the countryside act as important habitats for wildlife and are often referred to as 'corridors' which have the ability to link fragmented wildlife sites together. Read and download our leaflet here.

    These linear and connecting features, if managed correctly, are not only of ecological importance, providing nesting and feeding areas for mammals and birds as well as for butterflies, moths and other insects, but also have pleasing visual benefits in the landscape.

    We offer free visits to landowners and land managers who have hedgerows on their farms for which they would like management advice.

    We also run training courses over the winter months to give landowners and others the skills required to plant, maintain, restore and enhance a hedgerow, including the traditional skill of hedgelaying. Search the events calendar for information and dates about the next courses.


    Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZ) 

    In order to improve water quality in England, many areas have been designated Nitrate Vulnerable Zones because the watercourses in those areas are suffering from high inputs of nitrates, and often other pollutants too.

    If you are a landowner or tenant in one of these areas of the Forest, you are required to keep records of the amount of nitrate entering the system from your animals or the fertilisers you put on your land. There are a number of rules and regulations you must adhere to as part of this record keeping process, some of which limit the amount of livestock you can have on your land and how you store your slurry and manure.

    Please get in touch with us if you would like any advice or support with this and we will come out and visit you and help you make sense of the legislation.

    Defra advice on NVZs (external link)


    Single Payment Scheme and Cross Compliance

    We able to help with paperwork relating to the Single Payment Scheme, for example getting your land registered on the Rural Land Registry, filling in the scheme forms and keeping up to date with all the cross compliance records and rules you need to adhere to if you receive monies from the Single Payment Scheme or from Environmental Stewardship. For example, we can help you keep your Soil Protection Review up to date.

    This is very important as, if you are inspected by the Rural Payments Agency, you need to have your paperwork up to date and your land in good condition or you will have your monies withdrawn.

    We can help to point you in the right direction to pre-empt that inspection.

    Due to the imminent reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Single Payment Scheme is changing and a new scheme will be launched. We will keep up to date with information coming from Defra on the new schemes.

    Basic Payment Scheme


    Ponds

    If you would like advice on how to manage your pond or would like to help wetland wildlife by creating a new pond on your farmland, we would be interested in hearing from you. We work closely with Pond Conservation who have an initiative in the New Forest which looks for opportunities to create temporary, grazed, shallow ponds to replicate the ponds which occur on the Open Forest and which are some of the most important ponds in Europe for wildlife.

    The type of pond we would be looking to help you create would be a scrape in the field and unfenced from livestock. It would be left to develop naturally, with no planting required. The pond needs to be separate from any ditch or stream so that it cannot be affected by any dirty water coming into the system further up.

    Freshwater Habitats Trust

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