Conserving the Forest Fringe, OPOF

Conserving the Forest Fringe

Lead Partner

Forestry Commission

What is it about?

The Forestry Commission will work with local communities to improve their knowledge of the importance of the historic boundaries that exist and how valuable they are in maintaining and protecting the character of the landscape. A successful pilot project has already been run in partnership with Burley Parish Council and will now extend to eight other parishes in the New Forest.

To achieve this, a trainee will be recruited who will work closely with communities to raise awareness and understanding, and remove encroachments and reinstate boundaries. The existing Estates Keeper will teach skills and knowledge to this Trainee Estates Keeper early in the first year of the project as this experience and trust within the community can only be transferred person to person.

The project will:

  • improve the protection of historic boundaries and landscapes in 8 Parishes
  • lower the number of visual encroachments by 60% and reduce environmental damage
  • reduce the number of public complaints in targeted parishes through working with local communities
  • provide 650 hours advice to community members, including an information leaflet for future reference
  • offer training to Parish Councils to educate about ways to tackle encroachment and how to work with landowners to prevent it occurring in the first place
  • restore boundaries in each Parish, with each tackling 20 infringements and reinstating 8 capital works/schemes
  • transfer the skills from an Estates Kepper to a Trainee Estates Keeper.

Through working closely with Parish Councils, who will act as Champions for the project, a sense of guardianship will be created within local communities over time, enabling them to identify and deal with issues in their area, such as fly tipping and ditch clearance.

Each Parish will be assessed individually to ensure the continuity of knowledge and an understanding of specific issues. By working with the local community (property owners, Parish Councils and other bodies), they will gain greater understanding of the importance of well-maintained boundaries and their responsibilities.

Volunteering and Training

Volunteers will clean up some low level encroachments (such as fly tipping or ditch clearance) where contracted work would not be suitable, in addition to helping on other task days. Volunteers will be offered training as part of their support to the project. This will involve either training to carry out additional survey work, or training to ensure correct tool usage during practical work from conservation task leaders. The Forestry Commission will be offer support and volunteer time from their existing volunteer force.

Visit the training and volunteering pages for information on specific roles within the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme.


The long term project goal is to engage with the Parish Councils and encourage the local community to volunteer. It will create a tangible improvement in the landscape in target areas, reducing incidents of encroachment, whilst empowering Parish Councils to protect the landscape and help others to understand its value.

Contact Details

Zoe Cox - Community Manager, The Forestry Commission

Tel: 0300 067 4601 email:

  1. Projects
  2. Working Woodlands
  3. Better Boundaries
  4. Conserving the Forest Fringe (you are here)
  5. New Forest Invasive Non-Native Plants
  6. Living Waters
  7. Nature's Stepping Stones
  8. Rediscovering and Conserving Our Archaeological Heritage
  9. Historic Routes and Past Pathways
  10. New Forest Rural Skills
  11. Apprentice Rangers
  12. Building Skills
  13. Veteran Trees Skills
  14. New Forest Knowledge
  15. Heritage on My Doorstep
  16. Common Cause: Verderers' Hall
  17. Foxbury: Connecting People with Places
  18. New Forest Connects
  19. Wild Play
  20. New Forest Arts Festival
  21. Monitoring Biodiversity
  22. Monitoring Behaviour Change
  23. Common Cause: Through Our Ancestors' Eyes
  24. Common Cause: Shared Forest


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