New Forest lands pioneering service for land managers

Published Tuesday 23 February 2010

A unique new service to provide advice and practical help for farmers, landowners, tenants and commoners in the New Forest has been launched.

The New Forest Land Advice Service aims to support land managers for the benefit of the environment.

Set up by the New Forest National Park Authority, Natural England and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, it is the first time a national park, Natural England and a non-profit organisation have joined together to provide such a service. The partnership means a greater range of expertise is available for a wider range of landowners.

The service will provide independent advice and help with everything from accessing grants like Environmental Stewardship, to support with diversification.

Julie Stubbs is the Service’s Manager, she said: ‘We will be available to offer support to all types of landowner and land manager – from larger-scale farmers to people with pony paddocks – who want to manage their land for wildlife and the environment.

‘For example, we can help them look at making their farm more efficient, how they might gain some environmental improvements, how to supplement their income by accessing grants and other schemes, even down to completing application forms.

‘We also plan to look at involving volunteers to help with tasks such as clearing scrub, ragwort or invasive plants.’

Michael and Martin Dolbear are tenant farmers at Leygreen Farm, Beaulieu. They grow 250 acres of grain, have horse paddocks and also undertake outside contracting work.

Michael said: ‘The trouble is we often don’t hear about grants or schemes or know if they are relevant to us. There are oceans and oceans of paperwork as well so any help with applications is a great benefit. Farmers are trying to help the environment and also have a viable business so we really welcome this new service.

‘As we are traditional farmers, managing our holding with enthusiasm to implement the conservation aspects required for the wildlife is made easier with good advice.’

As a result of the support they have been given by the Land Advice Service more areas for wildlife will be created along field margins and some of the arable land will become grasslands for grazing by cattle. Fallow plots to attract Lapwing will also be created in the arable fields.

The Service is not confined to the National Park boundary but is open to anyone in the wider New Forest and Avon Valley areas.

Julie and her team of Rhys Morgan and Mark Larter are experts in delivering this type of land management advice in the New Forest and Avon Valley and are keen to meet landowners of all levels who are interested in finding out more. They are holding a drop-in session for people to find out how the service can help them.

People can turn up to The Cottage, Queen’s House, Lyndhurst, on 23 March at 9.30am to 5.30pm to discuss available grants for land managers including Environmental Stewardship, hedgerow management and Nitrate Vulnerable Zones (NVZs). No appointment is necessary.

To find out more about the Land Advice Service, call Julie on 01590 646696 or email Julie.stubbs@nflandadvice.org.uk.

-ends-

Media Contact:
Karen Evans, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: karen.evans@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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