Have your say on playing outdoors

wild play

Published Thursday 12 June 2014

Children and parents based in and around the New Forest are being asked their thoughts on playing outdoors in the National Park as part of a new research project.

Nationwide studies show children have less freedom to play outside and get in touch with nature than previous generations.

Less than a quarter of children regularly use their local ‘patch of nature’, compared to over half of all adults when they were children, according to Natural England research (tinyurl.com/37okvmt). Now the New Forest National Park Authority wants to find out what is happening in the New Forest and how more outdoor play can be encouraged.

People will be asked their thoughts on:

  • Attitudes to playing outdoors
  • What children like to do when playing
  • How children could be encouraged to play outside more
  • Parents’ memories of outdoor play
  • The physical and social barriers that can prevent children playing outdoors and how these can be overcome.

The questionnaire responses will help develop wild play opportunities in the future to encourage children to explore nature through play.

James Brown, Landscape Partnership Scheme Community Engagement Officer, said: ‘There is increasing evidence showing that modern-day children are roaming less and not getting to discover the great outdoors by themselves.

‘We are encouraging parents to think about their own childhood adventures and help us identify the obstacles that might prevent their children from experiencing the same outdoor play adventures. We also want to hear from children about what they like to do when they are playing, where they play and how they get there.’

This research is part of the Landscape Partnership Scheme. This scheme is led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners including the Beaulieu Estate, Commoners Defence Association, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, National Trust, Natural England, New Forest Centre, and the New Forest Land Advice Service.

Children can have their say at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/childform and parents can get involved at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/parentform, with comments requested by the end of July. Please note that these links take you to an external web survey site.

If you have any questions, or would like a paper copy of the survey, please contact James Brown on James.brown@newforestnpa.gov.uk or 01590 646695.

-ends-

Notes to editor:

About Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The seven year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners including the Beaulieu Estate, Commoners Defence Association, Environment Agency, Forestry Commission, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Natural England, New Forest Centre, and the New Forest Land Advice Service.

These organisations will take collective responsibility for the delivery of the Programmes if we are successful with the Stage 2 application. The Landscape Partnership has been awarded a development grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to employ a project team that will work with the partners to develop and refine the initial Stage 1 bid for the Stage 2 submission in 2015. If this is successful, then the Delivery Phase of the Scheme will run from 2016 – 2020.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/landscapepartnership.

About the New Forest National Park Authority

Protect - Enjoy - Prosper

The New Forest National Park Authority’s statutory purposes are to:

  • Conserve and enhance the natural beauty, wildlife and cultural heritage of the Park - Protect
  • Promote opportunities for understanding and enjoyment of its special qualities – Enjoy.

We also have a duty to:

  • Seek to foster the social and economic well-being of local communities within the Park – Prosper.

The New Forest National Park was designated in March 2005. Its unique landscape has been shaped over the centuries by grazing ponies, cattle and pigs which roam free. Majestic woodlands, rare heathland and a spectacular coastline provide fabulous opportunities for quiet recreation, enjoyment and discovery.

Visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more

Media Contact:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: matt.stroud@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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