Could you help to shape the future of access in the New Forest?

Published Wednesday 8 February 2006

Do you use the countryside or rights of way? Are you a landowner or farmer?

 If so, you may be interested in joining a forum which advises on how to make the local countryside more accessible and enjoyable for open-air recreation.

The New Forest Access Forum comprises members from a cross-section of interests including land management, commoning, walking, and conservation – ensuring that the needs of everyone are taken into account when policies on access to the countryside are developed.

The Forum has been operating successfully for three years, and existing members have played an invaluable role in advising authorities on a range of local countryside access issues.

Discussions which have taken place at the Forum have highlighted issues relating to local land which has been affected by new access legislation, which resulted in some changes to the way that this land has been mapped. The Forum has also assisted in the production of Codes of Conduct for visitors to the area, and is advising on the development of Hampshire County Council’s Countryside Access Plan for the New Forest area.

From April 2006, when the New Forest National Park Authority takes on its full duties, the Forum will be administered jointly by the National Park Authority and Hampshire County Council. Whilst many Forum members will stay on for a second term, some new recruits are now also needed.

Anyone interested in receiving an application pack with more information can contact Debbie Williams on 023 8028 6165 or email access.forum@newforestnpa.gov.uk. The closing date for applications is 28 February 2006. Applications from individuals who have an understanding of disability, access to the coast or rivers, local business, tourism, cycling, health or sport would be particularly welcome.

Forum members are expected actively to seek the views of groups whose interests they represent, and should be able to demonstrate a commitment and an inclusive approach to the improvement of recreational access to the countryside. The Forum currently meets four times a year, and appointments will be for up to three years.

The New Forest Access Forum is the Local Access Forum for the New Forest National Park and Southwest Hampshire, and is a requirement under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000.

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Media Contact
Martin O'Neill, Head of Communications, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646647
Email: martin.o'neill@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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