Help maintain the character of villages in the north west of the New Forest

ponies grazing at Woodgreen

Published Tuesday 2 September 2014

Representatives of town and parish councils in the north west of the New Forest National Park have published advice and information about how residents can help keep their area special.

The Western Escarpment Conservation Area includes parts of the parishes of Ellingham, Harbridge and Ibsley, Hale, Hyde, Godshill and Woodgreen, and the town council areas of Fordingbridge and Ringwood. It was designated as a Conservation Area in 2008 in recognition of the variety of buildings of architectural and historic interest in the area.

A steering group of representatives from the local parish and town councils was established, supported by the National Park Authority and the group asked residents what they thought contributed to or detracted from the character of the Conservation Area. A number of actions where then drawn up including preparing general guidance for building owners on what a conservation area is, why it is designated, what works require consent and where to obtain further advice.

Local residents also identified the important contribution traditional boundaries made to the character of the Conservation Area. These can be in the form of traditional hedges, simple picket fences, low brick walls or estate fencing. The steering group says several traditional boundaries have been replaced in recent years with unsympathetic treatments such as high close-boarded fencing which is why they produced a short leaflet giving practical guidance on traditional boundary treatments and where to find out more information.

Bill Dow, councillor at Hyde Parish Council and member of the Conservation Area Steering Group, said: ‘The designation of the Western Escarpment Conservation Area recognises the special built character of this part of the New Forest. These two simple leaflets have been prepared in response to the issues raised by local residents. They are not about stopping change, but ensuring that the changes that will occur within the Conservation Area are positive and enhance its local distinctiveness.’

Both leaflets are widely available throughout the Conservation Area through the local town and parish councils and at village shops. The leaflets can also be viewed on the National Park Authority’s website at and scroll down to Western Escarpment.


Notes to Editor:

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 to find out more.

Media Contacts:

Matt Stroud, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650

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