TV presenter's wildlife films to mark 10 year anniversary of the New Forest National Park

Simon King 10 year anniversary

Published Tuesday 24 February 2015

Wildlife films celebrating the world-class landscapes of the New Forest, have been produced to mark its 10 year anniversary as a National Park.

Simon King, best known for presenting Springwatch and Big Cat Diary, has produced three fascinating films, looking at the rich wildlife of the National Park’s internationally-important patchwork of ancient woodlands, lowland heaths and diverse coastline.

Rare species such as Sand Lizards, Goshawks and Dartford Warblers are featured in the online films, which highlight how the ancient rights of ‘commoning’ - including the right to graze free roaming ponies - have shaped the landscape over hundreds of years. The films will also enable better understanding of the Forest's natural beauty and will help people appreciate and conserve its special qualities into the future. 

The New Forest was designated a National Park by the Department for Environment, Farming and Rural Affairs (Defra) on 1 March, 2005 – the first to be created in the UK for nearly 50 years.

The New Forest National Park Authority was created shortly after on 1 April, 2005, and was delegated full powers a year later. 

National Park status offers the highest form of landscape protection in the UK, helping to conserve 220 square miles of fragile habitats, more than 200 ancient monuments and 17 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) in the New Forest.

National Parks also have a duty to help their communities prosper, and are responsible for ensuring residents and visitors can appreciate and enjoy its natural beauty.

Simon King has traveled far and wide to film some of the world’s rarest animals and most spectacular settings for our TV screens. Yet the New Forest remains a special place for him. 

Simon said: ‘Ever since I was a child, the New Forest has held an unparalleled magic for me. The remarkable mix of ancient, natural and human history is a compelling cocktail for all lovers of the outdoors. 

‘It’s made all the more tangible through giant relics in the form of mighty trees and swathes of heathland. This patchwork of habitats offers wild creatures a broad choice of homes and resources, enriching the New Forest with an extraordinary variety and density of life. 

‘This wild community, together with a working model of sustainable human use of forest resources, makes the Forest a shining jewel in Britain’s natural crown.’

Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said: ‘These excellent films really do capture the special qualities of the New Forest National Park, and will help viewers better understand and appreciate its exceptional landscapes, animals and traditions. 

‘The New Forest was created by William the Conqueror as a royal hunting ground more than 900 years ago, and I’m certain that he would recognise much of the Forest today. It’s a haven for wildlife and rare plants, but it’s also a working forest with vibrant communities, and a place to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of nature. National Park status helps ensure the New Forest’s fragile landscapes will be protected and appreciated by future generations.’

Environment Minister, Lord de Mauley said: ‘The New Forest National Park may only be 10 years old but the stunning scenery stretches back centuries, boasting some of the richest wildlife in Britain and many of the oldest trees in Europe. 

‘Its unique heritage is the cornerstone of the Park’s thriving economy and something of which we should all be proud.’

The three films have been produced by Simon King Wildlife TV, with thanks to Natural World UK. They are available on the New Forest National Park Authority’s YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/newforestnpa.

For more about Simon King visit www.simonkingwildlife.com

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Notes to editors:
Broadcast-quality audio clips featuring Simon King and Oliver Crothwaite-Eyre are available to download at https://soundcloud.com/new-forest-national-park. Select each individual track and click on the downward facing arrow to download. All three Simon King films about the New Forest National Park can be found at www.youtube.com/newforestnpa

Notes to photo editors: 
Please find attached a photo of wildlife broadcaster Simon King.

10 facts to mark 10 years of the New Forest National Park

  • The New Forest was the first National Park to be designated in England for nearly 50 years, since Northumberland in 1956
  • Covering an area of only 220 square miles, the New Forest is the second smallest national park in the UK
  • In total 56% of the National Park is designated as being of international importance for nature conservation – a far higher proportion than any other UK National Park
  • It has the highest concentration of ancient trees in Western Europe, with some yew trees believed to be over 1,000 years old
  • The most extensive area of lowland heath remaining in Europe can be found in the New Forest (over 10,000 hectares) – which is rarer than rainforest
  • The New Forest is one of the few places in Britain which is home to all six of the UK’s native reptile species and 17 out of 18 UK bat species
  • The tallest trees are the coastal redwoods and giant sequoias on Rhinefield Ornamental Drive at about 56 metres (183ft) – that’s taller than Nelson’s Column 
  • The New Forest has a rich built heritage with 214 Scheduled Ancient Monuments, 621 Listed Buildings and 20 Conservation Areas
  • There are more than 500 commoners in the New Forest who turn out more than 9,000 ponies, donkeys, cattle, sheep and pigs as part of their traditional ‘common rights’
  • The New Forest National Park receives an estimated 13.5 million visitor days a year.

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 Contacts:
Sion Donovan, Communications Officer, New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639
Email: sion.donovan@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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