Grants to support ancient New Forest tradition

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Published Tuesday 25 August 2015

A new grants scheme has launched to provide commoners in the New Forest with much-needed funds to support their traditional way of life.

Commoners make use of ancient rights attached to their property to turn out livestock onto the open areas of the New Forest. This new scheme is intended for commoners with animals such as ponies, cattle and pigs grazing on the National Trust’s Northern Commons, which are:

  • Hale Purlieu
  • Bramshaw Commons
  • Ibsley Common
  • Rockford Common
  • Hightown Common.

The fund is administered by the New Forest Land Advice Service on behalf of the National Trust’s Higher Level Stewardship Scheme, providing individual grants of up to £1,000 for improvements such as:

  • Fencing for back up grazing sites where animals could be introduced
  • Replacing or renovating farm structures to support stock management     
  • Establishing livestock handling facilities
  • Introducing water supply to enable grazing
  • Creating hard-standing storage and feeding areas within a smallholding.

New Forest Land Advice Service Manager Julie Melin-Stubbs said: ‘We look forward to working with commoners who put animals out to graze on the Northern Commons by helping them apply to this new grants scheme.

‘Working in partnership with the National Trust, we hope to encourage commoners to undertake innovative work which will benefit their farms, livestock and the New Forest in general.’

Lee Hulin, National Trust Lead Ranger, New Forest Northern Commons, said: ‘Commoners’ free-ranging livestock are essential to the New Forest National Trust Commons, continually supporting the conservation of these precious open heath landscapes.

‘The National Trust is pleased to work with the Land Advice Service in offering grant support for sustainable commoning practice on our commons, to benefit the conservation of these areas for many years to come.’

Commoner Rick Manley, from Cadnam, said: ‘There are many challenges we face as commoners, including the ever-increasing cost of looking after animals and turning them out onto the Forest. This grant scheme should help commoners to maintain and improve the infrastructure that is essential if we are to continue with our traditional way of life.’

If you would like to find out more about applying for this grants scheme, visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/LASgrants. Alternatively email enquiries@nflandadvice.org.uk or call land adviser Rhys Morgan on 01590 646688.

The New Forest Land Advice Service is funded by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and the Verderers.

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Notes to photo editor:

Farmer Simeon Morgan with Rhys Morgan of the New Forest Land Advice Service.

Notes to editor:

About the New Forest Land Advice Service

The New Forest Land Advice Service is available to landowners and occupiers who would like advice and support on a wide range of issues relating to land management. The advisors operate across the National Park, the Avon Valley and the coastal plain. Since the service started in 2010 it has advised more than 300 businesses.

The service offers:

  • A free and independent service for the land managing community in and around the New Forest and Avon Valley
  • Support for landowners, farmers, New Forest Commoners, equine owners, graziers and community groups
  • Advice to anyone who owns or manages a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC) in the area
  • A small grant scheme which can support capital works which benefit the landscape, biodiversity and cultural heritage of the area.

To find out more about the New Forest Land Advice Service, or arrange a visit, please call 01590 646696 or email enquiries@nfladvice.org.uk.

About the National Trust

The National Trust looks after more than 250,000 hectares of countryside, 710 miles of coastline and hundreds of historic places across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

In the New Forest, the National Trust owns and oversees the management of approximatly 3500 acres of precious open heath, wetland and woodland habitats. These are within an area collectively known as the Northern Commons.

For more information please go to: www.nationaltrust.org.uk/new-forest-northern-commons

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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