Landmark grant to secure New Forest’s future


Published Monday 26 October 2015

A partnership scheme to conserve the New Forest’s unique heritage, landscape and wildlife for future generations has received £2.8m, thanks to National Lottery players.

The grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) will fund a visionary project to restore lost habitats, develop traditional Forest skills and inspire a new generation of people to cherish and care for the National Park.

The five-year New Forest Landscape Partnership Scheme will be led by the New Forest National Park Authority and 10 key partners, who will contribute their own funding to increase the pot to more than £4m.

It marks a new era in organisations working together in the Forest and follows on from the National Park Partnership Plan signed by 10 main organisations earlier this year – setting out ambitions and actions for them to deliver collectively by 2020.

The National Lottery money will help to restore sites across the Forest, including waterways, ancient woodland, meadows and historic buildings. The project will also promote more understanding and passion for the area among landowners, local communities and visitors.

The New Forest boasts special qualities formed over a thousand years thanks to a unique system of land management based on commoning rights. It now faces unprecedented modern pressures, and this scheme will help the National Park become more robust and able to deal with climate change, agricultural practices and a growing population that is increasingly based in urban areas.

The three key programmes of the project are:

  • Restoring lost landscapes by helping landowners manage neglected woodlands, creating wildlife corridors through hedgerow planting, conserving the Forest Fringe against spreading urban areas and restoring the New Forest’s archaeology and historic buildings
  • Enhancing traditional agricultural Forest skills among landowners, developing a New Forest Ranger apprenticeship scheme,  encouraging new and young Commoners and improving traditional building skills
  • Inspiring the wider public and a new generation to discover Forest heritage by developing an e-cademy for sharing knowledge, collecting and conserving photographs and records to document the agricultural and commoning heritage of the New Forest, improving educational facilities at the National Trust’s Foxbury Estate near Wellow, and educating people about the role and importance of commoning to the New Forest. The scheme will also involve restoring the historic Verderers Court in Lyndhurst – the oldest functioning court in the land and a building central to the commoning community.

National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘This grant will help us ensure that the New Forest’s unique heritage is protected, promoted and then passed on to future generations.

‘After successfully updating our joint partnership plan this year, it is heartening to see once again so many local organisations joining forces to benefit the Forest through this scheme. By working together and each contributing our own expertise we can benefit the National Park much more than if we were to work alone.’

Dr Graham Ferris, Chairman of the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, said: ‘We welcome the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund for the Landscape Partnership Scheme, of which we are members. There are three projects within the overall scheme that will make valuable contributions to the future of commoning in practice and recognise the importance of commoning as a fundamental part of the cultural heritage of the New Forest.’

Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East, said: ‘Ensuring that our rich, natural heritage is well looked after is just as important to us at HLF as protecting our historic built environment. We are delighted that, thanks to National Lottery players, this project will help to conserve this special landscape and allow many more people to explore its fascinating heritage.’

Further details can be found at

The Landscape Partnership Scheme is led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners including the Beaulieu Estate, Commoners Defence Association, Forestry Commission, Freshwater Habitats Trust, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, Hampshire County Council, National Trust, Natural England, New Forest Centre, and the New Forest Land Advice Service.


Background notes

HLF’s Landscape Partnerships are helping bring together members of the community as well as local, regional, and national organisations to deliver schemes which benefit some of the UK’s most outstanding landscapes and rural communities. Grants range from £100,000 to £3m.  

Notes to photo editor:

Representatives of the 11 organisations in the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme.

Left to right: Jeremy Biggs, Freshwater Habitats Trust; Claire Gregory, Beaulieu Estates; Angela Peters, New Forest Land Advice Service; Dylan Everett, National Trust; Cllr Keith Mans, Hampshire County Council; John Pemberton, New Forest Centre; Alison Barnes, New Forest National Park Authority; Debbie Tann, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust; Bruce Rothnie, Forestry Commission; Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre, National Park Authority; Hannah Thacker, Natural England; Jo Ivey, New Forest Commoners Defence Association.

Notes to editor:

About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Thanks to National Lottery players, we invest money to help people across the UK explore, enjoy and protect the heritage they care about - from the archaeology under our feet to the historic parks and buildings we love, from precious memories and collections to rare wildlife. @heritagelottery @HLFSouthEast

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 Contact:

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

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