Sold out skills course helps safeguard the New Forest’s way of life

Participants with sparsholt tutor steve field on a cattle breeding and management course run by the new forest land advice service

Published Tuesday 5 July 2016

Local landowners, commoners and farmers in the New Forest are learning rural skills to help preserve the Forest’s traditional way of life through a training programme run by the New Forest Land Advice

10 people participated in a recent training course that sold out in only four days. The day began with a morning of tuition at Emery Down Village Hall from Sparsholt College senior agriculture instructor Steve Field, and ended with local Commoners Robert and Lyndsey Stride sharing their knowledge during a tour of their farm.

The course is one of over 30 being delivered annually by the New Forest Land Advice Service within the Rural Skills project that forms part of the Landscape Partnership Scheme called Our Past, Our Future. The scheme is led by the New Forest National Park Authority in partnership with 10 key partners.

The morning session provided a general overview of the beef industry and husbandry. Topics included breeding programmes, tagging, New Forest procedures and bull selection.

By providing training in traditional rural skills, the heritage and landscape of the Forest is preserved for future generations. It also ensures the Forest continues to be managed and preserved in a sustainable way as it focuses on traditional skills that are supportive of the varying landscapes and their communities. Other courses already delivered have included Hedgelaying Skills and a City and Guilds certificate in Transportation of Livestock.

Local landowner Tony Vanderhoek took part in the course and said: ‘The Cattle Breeding and Management Course was excellent. The tutor was really good and Robert and Lyndsey are inspirational.’

After the overwhelming success of the day and a demand for the expertise of a tutor and the experience of landowners, the New Forest Land Advice Service is looking to run this course again.

Local landowners, commoners and farmers are eligible to take part in the training programme run throughout the Our Past, Our Future Scheme, and can find details for this and other courses on the training page

To register your interest, please contact Richard Austin on 01590 646661 or

For more information on the Landscape Partnership visit

The Rural Skills project aims to give people the skills and knowledge to undertake rural, agricultural and conservation tasks through a programme of more than 30 courses a year. This training is designed specifically for people managing land in the New Forest in partnership with expert training providers including Sparsholt College.

The New Forest Land Advice Service was established by the New Forest National Park Authority, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and Natural England in 2010, and is now also funded by the Verderers.


Notes to photo editor:

Participants with Sparsholt tutor Steve Field on a cattle breeding and management course run by the New Forest Land Advice Service.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by Heritage Lottery Funding, will undertake a range of projects to restore lost habitats, develop Forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest. The partnership focuses on the enclosed lands which surround the Open Forest.

The five year scheme is being led by the New Forest National Park Authority working alongside several delivery and funding partners, including the New Forest Land Advice Service.

For more information on Our Past, Our Future visit

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. @HLFSouthEast

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 350 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.

To find out more about the New Forest Land Advice Service, or arrange a visit, please call 01590 646696 or email

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:

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639


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