Step into the New Forest story

Visitors enjoying the mindfulness colouring panels first seen at the new forest show crop

Published Thursday 8 September 2016

Discover the New Forest’s fascinating wildlife, history and culture at the New Forest Centre this autumn.

Starting this weekend (Saturday 10 September) running until Sunday 13 November, visitors can take part in family friendly activities to explore how the Forest has changed over the centuries and the challenges the historic working landscape of the New Forest faces in the future.

The exhibition is part of a £4.3m Heritage Lottery funded landscape partnership scheme called Our Past, Our Future, led by the National Park Authority with 10 key partners.

Families can join in with the latest craze and learn about the Forest’s unique landscape and heritage as they help complete the largest mindfulness colouring wall in the UK.

Each of the six panels features an important scene from the Forest, showcasing six of the projects within the Our Past, Our Future scheme, with a separate children’s colouring station.

Meanwhile aspiring archaeologists can explore the Forest’s past through some unique artefacts relating to key points in local history. The Forest is full of important archaeological sites and many of these are hidden just beneath the landscape yet to be recorded.

New Forest National Park Authority Interpretation Officer Jim Mitchell said: ‘Visitors can discover a number of unusual tools and traditional practices through a touch table quiz. The activities featured link to the skills courses being run within the scheme and it is important to preserve these skills and reconnect residents and local building business with the Forest’s traditions to protect its heritage.’

The Forest is famous for its roaming New Forest ponies, but people often don’t know that these are owned by commoners. Learn what other commoning animals dwell on the Forest and vote for your favourite one.

A selection of walking videos from the New Forest National Park Authority website’s new routes section and a walking map for visitors to mark where they like to walk in the Forest is also on display. This is accompanied by information about this year’s New Forest Walking Festival and how to book onto walks.

For opening times of the exhibition, please visit the New Forest Centre’s website

More information about the Our Past, Our Future scheme and its projects can be found online at


Notes to Photo Editor:

Visitors enjoying the mindfulness colouring panels, first seen at the New Forest Show.

Notes to Editor:

Our Past, Our Future

Our Past, Our Future is a Landscape Partnership Scheme for the New Forest which, supported by a Heritage Lottery Fund grant, 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 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:

Beki Mole, Communications Assistant, New Forest National Park Authority

Tel: 01590 646639


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