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Green and blue horizons from city to Forest scheme

The Green and blue horizons from city to Forest scheme is a multi-partner scheme which brings an £800,000 investment into the New Forest.

The project will kickstart action to confront the twin climate and nature emergencies with programmes to restore habitats, begin our path towards net zero with nature, and help new and diverse audiences connect with the New Forest.

The scheme is funded by a £539,200 grant from the Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund, and partners are collectively bringing another £255,000 in funding.

90 nationwide projects were awarded grants to accelerate the implementation of nature-based projects, thanks to the second funding round of the Green Recovery Challenge Fund backed by £40 million, with over 1,000 jobs to be created or retained in England.

The National Park Authority and its partners will work with farmers, landowners, communities and volunteers to extend nature networks and create wildlife-rich corridors that link National Park habitats to neighbouring towns and cities. Areas of grassland, woodland, hedgerows, streams and ponds will be improved, bringing with it numerous opportunities for people to understand, value and help to care for the landscape. Across the project, 17 jobs will be created or retained and around 50 local contractors will be needed to help support nature improvements.

The scheme incorporates four themes:

1) Nature conservation and restoration, including ecosystem restoration and species recovery. Extending the network of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), creating wildlife-rich corridors, and linking New Forest habitats to Bournemouth and Southampton.

  • Three discrete nature improvement areas focusing on grassland restoration up to 20ha, hedgerow restoration up to 2km with potential to increase to 5km.

2) Nature-based solutions, particularly for climate change mitigation and adaptation. Reducing land-based emissions by restoring habitats, working with farmers, landowners, and land managers to develop climate resilience.

  • 100ha of woodland restored
  • 5km stream restored
  • Five wetland pond complexes created
  • Five regional networks supported

3) Connecting people with nature. Developing volunteering and outreach programmes focusing on those with most to gain, who will become more connected with nature and gain new pathways to employment.

  • 10,000 young people engaging with nature and climate
  • 7,000 people working towards ‘net zero with nature’
  • 1,000 people ‘Wilder for Water’

4) Jobs and skills. Creating and retaining jobs across several partners and developing a thriving volunteer workforce and green skills hub in the National Park.

  • 10 new jobs (7.4 FTE) including 50% for 16–24-year-olds via apprentice rangers, internships, and entry-level roles
  • Seven existing roles (3.8 FTE) retaining key skills and experience
  • 800+ climate and nature volunteers and ambassadors, including 400 new volunteers and 200 new opportunities for those from areas most in need
  • 46 contractors and suppliers benefitting from the project including tree surgeons, hedge laying, technical specialists, training providers (first aid, health & safety, using tools safely, hedge laying), equipment and materials

Dr Naomi Ewald of the Freshwater Habitats Trust said: ‘This is fantastic news for the conservation of the New Forest’s freshwater and coastal habitats. The funding will help us to build a skilled team of professionals and volunteers within the New Forest National Park Authority who are dedicated to protecting arguably one of the best Important Freshwater Areas in the UK; regions which are critical for freshwater biodiversity and home to many rare plant and animal species. Our vision is to work with partners and landowners to extend the area of top quality habitats, building out from the heart of the open Forest, and raise awareness of the importance this exceptional landscape with communities and visitors.’

Jane Cooper, Chief Executive of the Countryside Education Trust, said: ‘This funding will both protect and create jobs as we emerge from the pandemic, and the world refocuses on the challenge of climate change. The grant will support our commitment to education around the challenge of climate change from our brand new building, the Fort Climate Centre due to open in the autumn. We will teach people of all ages about climate change globally and specifically on the New Forest, and the actions required to mitigate its effects. We are very much looking forward to working with the other organisations involved to ensure that locally we achieve transformative outcomes from this Green Recovery Grant.’

The Green Recovery Challenge Fund is a key part of the Prime Minister’s 10 Point Plan to kick-start nature recovery and tackle climate change. Connecting people with nature is another priority theme: by increasing access to nature and greenspaces, projects will support both physical and mental wellbeing. The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. The fund is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

A full list of awards is available to view at:

The Government’s Green Recovery Challenge Fund was developed by Defra and its Arm’s-Length Bodies. It is being delivered by The National Lottery Heritage Fund in partnership with Natural England, the Environment Agency and Forestry Commission.

About The National Lottery Heritage Fund
Using money raised by the National Lottery, we inspire, lead and resource the UK’s heritage to create positive and lasting change for people and communities, now and in the future.


More on Green and blue horizons from city to Forest scheme

A new multi-partner scheme which brings an £800,000 investment into the New Forest.

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