What is it about?
Foxbury is a 150 hectare heathland restoration site located in the north of the New Forest, near East Wellow and in close proximity to Southampton. The site was a commercial conifer plantation, but the National Trust are slowly restoring it to its 19th century lowland heathland and mixed deciduous woodland habitat.
As well as restoring priority habitats for the Forest, Foxbury increases recreational and educational opportunities as a well-managed site, benefitting the more fragile habitats of the nearby Commons which are under increasing pressure.
What’s been achieved?
The main aims of Foxbury are to:
- 18,000 trees have been planted by staff and volunteers to create 29.23 hectares of lowland mixed deciduous woodland to increase biodiversity and the potential for protective designation of the site (e.g. SSSI status)
- Improved access and facilities, including the creation of a carpark, construction of timber shelters, benches and an accessible toilet
- Upgraded display information around the site to promote better understanding of the Forest’s habitats, including maps and carvings
- A regular programme of events and activities is delivered throughout the year. Events have been held for Sarum Orienteering, Disabled Ramblers, Hearing Dogs Charity, Wildlife Trust, Pony Club and local horse riders. 62 visitor events and 19 guided walks to be held, which have involved 4,549 visitors.
- Increasing use by schools and other educational groups, including weekly Forest School for pre-school children and a programme of ranger-led wildlife events
- Offsetting the recreational pressure of the adjacent commons, and managing this effectively on-site as the local urban population grows.
Volunteering and training
Volunteer and community groups are instrumental to the success of Foxbury. The woodland planting scheme in particular, has required a high level of support from volunteers.
Foxbury will leave a lasting legacy, creating a long term, diverse and sustainable woodland that is a responsibly managed destination of choice for outdoor activities. It will produce long term ambassadors for our work and the Forest, in addition to future opportunities for sustainability and shared knowledge.
A ‘Friends of Foxbury’ group will be established to ensure that the landscape and community value of the site is realised longer term.
Dylan Everett – Countryside Operations Manager, National Trust
Tel: 01794 340757 ext. 203 or mobile: 07977 060682