Big plans for a little meadowPUBLISHED ON: 16 NOVEMBER 2020
A meadow in the New Forest has been secured for nature conservation after being gifted to the New Forest National Park Authority.
The half-acre meadow in Godshill borders the open forest and features oak and ash trees, hazel hedges, scrub and a small brook.
Three siblings, who wish to remain anonymous, bequeathed the meadow to the New Forest National Park Authority (NPA) through the New Forest Land Advice Service this year.
The siblings’ grandparents were New Forest commoners and the meadow had been in their family since the early 20th Century as part of a small holding. It was originally an apple orchard with bee hives, was also once used to grow food, and has been grassland for the last 20 years.
The donors no longer live in the New Forest but have fond memories of the meadow and recall harvesting crops, picking blackberries, collecting honey from the hives for mead and their grandfather making parsnip wine.
When gifting the meadow they told the NPA: ‘It is only in later life do we, who experienced life in this corner of the New Forest with our grandparents, uncle and parents, now appreciate what a unique privilege it was to be part of this culture for a brief period in our lives.’
The Land Advice Service (NFLAS), an independent service for the land managing community in and around the New Forest, will now look after the meadow. Its plans include hedge laying and coppicing to create thick wild hedgerows and increasing the number of wildflowers.
Julie Melin-Stubbs, NPA Wildlife and Conservation Manager and Manager of NFLAS, said: ‘We are proud and excited to become the guardians of this little piece of the New Forest. Our plan is to manage it in a way which will enhance its value for nature, particularly hedgerow birds, wildflowers, butterflies and other insects such as dragonflies, bees, crickets and grasshoppers.’
The land will be used as a venue to teach countryside skills and land management, as well as to support commoners’ livestock; this autumn a young commoner has taken two donkeys off the Forest to graze the meadow.
New Forest volunteers will also visit the meadow to help with and learn about scything, hedge restoration and scrub management.
Julie added: ‘The meadow has a lot to teach us about species and habitats and gives us a useful venue for some of the courses we run such as hedgerow, soil and grassland management.
‘We are grateful to our donors who are trusting us to become custodians of this land, a significant part of their family heritage, and look forward to pursuing our shared vision of nature and education.’
Notes to editor
Photo: Julie Melin-Stubbs, NPA Wildlife and Conservation Manager and Manager of NFLAS, at the meadow in Godshill.
Video: Julie Melin-Stubbs, NPA Wildlife and Conservation Manager and Manager of NFLAS, talks about the meadow in Godshill. https://youtu.be/9NOAHV4qQqA
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 www.newforestnpa.gov.uk to find out more.
Lisa Reynolds, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639