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Join the Love the Forest Valentines Challenge

Join the Love the Forest Valentines Challenge

PUBLISHED ON: 3 FEBRUARY 2021

Love the Forest is calling on walkers, joggers and runners to join its Valentines Challenge to help fund vital conservation, commoning and education projects in the New Forest.

The scheme, set up by the New Forest Trust charity, is calling on people to make their local lockdown miles count and get sponsored to walk, jog or run a distance when out on their daily exercise from home.

Love the Forest usually raises tens of thousands of pounds each year from personal donations and with tourism businesses adding a pound to visitors’ bills, but sadly most of the businesses have been closed for a lot of 2020 due to the pandemic and donations have plummeted.

Over the years the scheme has helped rare bats, birds and snakes survive, educated thousands of youngsters about the New Forest and funded vital projects to reduce animal accidents on Forest roads.

The New Forest ponies and cattle are known as ‘the architects of the Forest’, roaming freely across the landscape. Owned by people called commoners, it’s the animals’ grazing which creates the amazing range of habitats which make the National Park a world capital for wildlife.

Sadly 49 animals were killed on the roads in 2020 with nine killed in a particularly harrowing week after Christmas. Although 2020 saw the lowest number of accidents since records began, any animal death is a great loss to its owner and the Forest.

New Forest Trust Chairman William Ziegler said: ‘We’re asking people to join in our virtual challenge and help fund measures to help the New Forest survive into the future.

‘We suggest people choose from a distance of three, five or 10 miles and complete their challenge from home any time from Valentines’ Day to the end of February. You can take part anywhere – you don’t have to be in the New Forest!

‘Of course, while completing the Challenge we will all need to follow the latest Government restrictions about travel and contact with other people to keep everyone safe. We hope as many people as possible will get involved to help care for the New Forest landscape and animals.’

Anyone who would like to take part but not seek sponsorship, or would like to support the event, is encouraged to make a suggested donation of £20 instead.

William added: ‘We would like to thank all our fantastic businesses who have been supporting the Love the Forest scheme over the years and it’s extremely sad to see how difficult a time they are having but we hope they’ll be open again soon and we can return the favour and support them too.’

For more details about the Valentines Challenge, visit www.newforesttrust.org.uk/love-the-forest.

To start fundraising or donate online, visit: Virgin Money Giving | New Forest Trust

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Notes to editors:

Photo and logo available via the links below

The New Forest Trust

The Love the Forest scheme is part of the New Forest Trust, which was founded in 2003 with one simple aim – to secure the future of the New Forest.

The Trust’s charitable aims are:

  • Promoting the conservation, protection and improvement of the New Forest
  • Promoting the conservation and protection of the commoning livestock, the deer and other flora and fauna of the New Forest
  • Promoting the education and understanding of the public in the commoning of livestock, of fauna and flora and the environment of the New Forest.

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.

Maria Court, Communications Officer
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646650
Email: maria.court@newforestnpa.gov.uk

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