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MP meets New Forest partners working together for the future of the National Park

MP meets New Forest partners working together for the future of the National Park

PUBLISHED ON: 31 JULY 2023

The Rt Hon Sir Julian Lewis MP met New Forest National Park Authority staff and partners on a visit to find out more about the issues facing the New Forest, and initiatives in place to protect this special area.

The MP for New Forest East chatted to NPA Lead Ranger Gillie Molland and Forestry England’s New Forest Community Engagement Manager Charlotte Belcher at Bolton’s Bench in Lyndhurst. The rangers spoke about joint work on campaigns such as BBQ-free New Forest; responsible dog ownership and protecting rare ground nesting birds.

Sir Julian and his wife Lady Fiona then visited the PEDALL inclusive cycling community hub at Ashurst, where PEDALL Project Manager Shelley Filby showed them some of the different specialist bikes in the fleet. The charity provides guided rides for people of all ages with physical or intellectual disabilities, social or mental wellbeing needs – enabling everyone to enjoy the beautiful New Forest.

NPA Development Control Manager Natalie Walter discussed the proposed new housing developments at Ashurst Hospital and land at Whartons Lane – which will include 31 affordable homes.   

The NPA’s Access and Learning Manager Jim Mitchell talked about opportunities for well-being in the National Park and the benefit of being in green spaces, while New to Nature intern Joshua Dawes spoke about his year-long placement with the NPA and different opportunities in ‘green’ careers.

At Holly Farm in Copythorne, Sir Julian met landowner David Hickman, and Sam Loades from the New Forest Land Advice Service. Farmers and landowners are being supported with advice on habitat recovery alongside nature-friendly farming – as well as grants for sustainable farming as part of the Government’s Farming in Protected Landscapes programme.

Sir Julian said: ‘The more one learns about the way in which the precious New Forest is managed, the more one appreciates how complex it is and how much we owe to the people who farm it, nurture it, manage it and protect it.

‘I’m extremely grateful to everyone who organised and participated in a profoundly educational experience.’

-Ends-

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