New Forest partners visit successful schemes to improve the National ParkPUBLISHED ON: 7 SEPTEMBER 2018
An innovative visitor centre on stilts, a wild play area and a river clean-up operation were some of the projects visited by representatives of organisations who care for the New Forest.
The New Forest National Park Partnership Plan is the management plan for the Forest which nine lead organisations have helped create and pledged to put into practice. The actions in it range from improving the Forest’s habitats; to encouraging more volunteers; restoring historic properties and helping more young people to learn about the natural world.
The lead organisations are New Forest National Park Authority; Hampshire County Council; Forestry Commission; New Forest District Council; the Verderers of the New Forest; Test Valley Borough Council; Wiltshire Council; Natural England and the Environment Agency. More than 50 other organisations are also involved in taking action for the Forest.
The Plan is up for review next year so over 50 people took the chance to visit some of the recent successes and begin to think what the partnership needs to do through its plan for the five years from 2020.
The tour included a visit to a Grade II listed ice house being restored on the Beaulieu Estate by National Park archaeologists and volunteers; a project to protect and restore freshwater wildlife on the Beaulieu River; a wild play site at Holbury; road verges being protected at Exbury and wetland habitats being restored; and Hampshire County Council’s new restaurant and visitor centre The Lookout at Lepe Country Park.
New Forest National Park Authority Chairman Oliver Crosthwaite-Eyre said: ‘The Forest’s rare wildlife and habitats, commoning culture, built environment and communities are consistently under threat.
‘So it’s vital that people – in particular the younger generations – understand why this place is so special and that we work together pooling our skills and resources to ensure the Forest is fit to face the future.
‘The Partnership Plan is our guide where all the organisations decide what the key issues are that we need to tackle and importantly who is going to do what to ensure we make a difference. So it’s great to see the strides ahead we’ve already made, but there is much work still to be done.’
Cllr Roy Perry, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: ‘Our resources are stretched so working with the National Park Authority, district councils and parish councils is very important. We want to keep Hampshire a prosperous and attractive environment and the role of the National Park in that is crucial.’
Official Verderer Lord Willie Manners said: ‘The Verderers found it a very worthwhile day and we were particularly glad to have the opportunity to explain the importance of verge restoration to a wide audience. It is an excellent example of partnership working in practice.’
Natural England Area Manager for the New Forest Fran Davies said: ‘There are complex environmental challenges and opportunities in the New Forest. The National Park has a strong track record in bringing partners together across the public, private and voluntary sector and through the Partnership Plan has a broad reach to influence and coordinate action. It’s really impressive to see the progress and impact of our collective delivery to protect and enhance the very special and unique New Forest landscape.’
Cllr Richard Britton, Chairman of Wiltshire Council’s South Wilts Area Board, said many people didn’t realise some of the New Forest National Park was in Wiltshire. He said: ‘I have come away with lots of ideas of projects which may be of relevance to our area or on the periphery of the National Park, like wild play areas and circular footpaths. We heard some great success stories stemming from highly effective partnership working. It shows what can be achieved by getting different organisations around the same table.’
Find out more about the Partnership Plan for the New Forest National Park at www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/about-us/management-plan.
Notes to Photo Editor: New Forest Partnership Plan representatives view projects at Lepe Country Park.
Notes to Editor:
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.
Beki Mole, Communications Assistant
New Forest National Park Authority
Tel: 01590 646639