News from the New Forest Trust

Dedicated volunteer wins New Forest Trust’s Diamond Jubilee award

The New Forest Trust has announced the winner of its Diamond Jubilee award.

The charity chose Jenni Tubbs due to her significant contribution to conserving the special qualities of the New Forest. Her dedication has shone though in various volunteer roles spanning a number of years.

Jenni is an active supporter of the New Forest Association (NFA) as a member of its council and Habitats and Landscape Committee, and as its representative on Forestry England’s Open Forest Advisory Committee.

She also represents New Forest Friends of the Earth on the New Forest Consultative Panel, and is a member of the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust’s Conservation & Science Committee.

William Ziegler, Chairman of the New Forest Trust, said: ‘Jenni is a worthy winner, giving her time with energy and determination.  I have personally known Jenni for more than 20 years and am so pleased she was chosen by the panel to receive the award this year. She has been a true unsung hero and defender of the Forest for so many years.’

Jenni was presented the award at the New Forest Heritage Centre by Mary Montagu, Director and Vice Chairman of Beaulieu Enterprises.

The award, first given in 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen to mark her Diamond Jubilee, is given to individuals who, “without expectation of recognition or reward, have given freely of their own time and made a significant contribution towards maintaining and improving the environment and rural economy of the New Forest”.

Love the Forest awards grant to tackle invasive plants

Work to remove invasive plants in the New Forest to help wildlife and waterways thrive has received a £5,000 boost thanks to Love the Forest. 

The Love the Forest scheme is part of the New Forest Trust and secures financial support locally through donations and from the millions of people who visit the Forest every year.

It has awarded a grant to the New Forest Non-Native Plants Project (NFNNPP), which works to restore and conserve the Forest’s special habitats by stopping the spread of invasive non-native plants and raising awareness about the damage they cause to the environment and the economy.

The NFNNPP is a partnership project hosted by Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and currently supported by the Our Past, Our Future Landscape Partnership Scheme, a National Lottery Heritage Fund scheme led by the New Forest National Park Authority, which ends this year.

It works with local communities and organisations and is supported by hundreds of volunteers who have helped remove huge swathes of invasive non-native plants such as Himalayan balsam, from New Forest riverbanks, allowing wild flowers to flourish.

Catherine Chatters, New Forest Non-Native Plants Officer, said: ‘By volunteering with the project, people are able to increase their appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the New Forest, not only its flora and fauna but also the vital role that commoners and their animals perform in the conservation of this very special area.

‘The project will continue to make a difference by controlling and eradicating invasive non-native plants, thereby restoring habitats and allowing our native wildlife to thrive.’

Love the Forest works with businesses across the New Forest to raise funds for conservation and education projects, as well as providing grants to local organisations.

Businesses in the New Forest provide opportunities for their customers to help look after this precious landscape by adding a donation on a room stay, meal or product. Some businesses donate directly or run fundraising events and the scheme has raised £265,000 for New Forest groups and organisations.

William Ziegler, Chairman of the New Forest Trust, said: ‘The New Forest’s internationally recognised biodiversity must be protected. This includes the important work of controlling invasive non-native plants and as such we are happy to support such a project.’

If you are a New Forest business and would like to help protect this special place, please get in touch.

Alternatively, you can donate to Love the Forest online

Crown lands and Adjacent Commons

Most but not all of the New Forest belongs to the Crown, which broadly means that it is owned by the government on behalf of all of us. Other parts of the open Forest that are not owned by the Crown are called ‘Adjacent Commons’. There are still practical differences in the way that the Crown land and the adjacent Commons are managed.

For example, Forestry England looks after the parts of the open Forest that are owned by the Crown, and their bylaws apply there. In other parts of the Forest you might see signs showing that they are owned and looked after by the National Trust, for example.

Bombs

Bombs were tested on the New Forest by the Royal Air Force during the Second World War.

There are still signs of the huge crater that was blasted when the biggest ever bomb dropped in the UK landed on the open Forest between Fritham and Frogham, where a series of targets were constructed (see Submarine Pens).

Push to halt winter spike in New Forest animal road deaths

New Forest commoners are urging drivers to be extra careful this winter to reduce the annual spike in animal road deaths after the clocks go back.

In total, 56 animals were killed last year, one of the lowest years on record. However, the two months after the clocks change are the most dangerous of the year as the evenings become darker.

So New Forest commoners, the families who own the animals that graze the Forest, have teamed up with other organisations to take their drive safe campaign on the road this winter.

They have produced five near-life-size animal silhouettes that display the number of ponies, cattle, donkeys, pigs and sheep killed last year. The silhouettes will be placed in local towns and villages throughout winter. They provide an eye-catching reminder of the importance of driving carefully to local people, who are responsible for the majority of animal road deaths.

Although the total number of deaths is 40% lower than a decade ago, thanks to a range of initiatives, there is still much work to be done.

Poor driving on New Forest roads can have devastating effects. Commoner James Young, whose pony Brock Brocade was killed in a hit and run incident, said: ‘This is the most worrying time of year for every family making the effort to keep the Forest properly grazed. Pure-bred New Forest ponies like Brock Brocade are now a rare breed. Every one matters to its owners and to the Forest.

‘No pony deserves to be left all night to suffer like Brocade in an unreported hit-and-run. I really hope that people will learn to take a little more care, and save other commoners from experiencing such a pointless and awful loss.’

The silhouettes are just one part of a wider campaign that includes new temporary warning signs deployed by Hampshire County Council on key roads and the police mobile speed camera van which is out in the Forest day and night. There will also be a social media campaign urging drivers to slow down and #add3minutes to their journey.

The free-roaming animals are vital in maintaining the protected New Forest landscape — it’s their grazing which helps maintain one of the best places in Britain for nature and for people to enjoy. The ponies, donkeys, cattle, pigs and sheep are owned and cared for by commoners and every animal killed is a great loss to the Forest, and to its owner. The animals have right of way on New Forest roads.

Sue Westwood, Clerk to the Verderers, said: ‘Drivers should be aware that they are very likely to encounter animals on the Forest’s roads, day and night. Animals don’t have road sense so please help avoid accidents by driving slowly and carefully.

‘Failing to report an accident with a commoner’s animal can lead to prosecution. The Verderers offer a reward of up to £5,000, payable to anyone providing information which leads to the successful prosecution of a driver responsible for a hit and run accident.’

Nigel Matthews, of the New Forest National Park Authority, convenes the Animal Accident Reduction Group of local organisations. He said: ‘The majority of commuters are responsible, slow and careful drivers across the Forest. But it’s easy to get complacent and we know that you are three times more likely to kill or injured an animal in the Forest after the clocks go back than before.

‘So we’re taking this campaign on the road to encourage local people who use high risk routes to please #add3minutes to their journeys in the darker nights and drive slowly for New Forest animals.’

If you own or manage a prominent location in the centre of a New Forest town or village and would like to host the silhouettes for two weeks this winter please email rangers@newforestnpa.gov.uk

If you are involved in a road accident involving livestock ring the police on 999 (emergency) or 101 (non-emergency).