News from the New Forest Trust

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).

The Bell Inn – Forest Led, Forest Bred and Forest Fed

The Bell Inn are celebrating a new and exclusive relationship with Tom Hordle of Tom’s New Forest Beef.

Tom Hordle age 28, is the youngest New Forest Commoner to be grazing his herd of Hereford cattle in the breath-taking landscape of the New Forest.  Following a unique collaboration, Tom has entrusted award-winning Chef, Mark Young and his amazing team to be the only restaurant to feature his New Forest reared beef on the menu.

Passionate about his herd, Tom produces quality sustainable beef in the traditional way. Many of Toms herd are hand reared and all roam freely feeding naturally on grass and plants. The incredible health benefits from eating meat produced this way has been widely publicised but of equal importance is the quality of life these animals experience.

Working with skilled butcher Mike of The Farmers Butcher, Mark will create mouth-watering dishes using 40 day dry aged beef, and a £1 donation to the New Forest Trust (supporting the conservation of landscape, wildlife and the traditional commoning way of life) will be applied.

Tasty teasers like Pastrami and Beefy Burgers will appear on the menu to coincide with the New Forest Food and Drink week, Monday 29th October to Sunday 4th November.  The full New Forest Beef experience will be showcased at the November Supper Club.  Come along and meet Tom……where he promises to share stories such as “Tom…Where are those Cows!!,  talk about his life as a young commoner and what is was like to appear on the popular TV Series “A Year in the New Forest”.

To book: contact reception, call 023 8081 2214. Booking essential. £10pp deposit required on booking. Group seating.

New Forest conservation group wins Royal approval

The Lord Lieutenant of Hampshire presented ‘the MBE of voluntary service’ to Pondhead Conservation Trust on behalf of Her Majesty the Queen.

Pondhead Conservation is a New Forest community woodland project restoring 200 acres of Crown woodland on the outskirts of Lyndhurst. Run entirely by volunteers who provide over 4,000 hours of free labour each year, Pondhead Conservation works with various diverse groups within the community.

The woodland is managed on a fully sustainable basis and work is funded by running craft courses and producing high quality BBQ charcoal, which is sold through a network of New Forest outlets. The project’s overall aim is to improve the woodland’s biodiversity and increase public enjoyment of the space.

The Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service is the highest honour that can be bestowed upon a voluntary organisation in the UK and is subject to a rigorous selection process, with the final decision resting with the Cabinet Office in London. The award was established to mark the Queen’s Golden Jubilee in 2002, there have been only 38 recipients in the county of Hampshire.

The award comprised a commemorative glass crystal together with a citation signed personally by the Queen. Founding members and Trustees Dave Dibden and Derek Tippetts received the award on behalf of the group.

Over 40 people gathered in Lymington on Wednesday 5 September for the award ceremony with many of the group’s volunteers present.

In thanking the Lord Lieutenant Atkinson, Derek Tippetts expressed thanks to the New Forest National Park Authority and New Forest Trust for their initial generous funding of equipment. The National Park Authority has provided advice and over £23,000 worth of grants to the project since the start. Derek also thanked the Forestry Commission who granted their license for the restoration work.

Pondhead Conservation Trust runs a varied programme of tasks and events throughout the year and always welcomes new volunteers and visits from local organisations and businesses. Full details can be obtained via their website at www.pondheadconservation.org.uk