News from the New Forest Trust

Bumper year for Love the Forest scheme

People and businesses who ‘Love The Forest’ have come out in force to help fund projects to keep the New Forest special for years to come.

The Love the Forest visitor gift scheme encourages visitors to donate or adds a pound to their hotel, restaurant bills, or product sales which are then given out in community grants for conservation and education projects. Last financial year nearly £28,000 was raised.

Over 30 businesses are taking part, including Greenclose Hotels (the Montagu Arms Hotel, Beaulieu, and Careys Manor, Brockenhurst) which has raised nearly £20,000 since 2007; New Forest Ice Cream which has raised £2,500 through sales of peach melba ice cream since 2013; and the Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst, which raised £30,000 over eight years.

The scheme is part of the New Forest Trust charity and is administered with help from the New Forest National Park Authority. Grants of up to £5,000 are available and more organisations are encouraged to apply.

Calshot Nature Club is one of the projects to benefit from a recent Love The Forest grant.

Club leader Viv Drake said the £720 funding provided after-school sessions for families to help them learn more about New Forest habitats, wildlife and the commoning system. Visits included meeting a Forest keeper, seeing charcoal made at Pondhead Community Woodland in Lyndhurst and exploring the reptile centre near Lyndhurst.

Nearly 20 adults and children attend the club. Viv said: ‘The sessions are very informal and hands-on. The families say they always learn something and really enjoy it and look forward to coming each week.

‘If we understand the New Forest we’re more aware of how to look after it – like why you don’t have fires and don’t fly drones on the Forest – and can pass this on to other people too.’

Alison and Chris Wilson own the Balmer Lawn Hotel, Brockenhurst, which adds a discretionary £1 to leisure visitors’ accommodation bills which it donates to the Love the Forest scheme. They are celebrating reaching their £30,000 total.

Alison said: ‘It’s surprising how the one pounds add up! We are very pleased to put something back into the Forest – the tourism industry relies on the Forest as part of our product. If we don’t support it and ensure it’s looked after and cared for, we won’t have a business so we should protect it. We’re a family-owned business and we live in the Forest so the more support we can give, the better.’

To support the Love the Forest scheme, find out more about the projects it supports or apply for a grant, visit:

Calshot Nature Club hopes to continue every Wednesday in term time from 12 September meeting at St George’s Hall, Calshot. Details will be on the club’s Facebook page.

Donations from New Forest Inn help revive BBQ’s for New Forest locals

The Bell Inn has raised over £30k in donations to the New Forest Trust

Having collected donations from guests and diners for several years, The Bell Inn, this month, has raised a landmark sum totalling more than £30k for their chosen charity – The New Forest Trust. 

Donations at the Inn were raised through room bookings and specific dishes on the menu. The money raised enables the charity to fund projects that conserve and protect the unique landscape, wildlife and the traditional commoning way of life within the New Forest.

Owner of The Bell Inn, Robert Crosthwaite Eyre, said “We sincerely grateful to all our guests who have contributed to this significant sum – we can’t thank them enough. We’re always keen to do what we can and it never ceases to amaze me how guests support getting involved, helping us ensure we maintain this special place where people work, live and visit, for generations to come!”

Having achieved a record amount in donations, The Inn was keen to see where the money is spent, so visited Pondhead Conservation Trust, one of the projects to receive a grant from their donations.

Pondhead Conservation Trust benefited from a ‘Love New Forest’ grant to install a new charcoal retort. Managed entirely by volunteers, Pondhead is a community woodland project working in partnership with the Forestry Commission. Its aim is to improve the biodiversity of the 13th century Royal Deer Park (just outside Lyndhurst) via sustainable, wood coppicing techniques – the oldest method of wood management – to sustain and support the woodland and its wildlife.

Years ago, coppiced woods provided the timber for charcoal production. Thanks to some of the donations raised by The Bell Inn, Pondhead has revived this historic New Forest industry by installing a modern, environmentally friendly kiln to burn the hazel and birch coppiced on the 200 acre site. The result is converted into high quality BBQ charcoal, sold through local outlets, hotels and shops in the New Forest, often going no further than 10 miles from the tree.

Founder of Pondhead Conservation Trust, Dave Dibben, said ‘When we started this project in 2014 we were heavily reliant and extremely grateful for any grant donations and were delighted when we were able to purchase the charcoal retort. It enables us to be self-sustainable with wood from the site. The charcoal we produce is high quality that lights easily and burns evenly and is even used by artists for drawing!’.

William Ziegler, Chairman of the New Forest Trust said “The New Forest is indebted to anyone who donates to these great causes throughout the New Forest. They’re hugely important to the long term well being of our cultural and environmental heritage.

For more information about The Bell Inn and how they support local suppliers and projects, or to book a table or room at The Bell Inn visit:  

For a list of charcoal outlets or for anyone interested in volunteering for Pondhead visit

The New Forest Trust Diamond Jubilee award 2017

This award, first presented in 2012 by Her Majesty the Queen on the occasion of 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 though conservation, education innovation or leadership.”

This year’s winner, Mr Billy Howells has been a commoner all his life and is a talented woodsman having worked for the Forestry Commission for over 30 years. His passion and knowledge of the Forest, its rural crafts and ways is immense and his willingness to share this knowledge for the benefit of the Forest and the wider forest community make him a worthy recipient of this award.

He was described by those proposing him for the award as “an extremely modest person; One of the most genuine, helpful and kindest men you would have the pleasure of knowing always willing to lend a helping hand if needed. He is an inspiration to all commoners new or old and is a true gentleman”

William Ziegler, Chairman of the Trust said “Billy’s contribution to the New Forest and commoning over the years has been enormous, and it is a pleasure to see this award go to someone who so richly deserves it.”

Seeking nominations for Queens Diamond Jubilee Award

New Forest conservation charity, the New Forest Trust is seeking nominations for its Diamond Jubilee Award.

First presented by Her Majesty the Queen to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the award is given annually at the New Forest Show at the end of July.

The award is made to someone who has given freely of their own time and made a significant contribution towards maintaining or improving the environment and rural economy of the New Forest. Or to someone who has contributed to the conservation or cultural heritage of the New Forest, or brought about a greater awareness of issues that have a direct bearing on the well-being of the forest.

The winner is chosen by a panel nominated by the principal voluntary New Forest organisations – the New Forest Association, the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, the New Forest Pony & Cattle Breeding Society and the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust.

Chairman of the Trust, William Ziegler said, “The New Forest is indebted to many who go the extra mile to help conserve and improve it. Often their work goes largely unrecognized and this award is for those people. If you know of someone who fits that description, please let us know”

Nominations for the award can be made direct on the Trusts website

Wedding Couples invited to share their love for the New Forest

wedding flyerAs part of its Love the Forest campaign, local conservation charity, the New Forest Trust is asking couples getting married in the New Forest for their support.

Donations to Love the Forest support the protection and improvement of the unique New Forest landscape, flora and fauna and the traditional forest way of life.

William Ziegler, Chairman of the New Forest Trust said: “We know many couples choose to celebrate their love in the New Forest.  We’re asking them to help us secure the forest’s future for their children and grandchildren.”

Couples can support Love the Forest by asking their wedding guests to make donations via the charity’s Virgin Giving pages, instead of – or as well, traditional wedding gifts – and they can also buy Love the Forest branded wedding favours.

More information can be found at