Love the Forest awarded a grant of £9,000 to the New Forest National Park Authority to support their winter volunteering programme.
The grant enabled 47 action days on various projects across the Forest which equates to approximately 1,825 total hours given by volunteers – that is 109,500 minutes or 1,216 football matches!
Volunteers helped chop, dig and clear 13 different sites across the Forest, all of these sites were selected for areas of archeological or environmental significance. It is important that this work is carried out in the autumn and winter months to minimise disturbance to wildlife, such as invertebrate populations and nesting birds.
The New Forest Non-Native Plants Project
The grant has been awarded 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.
Snakes in the Heather
We have recently awarded a grant to the ‘Snakes in the Heather‘ project which will expand upon the fantastic achievements of the New Forest Smooth Snake Survey (NF-SSS) which previously was awarded a grant from the New Forest Trust.
The grant will be used in the New Forest over 4 years to:
- Run Reptile Survey training events for new recruits from the general public and for staff from partner organisations.
- Run knowledge-sharing workshops for partner organisations in order to inform and support habitat management and forward wildlife conservation objectives.
- Provide trained Reptile Surveyors with protected species survey accreditations for smooth snake and sand lizard under ARC’s organisational licence issued by Natural England.
- Purchase essential survey equipment, and public engagement resources for activities at the New Forest Reptile Centre.
- Contribute towards travel expenses for Project Officers.
- Provide printing and distribution of the ‘Reptiles of the New Forest’ leaflet.
Educating local and inner city children
Our funding is helping over 3,300 children from local and inner city schools learn about the culture and heritage of the New Forest, become more aware of the importance of conservation and gain new skills.
Attending the education programme at the New Forest Heritage Centre the children take part in interactive sessions including outdoor group work, visits to the Verderers Court and opportunities to explore Museum handling collections.
Creating a Community Woodland
We provided a grant to a local charity – Pondhead Conservation Trust to help to establish a community woodland at Pondhead Inclosure (outskirts of Lyndhurst).
The area is has not been grazed by ponies or cattle for centuries and therefore has a range of flora found in few other parts of the Forest.
Establishing the community woodland has improved the coppice management of the hazel, allowing more light into the wood. This helps the growth of ground flora such as violets and bugle which are the food plant for the rare Pearl- bordered Fritillary found at Pondhead.
The coppiced hazel is used to produce charcoal which can be purchased locally: