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Maldwin Drummond OBE 1932-2017

It is with sadness that we record the death of Maldwin Drummond on Saturday 18th February.

The official notice of his death reads:
Maldwin Andrew Cyril died peacefully on 18th February 2017, aged 84. Much loved husband of Gilly, father of Frederica, Annabella and Aldred, step-father to Sophie, Ariane and Laura. Service at Fawley Church, Hampshire 11am Thursday, 16th March. Family flowers only. Leading protagonist for the conservation of historic ships including SS Great Britain, HMS Warrior and Cutty Sark, environmentalist and author. Recently reprinted, with illustrations by Martyn Mackrill, The Riddle, the background to The Riddle of the Sands first published in 1985.
Donations, if desired, to:
The UK Associates of Bermuda Institute of Ocean Sciences: Ocean Science Scholarships for UK Students https://secure.thebiggive.org.uk/charity/view/64489.
HMS INVINCIBLE Maritime Archaeology Sea Trust: http://www.thisismast.org/hms-invincible.html – Contact: Claire House-Norman, Fundraising Director chousenorman@bournemouth.ac.uk.
FRIENDS of the NEW FOREST http://newforestassociation.org/


In addition to his many other accomplishments and public service ranging from the RNLI to the Cutty Sark, Maldwin has been a stalwart friend and champion of the New Forest for many years.

He became an elected verderer in the early 1960s and served until 1990, but it was not long before he was once again in the court as the appointed Official Verderer from 1999 to 2002. During his time as a verderer Maldwin was deeply involved in the 1964 New Forest Act together with the radical measures brought in to save the Forest from being overwhelmed by visitors – controlled camping and car parking on designated sites and elsewhere a car-free Forest with ditches and dragons teeth to curb the free-for-all.

At a time in the late 1980s when the fragmented governance of the New Forest was increasingly seen to be to the Forest’s detriment, but there was no appetite for yet another official body, he became the chair of a newly formed New Forest Committee, which brought together the different Forest bodies into a more co-ordinated forum. With only a small staff, but guided by Maldwin’s great enthusiasm from 1990 to 1998, a great deal was achieved to set out principles for the long-term protection of the Forest and in winning funding bids to support environmental and nature conservation improvement projects, notably from the EU LIFE programme.

As one might expect, Maldwin Drummond was also directly engaged with and a supporter of the New Forest Association. He served as our President from 1973 to 1983 and again from 2003 to 2009.

1997 was the 900th anniversary of the establishment of the New Forest as a royal hunting preserve. Maldwin, as President of the New Forest Association, thought that this occasion should be marked by something more durable than just a firework display or television documentary (although it got that too) and came up with the idea of tapestry. The Association agreed and we set up a tapestry sub-committee. With Maldwin in charge this was not to be just a ‘talking shop’. The tapestry morphed into an embroidery and Belinda Lady Montagu was commissioned to design the work and then transform it into reality. Sketches turned into a design. Experts were consulted to ensure the historical accuracy of depicted scenes and the 25ft long project was begun. Many many helpers were recruited and like a giant jigsaw puzzle it was completed. The embroidery is now on permanent loan from the Association to the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst.

“It is a vision of a countryside managed with care and concern for future generations.
We all have a role in conserving the Forest and must take opportunity to turn words in into actions”

Maldwin Drummond, 1996 – from his foreword to the Strategy for the New Forest prepared by the New Forest Committee under his chairmanship.

DONATIONS to the FRIENDS OF THE NEW FOREST in MEMORY of MALDWIN DRUMMOND may be made on our website: http://newforestassociation.org/donate/

 

 

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Saving the New Forest – 150 Years

President Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre and Henry Fawcett MP

On July 22nd this year a very special meeting was held at the Crown Hotel in Lyndhurst. Attended by Lord Montagu, the Hon. Mary Montagu Scott, Lord Manners and Mr Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre among others, it was to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the founding of the New Forest Association, now known as the Friends of the New Forest. And the special guests were there because their ancestors were in at the start.

Why was the Association established in the first place? In 1867 the New Forest was under a very real threat to enclose all usable parts of the Crown lands for timber production and sell off the remainder. This had happened in many other Royal Forests in the preceding 60 years. Adjacent landowners were concerned about their tenants, who were smallholders relying on common rights for their animals to graze the New Forest to supplement their income. The leading lights were W.C.D. (Clement) Esdaile, George Briscoe-Eyre and Lord Henry Scott (later to become Lord Montagu).

Ten of these landowners met in London in June 1867 at the Chelsea home of George Eyre and his son Briscoe to discuss the problem and agreed that something must be done. In very British fashion they agreed to set up an association. At a meeting in Lyndhurst in the heart of the New Forest on July 22nd 1867, probably at the Crown Hotel, it was resolved: “That this meeting approves of an Association being formed for the preservation of the open lands of the New Forest, and for the general protection of the Commoners rights over the Forest.” The name of the New Forest Association was swiftly adopted.

The purpose of the Association was to find a way of protecting the rights of the commoners and to prevent the break-up of the Forest into timber plantations. The founding secretary, W.C.D. Esdaile, along with George Briscoe Eyre and Lord Henry Scott, worked hard to alert the public to the losses that would occur to the nation if this land was enclosed and lost forever. Two parliamentary reviews, a major London Art Exhibition, scores of letters in the national press and ten years were to pass before the 1877 New Forest Act was made law and the future of the New Forest made certain.

The Association was the second environmental body to be set up in Britain, just two years after the Open Spaces Society in 1865. Every time there was a threat to the New Forest, the organisation swung into action and helped to save the day. In its 150th anniversary year, it rebranded itself as the Friends of the New Forest in order to explain its role and attract new members. Now as the Forest faces increasing pressures from development and over-use for recreation, it needs its Friends more than ever.

The present day Association chairman, John Ward, talked about the contrast between the nineteenth century threats of destruction and harmful change to the New Forest and the pressures that beset it today, saying: “When the Association was founded it was to save the Forest from the destructive intentions of those government bodies responsible for its management.”

“Today the largest threat and greatest management challenge comes not from ‘those in charge’ but from the sheer scale of those meaning no harm, but coming to the Forest in ever greater numbers wishing to enjoy the Forest as a recreation destination. Fragile habitats, tranquillity and a sense of remoteness are essential but illusive special New Forest qualities that require protection.”

He said that we could learn from the pioneering campaign efforts made 150 years ago: “Our founding fathers were innovative in their campaigning, organising an art exhibition in London to raise awareness of the Forest’s natural beauty, in addition to the expected letters in the Times and Questions in Parliament.”

“We must be equally creative in campaigning to protect the New Forest, adapting to a new digital age, social media and sound-bites if we are to persuade people of the need to cherish and protect those special qualities that make this a unique landscape.”

Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre, President of the Association, said: ” Only a handful of charities can say that they have existed for 150 years and been so successful and active throughout that time. I think the Founding Fathers of our Association would be enormously proud of what has been achieved by its members over so many generations to protect and conserve the New Forest since 1867. One thing will never change, and that is the shared love of this unique and beautiful place that the Association’s members have always had: that is our strength and it will serve the Association and Forest well for the next 150 years.” He then invited those present to raise a glass to the memory of the Founders and to the Association’s future.

The present day meeting was then entertained by actor Desmond Longfield of the Redlynch Players in period costume purporting to be MP Henry Fawcett and reading a speech based loosely on one he made in 1871, albeit with allusions to the current threats facing the Forest.

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Members Event and AGM – 22nd April 2017

The 2017 Members Event and Association AGM will be held:
Saturday 22nd April
Minstead Hall, Minstead SO43 7FX,
Starting at 10.00am


PROGRAMME

10.00 am: Coffee and tea available
10.30 am: ANNUAL GENERAL MEETING
DOWNLOAD ANNUAL REPORT and AGM AGENDA 

11.00 am: MEMBERS EVENT
Peter Roberts: The lighter side of our history
John Ward: Our Agenda: What have we been doing and how are we getting on?
Panel Discussion: Raise questions and issues for the Friends to address, with Graham Baker, Clive Chatters, Gale Gould, Brian Tarnoff and John Ward. (Please notify us of your questions/issues in advance on booking form below if possible to allow time for research where needed, or hand them in at the start of the meeting.)

12.30 pm: BUFFET LUNCH – @£7 per person. Bar open. please pre-book on form below

Afternoon Activities please pre-book on form below:

  • Self-guided visit to nearby Furzey Gardens, where the azaleas and rhododendrons should be in flower. We have negotiated a reduced entry fee of £6.50 (usually £8), and cream tea for £6.95 if you wish
  • 2.30 pm Guided visit (I hour) to Minstead Study Centre, run by Hampshire County Council, which aims to advance lifelong learning for sustainability. A chance to learn about their innovative educational work here in the Forest with primary school children and adults.Recommended minimum donation to the Friends of Minstead Study Centre £5 per person please.(Max. group size 30 people)

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What Future for the New Forest?

2017 will be a year of celebration for the New Forest Association marking our 150th anniversary, but is also a time for reflection on the present day state of the New Forest, its future prospects and the main issues on which our Association should focus our campaigns.

We need to ask ourselves:
Do we accept that we might be able to slow the process, but the fate of the Forest is to suffer a steady decline of its unique special qualities as the National Park is inexorably reduced to being a Suburban Park hemmed in on all sides by development and just too small not to be overwhelmed by too many people with too much activity and too many vehicles?   Or, can the New Forest be saved from a multiplicity of cumulatively harmful impacts so that our vision of the New Forest might yet be sustained?

The Association’s 150th anniversary launch event on 24th January was an evening all about these questions, where the New Forest is going and the challenges before us today.

Clive Chatters, who is Council member of the Association, gave the keynote address

Followed by responses from:

  • Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority
  • Bruce Rothney, Deputy Surveyor for the New Forest
  • Dominic May, Official Verderer

and participants from the audience of 200 people.

The launch event turned into a must-be-at New Forest occasion, with all seats ‘sold out’. With his provocative keynote address “The New Forest: a foot in the past and an eye to the future”, Clive Chatter’s spoke of a landscape derived from pastoralism now set in a suburban matrix, of unparalleled natural wealth being overwhelmed by affluence. He identified the management of recreation in the Forest being a key issue, and concluded that ‘this generation’s responsibility to secure the future of the Forest now lies with us’.

Clive’s inspiring talk was followed by responses from Alison Barnes, Chief Executive of the New Forest National Park Authority, and Bruce Rothnie, Deputy Surveyor of the New Forest. Before comments and questions from the floor, Dominic May, Official Verderer, challenged the public authorities to control creeping damage from recreation overuse to avoid conflict with the unique qualities of the Forest. Concluding the evening, Oliver Crosthwaite Eyre, President of the Friends of the New Forest and Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, alluded to the many challenges facing the Forest, paid tribute to the work of the Association since its inception, and commented that ‘the Forest needs all the Friends it can get.

While it was not an evening to solve all of the issues threatening or supporting the Forest’s future, they were well examined and many challenges (and some achievements) were identified in the course of the evening. There seemed to be an emerging concensus that particularly with respect to recreation management, it feels like ‘one of those moments for bold decision making’.

If you were not able to be there, read the text of the presentations and a transcript of audience contributions below:

Download a PDF
DOWNLOAD

Or read it on screen below:

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Schools Project Competition – £1,000 PRIZE

It is today’s young people who will need to solve many problems if the New Forest is to survive and prosper for the benefit and enjoyment of their own and later generations. But to solve problems, first it is necessary to know and understand the context. To help achieve that objective we are commemorating our 150th Anniversary Year in 2017 by sponsoring a Schools’ Project Competition with a £1000 prize. The main objectives of the competition are:

  • To encourage the interest, education and enjoyment of secondary school students in matters concerning the New Forest.
  • To foster students’ understanding that the New Forest is a unique, precious and irreplaceable resource, and encourage a wish to conserve and sustain it for the benefit of their own and future generations.
  • To support teachers in helping students acquire transferable skills for investigation and research individually and in groups
  • To stimulate students’ interests in ways that may contribute to their career aspirations, and to help students clarify their immediate ambitions particularly with regard to potential pathways through further or higher education.

Entry Guidelines for Schools and Colleges

Subjects:
Any that has the New Forest explicitly as the focus for study, e.g. relating to its natural history, ecology, environment, conservation, society, commoning, history, archaeology, economy, forestry, farming, tourism, sport, recreation etc.

Eligibility:
The competition is intended to complement GCSE level geography, especially its field study components, both human and physical. However, any project work undertaken by students in Years 10 and 11 is eligible, irrespective of subject area, with the New Forest as its explicit focus.

The competition requires a minimum of 10 schools entering.

Format:
Competition entries normally will comprise group work. Entries may take the form of :
a) written reports of not more than 2000 words for each individual student submitted, or
b) an outline explanation of not more than 500 words accompanying other media, e.g. posters, photographs, maps, ‘Powerpoint’, etc. Teachers will be required to provide a brief written statement confirming the nature and scope of the guidance they have given.

Assessment:
Our assessment of a school’s submission will be based on:
a) relevance to the New Forest,
b) clear definition and justification for the study context,
c) ability to structure and explain the approach taken,
d) demonstrated literacy and numeracy, and
e) clarity of summary and conclusions.

The panel of assessors with relevant expertise will be drawn from the Council of the Association and chaired by Dr Keith Howe.

Incentives:
Award of a £1000 prize to the school/college submitting the best entry.
Individual students will receive certificates of attainment (distinction, merit, pass), and the best overall designated NFA Geographer of the Year.

Key dates:
•  Applicationsclosing date 5 June 2017

ENTER  enter online
pdf FORM  or download form
•  NFA receipt of project materialsclosing date, 25 July 2017
•  Result announced,
September 2017

Any questions:
Please contact Dr Keith Howe using the form below:


3d printing download

 

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Latest Improvements to NFA Map

The multi layered NFA map of the New Forest has been improved and now includes the 400 metre zone around the Special Protection Areas, Forest access points and heat maps around those points. Information tags have been associated with the new layers. Comments on the map to Graham Baker at nfaplanning@gmail.com would be welcomed. View the map here.

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The Wild Trout Trust and New Forest River Restorations

For some perspective on some of the issues raised by river restorations we contacted the Wild Trout Trust, themselves deliverers or partners in many river restoration projects addressing similar issues to those met by the Latchmore proposal.  As it turns out, they had made an advisory visit in September 2015; this was undertaken by their Conservation Officer, Mike Blackmore.

Their advisory visit programme is “very much focussed on identifying good and poor trout habitat and what can be done practically to make the poor good. Mike looked at a 1 km reach of the Brook and a 500m reach of a tributary, the Thompson’s Castle Stream.” 

Their key findings were:

  • Valuable wild trout habitat is under threat by the status quo condition of the Latchmore Brook and tributaries.
  • Channel incision and accelerated morphological processes as outlined by the JBA Consulting report and as observed during the site visit are limiting the abundance and quality of marginal habitat (important for freshwater invertebrates and juvenile trout). These factors are also likely to be significantly impacting the viability of spawning habitat in the main channel.
  • Reconnecting paleo-meanders will result in a net increase in habitat for wild trout (as a result of increased channel length) and is likely to help protect existing spawning habitat by reducing the rate of channel incision and the magnitude of cut and fill events.
  • The overall paucity of in-stream and low-level bankside woody habitat features significantly limit the abundance, diversity and quality of cover and refuge habitat for trout.
  • Habitat quality and diversity is being significantly reduced by over-grazing and bank poaching by livestock.
  • Further habitat enhancement, including tree planting and the introduction and retention of woody habitat features, will be required to provide a good quality and diverse habitat for wild trout.
  • Improvement in the wild trout population of the Latchmore Brook and the aquatic ecosystem upon which it is dependent will require a significant change in land management including improved protection of the riverbanks from grazing livestock.

Their conclusions recognize the problems with the status quo and acknowledge the benefits of the project to fish species and wildlife. They also suggest measures which would make the habitat optimal for trout species, promotion of stream shading scrub, and fencing to prevent livestock poaching scrub and vegetation bankside, which would fly in the face of traditional forest management, and would even restrict the amenity in ways to which even the protesters would object.  How would Forest users react to the sight of a fenced off stream, with access only through gates?

Scrub does vary over time, and we know that historically there has been, at times, little scrub along stretches of the stream on the open forest.  Even now, there is about a kilometre stretch with next to no riparian shade.  The Commoners often push for active scrub removal to create more grazing (The NFA will usually push for key nectar species to be left where possible), and of course the livestock themselves will have nibbles that hamper growth.  

So, neither the current stream nor the proposed change would be absolutely ideal for fish species, but here’s where the point is being missed by objectors’ narrow focus.  Habitats are complex.  What benefits some species may be detrimental to others.  The biodiverse rich habitat of the New Forest is not managed solely for any single species.  Scrub removal may warm some of the unshaded water, but this will benefit the Dragonflies, even if it narrows the tolerances for the fish.

Despite the insufficient scrub, both historically and at present, fish tolerate the conditions in the Brook.  Restoring the meanders will recreate the more natural morphology that benefits these species.  The claim that changing the stream will frighten away shy fish, is refuted by many the projects elsewhere aimed at wild fish habitat improvement which restore meanders (some other successful projects go even further and create meanders), including projects directed at fisheries (over 900 in the RRC database), and even more strikingly here in the New Forest, by the fish themselves.  Brown Trout were recorded spawning in a restored section at Harvestslade within three months of the completion of that project.

We thank the Wild Trout Trust for their permission to share their findings (particularly their director, Shaun Leonard who provided the bullet point summary quoted above), and for their candour and generosity in response to our queries.  We commend them for their fine works in implementing and promoting habitat restoration. According to Environment Agency monitoring, their upper Itchen project has produced a four-fold increase in trout biomass, compared to unimproved, control sites.

For further information on some of their projects, and ways to help, on the WTT website: http://www.wildtrout.org/content/projects-1. 

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Chalara Ash Dieback Reaches The New Forest

At tonight’s Consultative Panel, the Deputy Surveyor announced the first laboratory confirmed case of ash dieback within the New Forest National Park.  This was discovered in trees near Picket Post.

Chalara Ash Dieback is a disease caused by fungal infestation of Hymenoscyphus fraxineus.  This fungus originated in Asia, where it is benign to the native Ash species.  The disease was first identified in Europe as Chalara Fraxinea in Poland in 1992. It is devastating to European species of Ash, and is now firmly entrenched across mainland Europe.  2012 saw the first confirmed cases in the UK in a Buckinghamshire nursery in imported plants from the Netherlands.   East Anglia, Kent and Essex have had the highest concentration of cases so far, but the outbreak is spreading to the west, with cases in the wild in Wales, and past the Forest to Cranbourne Chase and further west in southern England.

The fungus produces tiny fruiting bodies on the leaf stalks of infected trees.  By the following summer these produce spores which spread to other trees via their leaves.  A slightly different form of the fungus then migrates into the branches and trunk where its mycellium interrupts the flow of water and nutrients, slowly starving the tree.

Little can be done about it, there is no treatment.  It kills small trees very quickly.  Mature trees may be severely weakened, then killed by secondary pathogens.  Some survive indefinitely in a weakened state, and there may be various degrees of resistance in these, although they remain infected carriers. The only active practical measure that may be taken, as the spores are spread in the leaf litter of infected trees, is basic biosecurity, clean your boots off between walks in different woodlands, limiting transport of, or treating wood harvested from infected trees, etc.

Small comfort, but the Forest landscape will be less impacted than much of the countryside, as Ash is less common on acid forest soils, typically present here in wet/riverine woodlands.  That does not reduce its threat to the overall biodiversity of the country, nor the potential impact on the forest’s habitat assemblies that include Ash.

One resistant tree has been identified in the UK, and several on the continent, which may support future propagation and DNA fingerprint tests for other resistant trees.  Panel Chair and botanist Clive Chatters observed that this is not as bad as Dutch Elm disease. That outbreak was exacerbated by the lack of genetic diversity in Elm (once intensively nursery produced), whereas in Ash in the wild “there is a vast amount of diversity”.  This diversity is important as the likelihood of extant resistant plants is increased. While the vector for the disease is in the leaves, on a typical Ash plantation it would be a nonsense to hoover them up, Clive noted that “in our wood pastures, where the Commoners turn out their stock, the stock hoover up all those leaves, particularly in the wet woodlands where they get in there this time of year, they’re absolutely hoovering up that fallen green. And I think the forest will be very interesting to monitor as a model for how things may cope in the future.”

Much more information about Chalara Ash Dieback, including how to report possible sightings, is available from this Forestry Commission page: http://www.forestry.gov.uk/ashdieback. 
A 2012 Episode of the BBC Radio 4 Programme The Long View contrasts Dutch Elm Disease and Ash Dieback .  And their programme from nature writer Richard Mabey, Mabey in the Wild of 3rd July 2013, featured a discussion of New Forest trees including Elm, Holly and Beech with Clive Chatters.

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Saving the New Forest – Book Launch

New Forest Association - The First 150 YearsA new book describing the history of the New Forest Association written by local historian Peter Roberts was launched at the New Forest Centre recently. ‘Saving the New Forest: New Forest Association – The First 150 Years’ does exactly what its title says and explains how a small group of people in the mid-nineteenth century became seriously worried at the steady increases year on year in the enclosure of land in the Forest for timber production, and in 1867 decided in very British fashion to set up an association to rescue it. In 1871 the government placed a Bill before Parliament ‘to disafforest the New Forest’, which would have left just 100 of the 60,000 acres for the Commoners to exercise their rights and for the public to enjoy. The book relates why this happened and how the New Forest Association, only the second conservation society to be set up in Britain, saved the New Forest for the nation. The book continues with the numerous campaigns to combat threats to the Forest over 150 years through to the present day, when the Association has re-branded itself as ‘the Friends of the New Forest’ in order to clarify its 21st century role to the public.

peter-signing-books

In introducing author Peter Roberts, John Ward who is the Chairman of Friends of the New Forest said:
Peter, who was my predecessor as Chairman and a former Verderer, is well-qualified to write such a book, as he has had a life-long commitment to the well-being of the Forest and has written a number of other books about aspects of it.”

Peter paid tribute to the founders of the Association, saying:
“On the back of my book I quote the late New Forest naturalist Colin Tubbs who said we owe an incalculable debt to those Victorian gentlemen who were adversaries of the Crown in the years before 1877.”

“Is there still a need for a New Forest Association? Well the founders thought not after 1877, at least until the military authorities wanted a range in the New Forest. But when subsequent threats have come, the Association has provided an umbrella organisation of people who cared passionately about the Forest and who were prepared to spend time and effort in protecting it. Undoubtedly the Forest would not exist as we know it today without the founders’ foresight and energy. There is also no doubt there will continue to be threats.”

Copies of the book may be obtained by sending a cheque made payable to the New Forest Association for £12.00 per copy including £2 postage and packing to:

NFA Book, 13 Brook Avenue North, New Milton BH25 5HE.

 

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