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New Forest National Park Joins Ancient Tree Hunt

The New Forest National Park Authority and the Forestry Commission are adding their resources to bring the New Forest into the Ancient Tree Hunt project. The goal of the Ancient Tree Hunt is to map our heritage of trees. The project began in 2004 as a joint partnership between the Ancient Trees Forum and the Tree Register of the British Isles. Now with the Woodland Trust on board, and some Heritage Lottery Fund money, the project is spreading throughout the UK.

Volunteers armed with GPS locators and measuring tape will be helping to survey trees in the New Forest. Forester Harry Oram will be training the first set of volunteers at Queen’s House in mid-May.

The NFA looks forward to the results of the survey. It will be a great boon to have the wonderful trees of our Ancient and Ornamental woodlands recorded for future research and preservation.

More info: http://www.ancient-tree-hunt.org.uk/

Retail Van for Campsites Causes Concern

The Verderers have issued a press release:

FOREST HOLIDAYS RETAIL VAN

The Forestry Commission has made a formal submission to the Verderers in relation to its desire to operate a mobile shop that will visit all of its campsites in the Forest.

The Verderers regard this proposal as one that clearly requires their consent under the New Forest Acts, and they have thus invited the Forestry Commission to make a presentment of its own at the May Verdeiers’ Court giving full details of its plans.

The Verderers will then wait until the June Court to hear any presentments from the public, following which they will make a decision.

The Official Verderer said “There is still a lot of detail about this proposal that needs to be revealed and we hope the Forestry Commission will provide this at our May Court. We would like to hear the public’s views on the proposals and our June court provides that opportunity”.

This follows on from a presentment made by the New Forest Commoners Defence Association in the April Verderers Court. The NFCDA expressed concern that the mobile shop, along with an alleged “permanent camp places” provision, “smacks of a Center Parcs theme.”

The NFA are worried that this move by Forest Holidays represents a further commercialisation of the campsites and will have a negative impact on local businesses which are very dependent on the tourist trade. The NFA will be seeking further information before answering the Forestry Commission’s presentment in the June Verderers Court.

Verderers Frown on Early Campsite Openings

Despite warnings from the Verderers, Forest Holidays have opened their New Forest campsites before the agreed upon date for the second year running. The current agreement states that campsites should not open before the Thursday before Easter Bank Holiday.

The full announcement from the Official Verderer in today’s Court is as follows:

“Forest Campsites:

Almost exactly one year ago we received an unequivocal assurance from the Deputy Surveyor that campsites in the Forest will open only on the agreed date, which is the Thursday before the Easter Bank Holiday Weekend. Last year, the campsites opened earlier than that date, without any notice or prior agreement with ourselves. Having received that assurance we were satisfied that this would not happen again. To our astonishment and considerable dismay the campsites once again have opened early, and we will be seeking a full explanation for this from the Deputy Surveyor when we meet in committee this morning.”

Forest Holidays, which was set up in May 2006, is a public private partnership between the Forestry Commission and The Camping and Caravanning Club. While last year’s “mistake” was perhaps more forgiveable in Forest Holiday’s first full year of operation in the New Forest, we can only guess what their excuse is this time. Perhaps they were thrown with last year’s Easter falling in March.

Studley Castle Update

In the March Verderers Court, the NFA made a presentment expressing dismay over the damage done to the Studley Castle Scheduled Ancient Monument by Forestry Commission Contractors. The NFA asked the Verderers to press the Forestry Commission to put better procedures in place to avoid future damage to the precious archaeological heritage of the Forest. In response, the Verderers have passed our concerns to the Deputy Surveyor, Mike Seddon.

As announced by the Official Verderer at today’s April 2009 court, “Mr Seddon agreed that this was a serious incident that was caused by lack of communication.” The Official Verderer continued, “Clearly procedures need to be tightened up; the Deputy Surveyor has agreed that this will be done.”

Easter Camping Figures for Hollands Wood

The New Forest Association have been provided with unofficial estimated figures of the number of pitches used at the Hollands Wood campsite over the Easter Holiday weekend:


Caravans &#160&#160&#160&#160 74 &#160&#160&#160 18% of total


Motorhomes &#160&#160 50 &#160&#160&#160 12% of total


Tents&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160 290 &#160&#160&#160 70% of total


Total&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160&#160 414

It should be noted that the Hollands Wood campsite is in an Ancient and Ornamental Woodland and bears close monitoring. On the upside the surveyor noted no encroachment beyond the boundaries. On the downside the surveyor also witnessed a pony eating the remains of a barbeque.

Conservation Areas Reviewed for Fritham and Burley

In today’s New Forest National Park Authority meeting, the Authority designated revised boundaries for the existing Fritham and Burley Conservation Areas. The most significant change was the addition of Eyeworth to the Fritham Conservation Area.

The New Forest Association supports these changes which will help preserve the character of these areas in the heart of the New Forest.

Verderers Help Secure Funding For Campsite Survey

At today’s Verderers Court the Official Verderer announced that the funding has been put into place for the the New Forest Campsite Baseline Survey. This survey was first suggested in a presentment from the NFA in last October’s court. Subsequently, the NFA pledged to provide half the funding (£9,000), and the Verderers would seek the remainder. The Verderers also noted contributions from Forest Holidays, the New Forest Commoners Defence Association, and the New Forest Trust. The New Forest National Park Authority have offered £3,500, and an additional £1,500 nominal contribution “in kind” assistance with digital mapping technology.

The Official Verderers went on to thank the NFA for putting up half the cash, and for providing all of the day to day project management.

Once completed it will be an integral tool for future detailed monitoring of the configuration and condition of the campsites. It will be key in insuring that future management of the campsites will comply with The survey will be of great use to the Verderers, Forest Holidays, the Forestry Commission, Natural England, and the National Park Authority in ensuring that the future maintenance of the campsites is done sensitively and appropriately and complies with the New Forest Acts.

The Association would like to thank the Verderers for their ongoing support for the survey.

Damage to Studley Castle

The NFA made a presentment today in the March Verderers Court, decrying the damage done by Forestry Commission contractors to Studley Casle, a Scheduled Ancient Monument, site of one of Edward III medieval hunting lodges. The Verderers were asked to pursue the Forestry Commission to put into place sound procedures to avoid future incidents which may further damage the Forest’s heritage and archaeology.

One member of the NFA council has likened the incident to “backing a lorry into Stonehenge”.

Apart from the damage to Studley Castle itself, the sheer level of mess and damage left behind by the contractors at this site in Isles Thorns Enclosure is appalling. The area is still a complete mess, and a hazard to all forest users.

Further info about Studley Castle.

New Forest Association AGM

The 2009 New Forest Association’s Annual General Meeting will take place at Minstead Village Hall on Saturday 25th April at 10:30 am. In addition to the usual agenda items, Clive Chatters, the New Forest National Park Authority Chairman, will be a featured speaker on the current status and progress of the Park.

The day will also include an optional after lunch field trip, looking at the issues surrounding fallen deadwood on the crown lands.