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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/

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.”

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.