The scheme is led by the New Forest National Park Authority (NFNPA) with 10 other organisations and supported with a £2.8m grant by The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Why is the New Forest so important?
With an ancient commoning system granting rights to graze animals and gather firewood and peat, the New Forest is a unique landscape in lowland England.
The national park is of international value for nature conservation. It has an unusually high number of rare species of birds, mammals, invertebrates and plants.
Listed as Heritage at Risk, the area is suffering from:
- environmental issues (climate change, habitat fragmentation and deterioration in water quality)
- economic pressures (housing and energy development, reductions in funding and in land-based jobs)
- social challenges (decrease in traditional skills, recreation pressure and loss of connection with the natural environment)
What has changed since the start of the scheme?
- 21 projects have been rolled between October 2015 and March 2021, working to help nature, develop forest skills and inspire a new generation to conserve the national park.
- The connection between land, communities and local economy has been improved. Relationships with contractors, timber businesses and wood fuel suppliers have grown in strength, providing a profitable way for landowners to manage their woodlands.
- A feeling of achieving together has been fostered within the local community. Volunteers came together to improve 45 hectares of woodland across 11 sites.
- Woodlands are ideal places for people to learn and increase their overall wellbeing. A variety of groups have benefited from access to private woodlands including Above and Beyond, a charity which trained ex-military personnel in basic chainsaw skills.
- More than 21,000 wildlife sightings have been recorded in the New Forest, highlighting the huge success of habitat restoration efforts.
Our Past, Our Future: Working together for the New Forest.
A £4.4m scheme led by 11 partners working across 21 projects to restore lost habitats, develop forest skills and inspire a new generation to champion and care for the New Forest.
2015 to 2021
Heritage: 58 community projects
Habitats: 213 hectares restored
Wildplay: 3 sites set up
Groups and schools: 397 engaged
Commoning: 270,000 people learned about commoning
New Forest Knowledge website: 133,000 documents published
Volunteering: 2,000 volunteers; 77,000 hours
Training: 157 courses; 3230 people attended
Events: 789 held; 133,000 attended
Riverbank and hedgerows: 61km restored
Historic monuments: 108 restored