It’s time to meet the local National Trust folks and check up on what’s been done and what is planned around our Commons.
The latest Newsletter is now online National Trust News
As the winter months draw in, the National Trust rangers turn their focus to the continuing major task of landscape scale tree planting at their heathland conservation site at Foxbury.
The project is part of a £2.89 million Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the ‘Our Past, Our Future’ Landscape Partnership Scheme , which aims to protect the New Forest’s heritage and wildlife for the future
Foxbury, near East Wellow, has seen dramatic changes over the last few years and more are set to change the landscapes once again. The ranger team have set ambitious plans to plant 26 hectares of native broadleaf woodland, a total of 22,000 trees by 2019. Last season NT rangers and volunteers planted over 4,000 trees.
Catherine Supple, the Area Ranger is leading the planting project and said: ‘We already know that the site used to hold native woodland, due to the presence of indicator flora such as Wood Spurge, Bluebells, Violets and Primrose. Our aim is to re-create naturally diverse woodland across the Southern and Eastern compartments of the site, to diversify Foxbury as a whole and create habitat for a wider array of species.
‘Sessile Oak, Common Alder and Sweet Chestnut are the main species selected for the area and at the end of the 5 years of planting Foxbury will be approximately 40% woodland and 60% heathland. Native Oak has the highest wildlife value of all of our British trees, It will support over 280 species of insect, which in turn supply many birds with an important food source. Alder grows really well in wet conditions and the Sweet chestnut is native to the site and ideal for coppicing.
‘We have planned a network of open woodland tracks which will provide more light and space for woodland flora, and attract even more butterfly species that already flourish here.’
The team will be out in force with their regular volunteers from the community, but are keen to extend the invitation wider.
Catherine said: ‘It’s an ambitious goal but many hands make light work. We are keen to reach 5,940 trees planted this winter, starting in December and we would love for others to drop in on the planting days and get involved. It’s a great way to make your mark on the landscape.’
The first date in the diary is Sunday 6th December. All three community planting dates are advertised via the National Trust New Forest website events page at nationaltrust.org.uk/newforest.
New Forest Northern Commons
The Walled Garden, Burgate Manor, Fordingbridge, Hampshire, SP6 1EF
Office: 01425 650035
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From Lee Hulin – National Trust
I’m sure that many of you are aware that areas to the South and East of Rockford Common are due for some tree felling and thinning. This is to focus on Turkey Oak trees around Bigsburn Hill and to include a thinning of Birch trees adjacent to Waterslade and across the Highwood area to the south of the Common. There will also be an area of scattered Pine thinned on the Eastern side of the boundary to the Common and the Crown land at Red Shoot Plain.
The work will commence in Mid-September by National Trust appointed contractors, Wessex Woodland Management with timber being stacked into the former gravel pit for onward travel. Lop and top will then be cleared and burnt so as to allow for movement of livestock and regeneration of heathland plants.
The area adjacent to Bigsburn Hill which will be cleared of Turkey Oak will see the edge Birch and Holly trees retained, the aim is to allow regeneration of this boundary scrub and woodland area to front onto the open heath of Bigsburn Hill.
Some trees will also require specialist removal, for example adjacent to boundaries or overhead lines; these will be carried out by Tree Surgeons.
I will be keeping a watching brief during the works which will include condition and maintenance of track ways, access and safety. Once the works are complete I will then be carrying out a full review of all ditches, tracks and barriers going forward.
It is anticipated this work will last for approximatly two months subject to weather and ground conditions.
Please do feel free to contact me at any time should you wish to meet or chat about any of the works, we will also be aiming to make firewood available to residents of the common should this be of interest.
The Walled Garden
Hampshire SP6 1EF
Tel: +44 (0)1425 650035
President: HRH The Prince of Wales
Chair of London and South East Committee: David Coleman
Director for London and South East: Nicola Briggs
Heelis, Kemble Drive, Swindon, Wiltshire SN2 2NA
Registered charity number 205846
New grants available to commoners in our area inc. Ibsley Common and Rockford Common
From Lee Hulin (Lead Ranger) Local National Trust