Environment

Swans and cygnets on pond

New Forest Code and guidelines for visitors updated for 2023

Planning to visit the New Forest this summer?

Welcome! Plan ahead and respect our beautiful and fragile National Park.

Swans and cygnets on pondUpdate June 2023 

As we enjoy the long days of summer, soon after sunrise and just before sunset are arguably the most special times to see the New Forest at its utterly beautiful best.

It's pretty good in between times as well though!

We are all pleased and proud that an ever increasing number of visitors wants to come and share our wonderful National Park - and it's great for New Forest businesses.

We urge visitors please to seek out the local independents, to buy New Forest Marque and other local produce, and support our independent shops and eateries to give you a real taste of the Forest while supporting National Park communities.

The Forest is fragile, its rare wildlife must be protected and then visitors and residents alike can continue to enjoy it.

Below is some helpful information to guide you as to what we mean, meanwhile if you don't already receive it please do sign up for our free weekly e-newsletter about which subscribers send us appreciative feedback weekly too

 
 
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Updated rules for 2023: feeding/petting ponies and the use of barbecues banned

This summer, local people and visitors are being encouraged to make sure they know about new measures in the New Forest to ensure they have a safe and enjoyable time here.

Two new Public Space Protection Orders (PSPOs) have been introduced by New Forest District Council supported by Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers of the New Forest. The use of BBQs and fires in the Forest and feeding and petting ponies or donkeys are all banned, with those failing to comply liable to a fixed penalty fine or prosecution.

Their introduction follows repeated fire damage to the Forest caused by campfires and BBQs, and the growing risk of wildfires due to increasingly hotter and drier conditions. The PSPO bans the lighting of fires of any type including BBQs and any outdoor cooking facilities or equipment. It also makes it an offence to place, throw or drop items likely to cause a fire such as lit cigarettes.

Concern over the safety of the public and Forest animals, following injuries to the people and animal deaths resulting from being fed human food, created the need to better manage public interactions with these free-roaming animals. The PSPO relating to this activity bans feeding and petting ponies or donkeys on the Forest.  

Teams from Forestry England, the New Forest National Park Authority and the Verderers of the New Forest will be patrolling and engaging with the public to explain more about the new rules. Signs and information will be in place across the Forest. Along with other key things to know about visiting the area, the new rules will also be highlighted in the New Forest Code, widely publicised across the area and shared by local tourism businesses with many visitors before and during their stay.  

The new orders apply from 1 July and where necessary can be enforced by issuing fixed penalty notices of £100, a sum which can rise to £1,000 following a successful prosecution.

The New Forest Code introduced two years ago request us all please to:

  • Keep your distance from the animals - don't feed or touch them

  • Take home litter and dog waste

  • No fires or barbecues

  • donkeys beside the pondKeep dogs under control. Don't let dogs approach or chase any animals

  • Park only in car parks

  • No wild camping

  • Stick to the permitted cycle tracks

  • Drive with care - animals on the road!

  • Help wildlife by keeping to the main tracks

Gavin Parker, Chairman of the New Forest National Park Authority, said:

"Abiding by the New Forest code will help ensure that the environment of the Forest stays in good shape and that the life and work of this special place prospers."

People can further help nature and reduce their carbon footprint by walking, cycling and using the New Forest Tour as much as possible when in the park.

 

NEW FOREST CODE updated 2023

Lymington: Georgian market town and famous yachting centre

You will almost certainly want to visit the Georgian market town (market Saturdays) and Solent sailing mecca of Lymington while you are in the New Forest. In its sheltered position on the western bank of the beautiful Lymington river it's been an important settlement since the Iron Age. For many years Lymingtonians have made their living from the sea or the river - as boatbuilders, fishermen, sailors and in past centuries as salt workers and even smugglers! Nowadays it's a highly desirable town in which to live and with its bustling Quay, alleyways to explore, many independent shops and eateries and the brilliant St Barbe New Forest Museum and Art Gallery it has lots to offer to the visitor. Do sign up for our free Lymington.com Weekly What's On! See above!  

litter picker

Calling litter pickers for New Forest Spring Clean 28 May - 13 June

Calling all willing litter pickers!

New Forest Spring Clean 28 May - 13 June is calling for volunteer litter pickers to join the Great British Spring Clean campaign

litter pickerVolunteer litter pickers who are willing to help clean up their community are being urged to take part in this year’s New Forest Spring Clean.

 
 

The initiative, part of the wider Great British Spring Clean campaign running 28th May to 13th June, is being organised locally by New Forest District Council, Forestry England, the National Park Authority, Hampshire County Council, National Trust and the Verderers.

NFDC’s cabinet member for people and places, Cllr David Russell, said: “We all have a responsibility to keep our surroundings clean and tidy. Litter is not just an eyesore, it is a danger to people and wildlife and is costly to clean up. The council will lend equipment for groups of up to 30 volunteers. We are lucky to have enthusiastic volunteers looking out for the New Forest, and as restrictions are lifting, we are keen to support people’s efforts to clean up our district safely. Whether you want to clean up at your park, town, beach or forest, we can help you by supplying the equipment you need and collecting the rubbish you pick up.”

The council is offering to lend equipment for groups of up to 30 volunteers, including grabbers and hi-vis vests for organised litter picking events. They will also supply rubbish sacks and arrange to collect the waste after the litter pick.

New Forest National Park Ambassadors

Families and individuals can also get free litter picking equipment and advice by signing up to the national park’s scheme to become New Forest "ambassadors".

NPA chairman Gavin Parker said: “Any litter left in our national park can be a problem. It can start wildfires and can kill commoners' animals and wildlife and pollute the waterways.

"We’d like to thank our ambassadors and all the other groups such as Litter Pickers of the New Forest, Team Totton and Copythorne Parish Pickers who have tirelessly litter-picked throughout the year." 

Families, communities and businesses all invited to join

He added: “We are calling on more families, communities and businesses to join this concerted effort to help us to clean up the Forest this spring.”

Cllr Russell added: “Please remember that your personal safety must always come first. If you are planning a clean-up, please get permission from the landowner and follow our health and safety guidance to make sure you and your volunteers stay safe on your litter pick.”

To get involved and find out more visit www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/nfambassadors or www.newforest.gov.uk/litterpicking

 

Sailing yacht and dolphin cartoon
Featured

Mark and Hugh muse over the marvels of Cetaceans in the Solent

Momentous moonlit meeting with Cetaceans

Mark and Hugh go to sea, find dolphins in the Solent and reflect on related subjects

Mark and Hugh signoff 600x400This week Mark and Hugh go to sea, have an amazing close encounter with dolphins and consider some of the ramifications for us all.

(For those like me who have to look up the exact meaning of the word cetacean here you go from Wikipedia: "Cetaceans are aquatic mammals constituting the infraorder Cetacea. There are around 89 living species, which are divided into two parvorders. The first is the Odontoceti, the toothed whales, which consist of around 70 species, including the dolphin, porpoise, beluga whale, narwhal, sperm whale, and beaked whale.")

A rare moonlit glimpse into the undersea world.

I had an idea back in 2014 when I was newly retired. House prices in England were, and still are, criminally out of reach for the majority, (the older generation are certainly lucky in this respect). In order to try to make a new home, a new start as it were, I suggested to my wife that we take my yacht to France and cruise the canals; just to see what came along. Despite her concerns she agreed and soon we found ourselves, with another knowledgeable and experienced crew member, sailing from Hythe Marina headed for Le Havre.

It was to be a night crossing which would mean arriving in the unfamiliar port of Le Havre in daylight which is vitally important. Entering a familiar port at night is a daunting task but to try the same with an unfamiliar one is a recipe for disaster. That is why insurance companies will not insure you for night sailing. It’s dangerous. We left Hythe Marina at around 1700 and when we rounded Bembridge on the east side of the Isle of Wight we encountered a horrible sea which pitched the boat this way and that. My wife soon felt ill, but, to her credit, she saw sense and simply went below and found herself a safe and comfy place where she soon fell fast asleep. My crew went below at midnight leaving me alone at the helm to enjoy the clear star-studded skies with a bright moon almost dead ahead. As I fastidiously maintained my watch, alternating my attention between the navigation lights of approaching ships, the heading, engine temperature, oil pressure and staying alert, my wife reappeared. I remember this as if it were yesterday. It was 0145 and after a short hug we settled to enjoy the serene vista.

I jerked my head to the right as I saw a large black fin which had suddenly surfaced menacingly just to starboard and then, just as quickly, disappeared. Were we to be eaten alive? Were we trespassing! Had my wife seen this? Was my life insurance up to date?

A moment later she saw the same and of course, they were just dolphins, playing; we would survive the night. There was a pod of about twenty, some to starboard, some to port and others playing in the bow wave. After five minutes or so and without any apparent signal they simply disappeared and once again we were alone. I remember saying to her as she stared open mouthed at the display, “How many of your friends have experienced this? This is how your bravery has been rewarded”. We have absolutely no idea where they came from or where they went to. It was a delightful experience.

The social side of life.

In 2017 a family were surprised to see a dolphin swimming in the river Medina which runs through the sailing village of Cowes on the Isle of Wight. Three of the party jumped into the water where, to their amazement the dolphin came so close that they were able to stroke the creature. Dear reader, this is the type of activity that is normally only available to squillionaires and typically takes place in a fictional tabloid holiday dream land called Unobtania. To experience this in the Solent, on the Medina if you please, is really something special. I did read whilst doing my research that an expert said that the creature was probably lost and alone and craved social attention. Some experts recommend that we stay away, that these creatures are potentially dangerous and harbour diseases. Don’t you just love experts sometimes? If this family had heeded the warnings then this lonely dolphin, thought to be a bottlenose, might not have had the social experience it appeared to crave. Yes, there are risks and there is a possibility of transmission of diseases in either direction. However, there is risk in life and we make judgements almost every day. In my book the family made a reasoned assessment, took a small chance and were rewarded handsomely for their actions.

Mercury, not the planet, the pollutant.

Unfortunately, we humans tend to have a poor track record of protecting our marine life. Large water companies in the UK are still allowed to run outdated treatment plants that cannot cope with heavy rain. Today’s laws presently allow these apparently prosperous monopolies to dump the overflow of human waste into our rivers. Surely this is unacceptable and our government ought to act more quickly and positively. Well done to Feargal Sharkey, the singer, for highlighting this matter in the national press. Incidentally, it might be worth looking up the topic on line as there are many rivers, particularly our own River Test, that are directly affected. Landowners have every right to complain that their hobby of fly fishing on their particular stretch of river has been adversely affected. Those who own houses that back onto the river and rent the bank to fishermen also have the right to feel aggrieved. But, should we less fortunate folk feel nervous about water quality? Surely, we ought to be able to watch our grandchildren paddle in local rivers without fear of a spiteful water borne infection entering the child’s body through a small scratch.

Dolphins, which are at the top of their particular food chain, can tell us how much mercury is entering our rivers and coastal waters. The consumption of fish by this apex predator leads to the deposition of mercury in their blubber, samples of which when taken by scientists can reveal the environmental damage that we humans continue to create. Commerce will only ever be reined in by regulation.

Sorry, I missed that, could you squeak it again?

I have found it fascinating that whilst researching this topic, various statements appeared to be vague and seemingly non-factual. I found myself reading so many ‘it is thought’ and ‘it is assumed that’ phrases that I thought I was watching a government Covid briefing. I must say though that I find this news very refreshing. The fact that we know more about our new mobile phones than we do of the world’s oceans and the creatures within is something that I find comforting. There are apparently still mysteries out there, not in space but right here in our very own waters.

Experts tell us that dolphins communicate in a similar manner to bats in that they use sonar reflection. Apparently, we humans invented this in WW2 in order to ascertain the location of submarines deep beneath the surface. Aren’t we clever? Dolphins make a squeak noise to communicate with others but a sharp click to employ their innate sonar reflection capability. Again, this is mostly supposition. It is a common statistic that more people have successfully climbed Mount Everest than have travelled to the bottom of the seas. We appear to be woefully ignorant of our oceans and its denizens.

Journey’s end and beginning.

After the thought-provoking encounter with the pod of dolphins our journey continued without any further drama. Le Havre became our home for the next week. Our crew accepted the offer of a free ticket home and suddenly we were in France with the canal network ahead of us. Foreign territory. I often think of that pod of dolphins and wonder if they have a foreign territory? Perhaps the sea is all theirs and let me tell you, that’s a lot of territory.

Sailing yacht and dolphin cartoon

More tales and cartoons for Lymington and the New Forest from Mark and Hugh

If you enjoy these skilfully told tales and cartoons and you don't already receive our Weekly What's On e-newsletter do sign up to receive it on Friday mornings! 

 
 
 

Meanwhile, if you'd like to read previous articles on diverse subjects written by Mark and illustrated by Hugh's cartoons here they are, click the links embedded in the titles:

Trees and what they tell us
Cartography and trig pillars

Pony drifts and pannage in the New Forest
A journey from the New Forest via Lymington
The brilliance - and persistence - of Marconi

Equality in the skies
Bees pollinators par excellence 
Cordless home entertainment

The joy of sheds

When the Isle of Wight was just Wight
Bucklers Hard

Salisbury Cathedral 
Pond Life in our Forests 
Bombs Away 
Baileys Hard 
Rufus Stone and Sir Walter Tyrrell
Graffiti through the ages
Freedom of the roads
Heath fires
Lymington Lido
Watch the birdie
Unstoppable momentum of nature
Socially distanced socialising
Calshot Spit, a curse for mariners...

 

Seed characters in garden cartoon
Featured

Seeds of success in the New Forest by Mark and Hugh

Seeds of success

Mark and Hugh sow seeds of various kinds in the New Forest and report on the results

Mark and Hugh signoff 600x400This week Mark and Hugh observe how seeds of many kinds ingeniously survive and prosper - culminating with another of Hugh's witty and topical cartoons.

Seeds of success. How plants prosper despite our worst efforts

The wonderful David Attenborough with his insatiable thirst for knowledge recently found himself with the latest high-tech camera which had the most amazing magnification. The enormous contraption was mounted on a sturdy tripod with a lens that was positioned a very short distance from the subject. He was observing some woodlice in the most incredible and never seen before close-up detail. The tiny mother could be seen caring for her microscopic young, fussing over them, cleaning and grooming. He commented that almost all creatures shared the same aims. That was to make a home, find food to eat and to create offspring. However, plants of all shapes and sizes have no choice of where they find themselves living. Having no mouth, they don’t eat but they take their energy from the soil and the sun. Despite these differences they do create offspring. Ask any gardener and they will tell you that keeping unwanted plants at bay is one of the hardest tasks.

And some fell on stony ground.

The inspiration for this article is the thistle. I am doing voluntary work at a farm where the fields are covered with these determined plants.  Each thistle head contains a hundred or so seeds in a tightly packed ball. Each tiny seed has a hooked tip (which apparently was the inspiration for Velcro). If you are careless enough to walk within, ooh say a metre of them they will seemingly leap out and sink their hooks into whatever you are wearing. It really is astonishing how tightly they grip. Bootlaces seem to be a particular favourite. Whilst picking these tenacious seeds off one day I got to thinking. What a perfect strategy! First attach yourself to a passing body with tiny dual-role hooks. It’s first objective is to grip; it’s second is to irritate. Once the seed is a reasonable distance from the host plant the aggravated creature will rid itself of said hooks. The seed has achieved free transport to a new breeding ground.

The ubiquitous oak and for good reason.

Do you know how many acorns a large oak produces in a good year? It’s estimated at ten thousand! These seeds are highly nutritious and as such they are very popular with many animals. It’s well known that forest ponies can eat some but not too many, pigs however thrive on the things. Some years an oak will produce a huge harvest of acorns, other years much less. The reasons for these fluctuations are unknown and they certainly are no indicators of weather to come. Plants cannot forecast weather; some would argue that nor can our weather forecasters.

Saplings that start life beneath a huge oak might never get the sunlight they need to thrive. Other saplings will have their top shoots nibbled by deer which will kill them. The molars of pigs and ponies will grind down the seeds rendering them useless, it’s not easy for seeds and saplings. In order to succeed the oak needs help from those that store the acorns in a winter larder. Squirrels are the friend of the oak in that they take the seed a decent distance from the parent tree, bury it and then forget the location. This is a perfect start in life for the young oak in that it is safely hidden from the eyes of ponies and pigs and far away from the life sapping shadow of the parent.

Life’s a beech man.

The pannage season which is officially referred to as the Right to Mast allows commoners of the New Forest to release their pigs onto the forest. The seeds that the roaming pigs devour are beech mast and acorns as well as crab apples. I once saw a very poignant black and white photograph of a family of WW2 refugees in a forest somewhere who were collecting beech mast to eat. These days we throw food away, sometimes unwrapped. How times change. For the foragers amongst you there is nutrition to be had from acorns. They need to be soaked in water in order to leech out the tannin but once prepared they can be roasted to make a snack or ground down to make flour.

The beauty of flight.

As a woodworker I know full well that the sycamore provides the very best wood for chopping boards as the fine grain is easily cleaned and holds few germs. The saplings of this tree are strong enough to grow beneath the canopy of the parent. For a while there was a fad for ‘sycamore bashing’ where groups of people would destroy as many of these trees as possible. The tree was considered a pest and people decided it should be rid of. How very odd. Needless to say, the sycamore has survived these feeble efforts.

Under the coole shade of a Siccamore

 I thought to close mine eyes some halfe an houre,’

 wrote Shakespeare in Love’s Labour’s Lost in 1598.

Regular readers will know that, like Shakespeare, I am inherently lazy. Perhaps we should take a minute to consider the minor miracle that is the wing shape of the sycamore seed. How in the name of all that is rational did a humble tree manage to ‘accidentally’ create a winged seed?  As most of you know I am in awe of nature but where, what, who, when came the inspiration for a winged seed? I’ll tell you this, nature truly is a mystery. These perfectly formed wing shapes allow the seed to descend slowly to the ground. On a still day they will fall more or less directly below the parent which is not ideal. However, on a breezy day these seeds can really travel.

She loves me, she loves me not.

Love struck teenagers are responsible for some good work. They have spread seeds far and wide as they ask the humble dandelion of their prospects. Here we have another mystery in that these seeds are suspended beneath an almost perfect parachute. In a decent wind these seeds can travel enormous distances although as far as I can see the exact distance isn’t recorded. These populous plants are some of the spring’s earliest nectar bearers for pollinators. Like daisies and many others the flower closes at night and then re-opens in the morning. How anthropomorphic?

Burn baby burn.

We all know of the controlled burning across heathland which is carried out on a regular basis. This benefits the heathland enormously. The burn is carried out in small areas only. The burning team wait for a time when the peat is wet but the plants are dry. This means that seeds on and below the peat will survive. Controlled heath fires are often started downwind, that is to say that the fire has to burn towards the wind, not with it. This burning clears the ground and destroys parasites promoting new and fresh growth. The Masai tribe have known this for years by the way and despite being forbidden to carry out the practice in the newly named African national park continue to do so. Their stock craves the fresh plant growth. Administrators in shiny new offices might not appreciate this, but there we are.

The typical heath fire which is almost always started by a mindless arsonist will normally take place in the height of summer when the peat is bone dry guaranteeing maximum damage. In addition, the fire will be driven by winds and attain speeds far in excess of that attainable by fleeing creatures. I’m sure you are aware of this but please do be careful when the heath is dry. Fires can take days to extinguish.

Persistence personified.

Despite my new found vigilance in skirting at least a kilometre around any of the cursed thistles I still return home to find the blessed things all over me. Patiently I pick them off and drop them to the ground. This means that the clever seeds have once again achieved their aim. Isn’t nature both clever and annoying.

Seed characters in garden cartoon

More tales and cartoons for Lymington and the New Forest from Mark and Hugh

If you enjoy these skilfully told tales and cartoons and you don't already receive our Weekly What's On e-newsletter do sign up to receive it on Friday mornings! 

 
 
 

Meanwhile, if you'd like to read previous articles on diverse subjects written by Mark and illustrated by Hugh's cartoons here they are, click the links embedded in the titles:

Moonlit meeting with cetaceans 
Trees and what they tell us
Cartography and trig pillars

Pony drifts and pannage in the New Forest
A journey from the New Forest via Lymington
The brilliance - and persistence - of Marconi

Equality in the skies
Bees pollinators par excellence 
Cordless home entertainment

The joy of sheds

When the Isle of Wight was just Wight
Bucklers Hard

Salisbury Cathedral 
Pond Life in our Forests 
Bombs Away 
Baileys Hard 
Rufus Stone and Sir Walter Tyrrell
Graffiti through the ages
Freedom of the roads
Heath fires
Lymington Lido
Watch the birdie
Unstoppable momentum of nature
Socially distanced socialising
Calshot Spit, a curse for mariners...

 

Excalibur

Pond life in the New Forest

Pond life in our forests

Reflections concerning Hatchet and lesser known ponds in the New Forest 

Mark and Hugh writer and cartoonistThis week's musings by Mark with cartoon by Hugh

Read on below but first if you don't already receive our Weekly What's On e-newsletter sign up here! 

 
 
 

Water. The stuff of life.

We humans are made up of about sixty percent water. We can survive for weeks without food but just days without water. The sun is both our friend and enemy, on a hot day it can drive us crackers with thirst.

(At the time of writing, life-saving waterholes, sometimes referred to as pubs are also imminently open - wonderful news indeed!)

We need to be grateful too because as everyone knows, the sun creates the clouds and then the gift of rain that gives us our rivers, streams and ponds.   When I lived in Singapore there were public health notices everywhere exhorting us to place a drop of oil on any standing water. The thin film would prevent mosquito larvae from breathing and consequently reduce the incidence of the deadly malaria. Thankfully we don’t need to do the same here but, if you take a careful look at the shallows of a Forest pond, you will almost certainly see the tell-tale flick-flack motion of a mosquito larva as it makes its way from the safety of the murky bottom towards the surface for air.  

Aquatic life in our Forest. There’s more to ponds than just somewhere to feed the ducks.

Our lovely Forest is dotted with ponds, some of which are easily accessible, others less so. Possibly the most well-known and certainly the most popular, is Hatchet Pond. The other weekend there were many swimmers and canoeists having a lovely time both in and on the water. Ice creams were licked, ducks and swans fed and suntans topped up.  

Personally, I went for a walk to one of the lesser known ponds which is a short walk from the Royal Oak at Hilltop. It was deserted and I was greeted by utter silence; I find it incredibly calming to stop and stare for a while with just nature for company. I sat in the welcome shade of a small copse of stunted trees at the water’s edge, nearby was a crumpled reflective collar of the type worn by ponies. Clearly this was a stopping point for more than the occasional solitary human.

There was no ice cream van.

 I always find that once I have stopped, when I have put the map away and taken the weight off my feet, that’s when I begin to see and hear the insects. They were all around the water, hovering above it, skating upon or swimming in it.

Consider the incredible dragonfly. They’ve been around for a while; fossils show that they were flying on this earth of ours around three hundred million years ago. This beats the dinosaurs by one hundred million and birds by one hundred and fifty million. Its eggs hatch into larvae which then live under water for around two years; up to five in colder waters.

Then at some signal, unknown to us feeble humans, the larva climbs a reed and incredibly, doesn’t suffocate! This creature which has for the past few years lived underwater is suddenly able to breathe air! It then slowly emerges from its ugly outer sheath to become a delicate and diaphanous dragonfly, if you happen to see a creature perched, seemingly immobile on a reed at the edge of a pond, perhaps stop for a bit, you might be witness to this incredible transformation.

Suddenly, a pond dwelling, gill breathing, bottom feeder more used to crawling around in silty pond mud, turns, as if by magic, into a darting, iridescent (and if you’re a mosquito, deadly) beauty. Not bad for a morning’s work. When watching these creatures fly, (sometimes at speeds in excess of forty miles per hour) I often wonder if they were the inspiration for a certain Igor Sikorsky, the man who invented the helicopter.

Cleanliness is next to Godliness; well it is for our plants and insects.

One of our lesser known ponds is inaccessible as it’s in someone’s garden. Actually a spring, it is the source of the Beaulieu River. If you study an Ordnance Survey map closely, you’ll get pretty close to it.  

We are very fortunate because the vast majority of our Forest ponds are unpolluted and it’s a shame that many others, outside our region, are not so clean. The sad fact is that pollution is almost always driven by human activity and there isn’t a great deal of that in our Forest. This does mean though that we have some rather rare fauna and flora, the Fairy Shrimp is found in only a handful of other locations in the UK. The Tadpole Shrimp is rarer still. When ponds are full these creatures lay drought-proof eggs, when the ponds dry up, these eggs lie dormant in the mud until the rain arrives. Soon after they hatch these tiny and rare creatures quickly lay again and the cycle is repeated. I don’t know about you but I’ll never look at a dried-up pond in the same way again. There is flora here in the Forest ponds that is so sensitive to pollution that in other parts of the UK it has completely disappeared. These plants are so rare! Perhaps the next time you see something growing at the edge of a Forest pond, try to identify it. You might just find that it can’t be found anywhere outside our Forest. How special is that?

Excalibur

As for the cartoon which as always was photographed and designed in magnificent style by Hugh; he was stood facing North East. The location of the pond is 199022, enjoy!

Lymington and Pennington Town Flower Festival

Lymington and Pennington Flower Festival 2020

Growing fingers and cameras to the ready!

Final reminder for this year's Lymington and Pennington Flower Festival - online festival of flowers for a previously locked down community with time to garden!

Entries close 31 July!

lym penn flower fest 2019 pot hanging basket winner lym ce infant school This year’s flower festival theme is VE Day 75 or Lockdown Inspiration:  Lymington and Pennington Town Council invites you to take part in 2020’s Lymington and Pennington Flower Festival, to celebrate the natural beauty in our area.

Competition Open: 01 June 2020 – 31 July 2020

Last year's winners to inspire you

Last year's winning entries pictured here include

Category: Pot / Hanging Basket - Gold Winner: Lymington C of E Infant School

Category: Bed - Gold Winner: Tony Silver

Category: Wildlife & Environment - Gold Winner: Graham Wiffen

Who can participate?

This competition is open to everyone in Lymington and Pennington: residents, businesses, organisations, schools, clubs, shops, care homes etc...

lym penn flower fest 2019 bed winner tony silver Image elements/ subject matter

Your image could be of a window box, school project, hanging basket, a pot, flower bed, front/back garden, vegetable patch, allotment, public space, wildflower meadow, natural landscape etc.

The categories

Gold, Silver Gilt, Silver & Bronze certificates will be awarded to VE Day 75 and Lockdown Inspiration themed entries.

How to enter

Step 1: Take a photograph of your chosen display.

Step 2: Complete the ‘Lymington and Pennington Flower Festival 2020 Entry Form’ (available via the Town Council’s website)

Step 3: Email your photograph and entry form to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or post to Lymington and Pennington Town Council, Town Hall, Avenue Road, Lymington SO41 9ZG.

Please note, this is not a photographic competition, the subject of the image will be judged.lym penn flower fest 2019 wildlife environment winner graham wiffen min 600

Closing date

Entries must be submitted no later than 31 July 2020.

Judging

The Mayor, Deputy Mayor and guest horticultural experts from Otter Nurseries and Everton Nurseries will judge all submissions.

The results

Results will be published in late August with entries displayed on social media, the Town Council’s website and local press.

The prizes

Winners will receive a certificate and Gold Winners will receive an Otters Nurseries voucher / Everton Nurseries voucher.

For more information about Lymington and Pennington Flower Festival 2020, visit www.lymingtonandpennington-tc.gov.uk

David Bellamy OBE and Shorefield Holidays Lymington New Forest
Featured

Shorefield Holidays New Forest remembering David Bellamy OBE

New Forest tribute to David Bellamy OBE, botanist and vivid broadcaster of his times

Shorefield Holidays country park near Lymington is also dedicated to the environment and wildlife and wants to pay tribute to his environmental vision

David Bellamy OBE at Shorefield HolidaysSome of us remember David Bellamy well from his days of fame and see also below.  

Shorefield Country Park is now paying tribute to the late, great naturalist who died last December, with a special plaque and tree planting on Tuesday 17 March. Do go along on the 17th if you can, details will be posted on the Lymington.com Events Calendar in the next few days.

Shorefield Holidays and the David Bellamy Conservation Scheme

The family-run holiday park close to the Milford on Sea clifftop near Lymington in the New Forest, has long been recognised by the David Bellamy Conservation Scheme for its dedication to the environment and wildlife, receiving the Gold accolade for over 20 years.

Lesley Lawrence, Marketing Director at Shorefield Holidays, said: “We were deeply saddened to receive the news of the passing of David, whose Conservation Scheme has done so much important work.

David Bellamy OBE planting a tree at Shorefield Country Park“Having been involved with the scheme for many years, we truly recognise the influence and positive environmental impact he had.

“His vision was simple, yet powerful, and will remain at the forefront of everything we do within our business, inspiring us to constantly think about our responsibilities to the environment.”

Shorefield Holidays is dedicated to ethical and sustainable business practices across all eight holiday parks, from reducing environmental impact to supporting local charitable causes, regularly introducing new initiatives to help minimise pollution and waste.

Shorefield's corporate social responsibilities are taken very seriously

Along with the local beach clean, an important regular community initiative in which Shorefield staff take part...Shorefield Holidays staff and locals join the beach clean at Milford on Sea

...some of the most recent additions to the company’s Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives include introducing zero emission company vehicles, stocking plastic-free crabbing lines in the on-site Country Store and joining the World Community Grid - a philanthropic venture which donates the company’s spare computing power to scientific research on projects such as more effective cancer cures and neglected tropical diseases.

The environmental influence touches every aspect of the business - even the Health & Fitness Club – as the indoor swimming pool uses a biomass boiler to heat the water.

Shorefield Holidays are committed to helping guests make unforgettable family memories, with eight holiday parks on the South Coast, each with their own unique charm and USP.

For more information please visit www.shorefield.co.uk/csr.

A note about David Bellamy OBE

Botanist and broadcaster David Bellamy died from dementia aged 86 on 11 December 2019.  London-born Bellamy, who became a household name as a TV personality, scientist and conservationist, died on Wednesday, according to the foundation. His colleague, David Shreeve, described him as a "larger-than-life character" who "inspired a whole generation". In later life Bellamy, who lived in County Durham, attracted criticism for dismissing global warming.  Hmmm.  More about his life here.

Featured

5 ways you can help the environment in the New Forest this weekend

5 ways you can help the environment in the New Forest this weekend

Start your resolution to live more sustainably in the Lymington and New Forest area this weekend

There is no denying that human activity is having a major effect on the environment. And regardless of your own political viewpoint, it is high time that we all start to live in a more sustainable way, preserving as much as we can for future generations. 

That may mean thinking twice about purchasing something new - can you repair, recycle or upcycle instead? 

Here are five ways to help the environment in the New Forest this coming weekend:

New Forest Meeting Climate1. Find out more about the Climate Emergency

This Friday 8 November there is a meeting at Brockenhurst Village Hall about the Climate Emergency, which aims to equip everyone with plans for action that will benefit them, society and the environment.

Climate change is the greatest challenge of our times. It is vital that action is taken to avoid dangerous climate breakdown and damage to the natural world. Yet action also brings opportunities for energy independence, unpolluted water and air, reversing wildlife decline, better health for humans, liveable towns and cities, and jobs created in sustainable technologies.

Join local Environmental Consultant, Kate Chapman, and Paul Allen from the Centre for Alternative Technology for an interesting evening.

The meeting is free, but to attend please click Register here. Doors open 18:30 and there will be refreshments available.

Repair Cafe Lymington2. Repair rather than buy new

On Saturday 9 November come along to the Lymington Repair Café at Lymington Community Centre from 9.30am. 

This is an excellent opportunity to dig out any portable broken items you have and bring them along for repair and/or advice. The Lymington Repair Café is run by volunteers from the Transition Lymington group, following an idea that originated in Amsterdam in 2009 and has been rolling out in many other towns and cities since.

Have a cuppa and cake while you watch the repairers at work, most portable items are tackled, including electrical goods, sewing jobs, computers, jewellery, bikes... etc. Repairs and advice are free, but donations are welcomed.

And if you have any particular skills and think you could be of assistance, get in touch with the Transition Lymington team!

Jeans Genie Lymington

3. Repurpose rather than buy new

Also on Saturday 9 November come along to Jean Genie at Lymington Community Centre.

Jean Genie is all about repurposing! Take an old pair of jeans and make it into something new and exciting - such as handmade cards, decorations, key rings, bookmarks, pencil cases, bags, gift bags and wraps. A genius way to make gifts for Christmas - and to learn new skills and ideas to take home. The morning starts at 9.30am and costs just £3 per person.

The Transition Lymington volunteers will be on hand with lots of ideas and help (and of course there'll be tea, coffee and cake available too!) Children are welcome, but need to be accompanied.

4. Recycle rather than buy new

Forca boutique squareOn Saturday 9 November from 1-4pm, come along to the Força Preloved Boutique at Lymington Catholic Church, 132 High Street.

Local charity, Força - Strength Against Cancer will be selling 'pre-loved' ladieswear and children's clothing to raise funds for their projects that help local people living with cancer in the local area. As well as providing support to individuals, the charity runs the Nourish...by força programme at Lymington New Forest Hospital, providing nourishing meals to all receiving chemotherapy treatment.

This is an excellent opportunity to pick up some nearly new clothes in great condition - many leading brand names (Boden, Ralph Lauren, Zara, Gap, John Lewis...) and to help a local charity supporting local people at the same time. Most items will be priced £3 or two items for £5! 

5. Plant a tree!

Also on Saturday 9 November, from 10am-1pm, families are invited to plant a family tree at Hoburne Bashley.

Celebrate a birth, marriage, civil partnership or life of a relative this year with the planting of native trees from seed. You'll get the chance to collect and plant tree seeds (oak, beech, sweet chestnut, field maple, birch etc) with the view of taking two home to look after and grow on to plant in a couple of years time.

Collection of local seed is more sustainable then sourcing trees from elsewhere, they will be of local prominence and some taken from the more significant mature trees from the New Forest. You'll be shown how to grow the seeds in temporary and biodegradable newspaper pots. 

The New Forest National Park Tree and Ranger team will also be running activities such as pencil making, mulch bombing and storytelling. 

The event is free, with the Hoburne café will be open for hot drinks and refreshments.


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Weekly What's On in the New Forest

Dry ingredients on sale at Roots and Fruits Lymington
Featured

Make a difference in the New Forest: resolutions for the New Decade

Make a difference in Lymington: resolutions for the New Decade

For a sustainable future we all need to make changes to the way we live our lives. 

2020 Vision - Lymington Transition challenge us to think about new years resolutionsLocal environmental and sustainability group, Transition Lymington, launched their '2020 Vision' in May 2018. The objective is to remind ourselves why we love Lymington and what we can do to help enjoy it and protect it, making a sustainable community for the future.

Every month they have proposed a list of achieveable suggestions - small things that could start making a really big difference. 

Plus also take a look at our article: Can we do more here in Lymington and the New Forest to save our precious planet? 

Month 20: New Year's Resolutions

We've reached month 20 of Transition Lymington's 2020 vision and with a new decade dawning it is the perfect opportunity to resolve to live more sustainably. Many of us are already striving to think more about the environment in our daily lives and below are some ideas that are based on the last 20 months' challenges. Have a go at growing your own food. Resolve to drive fewer miles. Reduce your meat consumption. Reduce, reuse and recycle. Reduce plastics and think of the many other ways in which you can live more sustainably. Let's resolve to make a difference in Lymington and the New Forest to ensure it remains a great place for many years to come.

2020 New Years Resolutions

 

See below the challenges relating to each month. Get inspired - let's see how many we can achieve!


Month 19: 

Make December different

Think more sustainably this Christmas - support local and avoid waste.

19 Make December Different


Month 18: Repair rather than replace

It is so easy these days to get caught up in our increasingly disposable society. Stop and think - can your repair rather than replace? Take a look at the checklist below for inspiration!

18 Repairable Lymington

 


Month 17: Think about clothes and fabric

Without a doubt, one of the world's biggest pollutants and unsustainable industry is clothing manufacturing. Most of us are guilty of having a wardrobe stuffed full of clothes, yet have 'nothing' to wear. Fast fashion has reached unacceptable levels - and in many countries the manufacture of fabric creates pollution, deforestation and unfair working conditions. What can you do this month to make a difference?

2020 Vision - Lymington Transition challenge us to think about Clothes and Fabric

 


In month 16, we were challenged to creatively use and respond to change:

Creatively use change


In month 15 we were challenged to seek out New Forest Food and Produce:

New Forest Food and Drink

 


In month 14 we were challenged to seek clean air...

14 Clean Air challenge Lymington Transition Hampshire

 


In month 13 we were challenged to refill...

Transition Lymington 2020 Vision - Refillable Lymington

 

In month 12 we were challenged to step out of our comfort zones and make a difference...

2020 vision month 12 Lymington Transition


In month 11 we were challenged to use local solutions that respect nature.

Lym Trans 2020 Vision month 11


 

In February we were challenged to integrate rather than segregate...

Month 10 2020 vision


In January we were challenged to look at patterns and details in nature.

Lymington Transition Month 9 2020 Vision Patterns and Details

 


In December, we were challenged to consider renewable resources...

Transition 2020 December Renewable Resources

 


In November, we were challenged to make plans for a very different December...

2020 Vision November Lymington Transition

 


In October, the challenge was to produce no waste:

Lymington Transition's 2020 Vision challenge October 2018

 


In September, the challenge was to share: when you have more than you need, build a longer table, not a higher fence.

2020 Vision Lymington Transition September 2018 Fair Shares

 


This August as a part of their 2020 Vision, Transition Lymington challenge us to reap the rewards - grow your own, make your own, pick your own... take a look at the inspiring ideas below.

August Reap the Rewards Transition Lymington

 


Lymington 2020 Vision - Month 3: Easy Plastic Swaps

This July as a part of their 2020 Vision, Transition Lymington challenge us to reduce our use of plastic. Here are some ideas of easy ways to avoid plastic - see how many you can achieve this month!

Let's see how many swaps we can make for plastic this month!

Easy ways to avoid plastic


Lymington 2020 Vision - Month 2: Save Energy!

This June, Transition Lymington challenge us to save energy. Take a look at the ideas below and see how many you can achieve this month. 

Save energy in Lymington

 


Transition Lymington launch their 2020 Vision 

What we can all do to help enjoy and protect Lymington.

Sunset at Hordle Cliff beach near LymingtonOn 1 May 2018, Transition Lymington launch their 2020 Vision. The objective is to remind ourselves why we love Lymington and what we can do to help enjoy it and protect it. The vision is for a sustainable and thriving community that we love.

Each month for the next 20 months, Transition Lymington will release a short list of 20 easy, 'do-able' challenges. These will be themed and its up to you how many you do. The list may give you other ideas too.

May 2018 is the first month and the theme is Observe and Interact. The challenges listed are to allow you become more connected with Lymington, the New Forest and our coastline and include ideas such as ‘listen to the sound of the waves,’ ‘look at the stars and the moon’ and ‘have a picnic in the New Forest.’

Every month the theme will change and you can expect a huge range of challenges and suggestions such as ‘easy plastic swaps’ ‘saving energy’ and ‘growing food at home.' 

Lymington 2020 Vision is using a Facebook page – Lymington 2020 Vision – as an interactive place where you can print off the lists and then post your ideas and upload photos of the challenges you have had fun completing. You can also view and download the lists here at Lymington.com.

If you plan to do a challenge, please make sure when you get there, it is safe to do so - you take part at your own risk.


Lymington 2020 Vision - Month 1: Observe and Interact

Take a moment to observe the world around you and consider how you interact within that world. Enjoy and appreciate your surroundings.

Observe and Interact in Lymington


Transition Lymington is a group of local people who meet up and work together on ideas about how to make SO41 more sustainable and pleasurable place to live.

Find out more about Transition Lymington here.

 

plastic free lymington to reduce plastic usage
Featured

Plastic Free Lymington continues to educate about single use plastic

Surfers against Sewage aka Plastic Free Lymington - local young people paving our way 

“Aloha Plastic Free” environmental event by SAS Plastic Free Lymington Juniors  

plastic free lymington young building awareness 600

By Christine Spreiter who announced that after 18 months of campaigning, SAS Plastic Free Lymington was nearly at the accreditation stage.

SAS Plastic Free Lymington Juniors hosted a party for the community at Coffee Mongers Roasting Company on Sunday evening. Inspired by recent Youth Climate Strikes in Southampton, Amy Cook, Molly Pates, Ted Ward and Maddy Curry – year 10 students at Priestlands and Holly Ward- six form college student – have been meeting for months to organise a mini festival for the environment, mentored by Bournemouth DJ, Garphie Smith. It was great to see so many young people volunteering on the night, as the group has grown over time.

Live music kicked off with Spanish singer, Raquel tur Lillo, accompanied by Jake Black on guitar. Her beautiful singing easily captured the attention of the crowd, filling the evening with its bluesy richness. They were followed by a brilliantly energetic set from Interview,  a band from Southampton University led by Will Burton. Interview was recruited from the Southampton youth climate strikes and, like Jake &Raquel, they donated their time and talent to help support the cause. Interview performed their own material and covers from the Vaccines, Peach Pit and Pink Floyd amongst others.

An open mic “Speaker’s Corner” was an opportunity for people to share an aspect of their personal journey towards sustainability, thoughts on our future or the things that inspire them. We heard from school students, a renewable energy engineer, a doctor, a brewer, uni students, a Transition Lymington member and Max, the drummer from the band, showcasing the growing variety and strength of voices present in the environmental movement today. Food for thought for everyone.

This was planned as a zero waste event- everyone was asked to bring their own plate and cup. Pizzas were served by The New Forest Pizza Company, cooked to order on their wood fired trailer. The bar was provided by Pig Beer, a New Forest Marque brewery in Setley, brewing refreshing beer from hops grown on site. The youngters ran a Mocktail Bar running alongside, serving drinks made with home made fruit cordials from locally sourced fruit donated by Naked Jam of Sway and Warborne Farm. They used a borrowed soda stream and homegrown mint, so no single use plastics were used to create a variety of delicious drinks. Zero waste is the way to go for events now- there was no garbage created, very little mess to clear up, no resources wasted, and no cost – there were glasses available for those who forgot to bring their own - but nothing disposable.

The Eco Raffle featured stunning prizes donated by local artists and makers- the grand prizes being a gorgeous original painting of The Needles by Sway artist Jane Corner and an invitation for 2 for a sail on ‘Amelie Rose’, a wooden pilot cutter run by Clean Seas Odyssey.

plastic free lymington plastic 600Attendees were also invited to pin a pledge on the noticeboard- one thing they were prepared to change in their lives to make a difference to the environment. One person pledged to tackle the issue at her workplace where fizzy drinks are provided in plastic bottles every day, another decided he had used his last plastic shopping bag, another promised to cycle whenever it was possible for transport, another to stop eating fish due to the vast pollution of the oceans by ghost fishing gear. All small individual steps, but all indicative of a changing mindset in society and the realisation that many small acts together have a large impact.

Grass roots community led initiative to reduce single use plastic consumption in Lymington and surrounding areas

Christine Spreiter announced that after 18 months of campaigning, SAS Plastic Free Lymington was nearly at the accreditation stage – with just one tick left to complete by Lymington and Pennington Town Council before the five objectives set by Surfers Against Sewage (who run the Plastic Free Communities campaign) are achieved- evidencing a grass roots community led initiative to reduce single use plastic consumption in Lymington and surrounding areas. Once accredited, SAS Plastic Free Lymington volunteers will continue to sign up more local businesses as Plastic Free Champions, work with schools and councils and to hold events. To get involved please look on Facebook and Instagram @SASPlasticFreeLymington or call into Coffee Mongers and leave a message.

Thanks are due to so many people who contributed to make this event such a success and a credit to the community, including Pallet’s Café  of Beaulieu for the sound system, Brooke and Tarek of Coffee Mongers for hosting the event, and to all the musicians and speakers who made the evening come alive. The small team of young environmentalists who put all this together deserve credit for their positivity and determination to be part of the change for good. Watch this space!

Receive our enviromentally friendly Weekly What's On!

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