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NEW FOREST: Wildlife protection scheme extended for a year

NEW FOREST: Wildlife protection scheme extended for a year

Published by Jack Deery at 5:35am 18th February 2020.

2 minute read

The Verderers of the New Forest Higher Level Stewardship (HLS) project was first launched in 2010.

It was signed as a 10-year agreement to help protect the New Forest National Park's wildlife and their habitats. 

It has now been extended for a further year, allowing conservation projects at the park to continue. 


The HLS scheme was set up to increase the New Forest's resilience to habitat loss and the impact of the climate crisis. 

New Forest Dog Watch
The New Forest is a hugely important wildlife habitat that's being better protected thanks to the 10 year initiative

It's England's largest agri-environment project and they say that it has proved successful in the last 10 years:

  • 20 miles of artificially-straightened drainage channels have been returned to their natural courses
  • Crucial funding and expert advice have been provided to hundreds of commoners to continue the traditional system of land management - turning ponies and cattle onto the New Forest
  • Following a laser scanning survey of the whole National Park, 3,000 archaeology sites have been identified, keeping them recorded and preserved forever
  • More than 14,000 children have been educated about the New Forest through school visits
  • 865 hectares of heath and grassland (the equivalent of 1,384 football pitches) have been restored
New Forest - Forestry Commission sign (Mike Draper) (4)
The scheme has helped in different areas of the New Forest over the last 10 years

Lord Manners, Official Verderer of the New Forest, said:

"The partner organisations will now carry on with their work of delivering vital environmental benefits to the New Forest. This includes supporting commoning through the Verderers' Grazing Scheme, thereby ensuring that the free-roaming stock continues to help maintain the New Forest's rare and internationally-important mosaic of habitats."

So far, it's led to £20 million being invested in the conservation area. 

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