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With spring in the air the New Forest is gradually waking from its winter slumber, boasting 145 square miles of stunning wildlife and habitats to enjoy. With so much to see and do in the forest, myself and the other rangers at the Forestry Commission have teamed up with local partners to launch the 2012 New Forest Events Calendar which is packed full of activities for all the family.
If you are keen to get out early in the season and make the most of all that the New Forest has to offer, we’ll be kick starting our activities with our ‘Jump into Spring’ events. Taking place over two weeks (Saturday 31 March to Sunday 15 April) they offer an opportunity to discover the range of birds that live locally. Starting at Bolderwood car park, these events will have fun and challenging activities for adults and children alike.
Keen ramblers will enjoy our brisk eight mile ‘Bluebell Walk’ on Sunday 15 April to admire nature’s blue carpets in peak season. For a shorter walk there’s our one mile circular ‘Wild Flower Discovery’ stroll on 13 May - join us to find out about our local plants and the customs that surround them. If it’s a pub lunch you look forward to at the end of a walk, then our six mile ‘Forest Explorer Pub Walk’ starting at Linford Bottom car park on 1 May could be the perfect choice. Or, if history is your interest, we’ll be taking a step back in time on our ‘Gliders and Typhoons’ walk in May, visiting the former RAF Homsley South airfield.
Children will have fun learning all about wildlife at the New Forest Reptile Centre on 25 and 26 May, where we’ll be joining the National Park Authority and partners to stage a 24 hour ‘National Park Bioblitz’! It’s a chance for us all to work together to record as much wildlife as we can in the New Forest.
Finally, visitors looking for a little adventure of their own can take advantage of the varied walking and cycling trails featured in ‘The New Forest – your essential guide 2012’ publication that will be out in April. We have included a favourite bike ride in the New Forest which is suitable for all abilities. You will also find information about our walking trails starting at Forestry Commission car parks. From deer watching to river strolls, visitors will be able to experience the fascinating sights and sounds of the New Forest along these circular waymarked walks.
There truly is something for everyone this year. To find out more about Forestry Commission events, please contact us on 02380 283141 or visit www.forestry.gov.uk/newforest. Alternatively, look out for ‘The New Forest – your essential guide 2012’ which will be available from Easter at all main Forestry Commission car parks in the New Forest, as well as campsites and visitor information centres, or, if you live locally, through your door!
Zoe Cox, Ranger